How To Love Yourself in 5 Steps!
Firstly, I am very, very proud of you it takes a lot of courage to come looking for help.
This is proof that you are ready to ignite your self-love. Loving yourself may sound like a complicated task. It’s not!
Many people, probably you included, have spent days or even years searching for an answer.
If you’re like me, you’ve even lost hope in the past. I’ve been there more than once.
There is hope (even if you’ve heard that many times before).
Why do I feel this way?
We humans are very good at suffering. Some may say that we’re addicted to it.
I used to be this way. There was safety in my suffering. Thoughts and activities that lowered my confidence and self-worth were so frequent that they became the norm.
Many more people are just the same.
With any addiction, we have to build better habits. We must fill in old, harmful thought patterns with new ones.
There is a way to better yourself, but you have to be dedicated to make it work.
We are so used to feeling bad about ourselves that we don’t have endurance and we shy away from practices that take time.
Below (yes everything!) is important to creating self-love. If you want to love yourself, you need to suck it up and work!
You can’t skip steps!
Step #1: Self-Acceptance
“The more self-love we have, the less we will experience self-abuse. Self-abuse comes from self-rejection, and self-rejection comes from having an image of what it means to be perfect and never measuring up to that ideal.” –Don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements)
The first step on your journey to self-love is: Self-Acceptance – the removal of yourself from comparisons with others and accepting who you are unconditionally.
When my fight with low self-esteem and no self love was at its worst, I used to be so worried about being accepted by others: friends, family, social media followers, random people, and pretty much anyone.
I rejected myself.
We are conditioned from a young age to believe that there are people out there who are “perfect.” This could refer to looks, wealth, personality traits, or intelligence.
We view and judge ourselves so harshly. We will not be doing this anymore!
Answer this question on your own before continuing. Really take a minute and visualize your answer and give it great thought.
In what ways would my life change if nobody accepted me?
Did you imagine the world ending? Did you lose your job? Not much about our lives would actually be so dramatically affected.
I’m not saying that you should live like a hermit and hide from the world. It’s just a thought exercise.
When you remove “what everyone else thinks” from life you are able to view yourself as you are.
You can’t love yourself until you stop worrying what others are “thinking” about you.
Chances are they are doing the same as you and worry about everyone else’s perspective and don’t even judge you at all.
You judge yourself and it’s time to stop.
You don’t need acceptance for anyone: just yourself. Again, there is no “perfect” person.
We end up rejecting ourselves because of this illusion. Now’s the time to separate yourself from what others think.
What is truly in your control?
In life, the only thing you have full control over is yourself. No matter how hard you try, you cannot control or truly influence others.
Other people are set in their ways and there’s no way we can influence them, so you should not try.
It’s a relief to think this way because you can immediately stop judging yourself. With nobody else to compare yourself to, you can finally begin to care for you: the most important person in your life.
Unattached from the rest, we can now see what we really are and be completely aware of how amazing we truly are.
Step #2 Awareness and Allowance of Feelings
“You drop the resistance and embrace it. You allow it to be present.” – Barry McDonagh (Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks)
Often the greatest obstacle to self-love are our feelings/emotions/thoughts gone wild.
Most of us avoid these feelings or chase them away. We hide from them or do things do our body that momentarily occupy our minds.
This is not healthy as we spend our lives licking our wounds and putting ourselves in places that will “protect us” We live in fear and never really live.
From now on, we will not hide from our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. We will be aware of them and accept them.
What’s the biggest feeling/emotion that stops you from loving yourself?
Is it: sadness, depression, anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem, low confidence, confusion, anger, negativity, jealousy, boredom, indifference, panic, fear, frustration, grief, hate, tension, stress, worry, don’t, guilt, shame, help me sense, or rejection?
Be aware and name it out loud.
Don’t say it with anger; just say the its name. Anytime when you feel one of the above you must first be aware of it so that you can accept it.
Feeling this way is natural. We shouldn’t and can’t hide from them. This makes their effects stronger and harder to fight: quicksand.
Let’s say you find yourself feeling jealous. Instead of hiding, take a second to be aware of the feeling, accept it, and allow it.
In this situation you should say to yourself “Hey, Jealousy. I accept you.”
You may think this approach is childish and ridiculous, but it isn’t. Standing tall to a bully and acting bravely without violence usually takes away their primary weapon: fear.
Be there for your feeling and don’t be scared of it or pretend it’s not there. Accepted and allow it in as a part of you
“Howdy, Stress. I accept you.”
“Long time no see, Depression. I accept you.”
Be aware of it. Accept it. Allow it. Release it when you’re ready.
Being aware of how you feel and accepting it will weaken the obstacle preventing you from self-love.
Practice this whenever a negative sensation creeps up on you.
Be aware and accept it unconditionally.
Step #3 Mantras
“I love myself.” A thought I would repeat again and again. First, lying in bed for hours, repeating to myself, “I love myself, I love myself, I love myself, I love myself, I love myself….” Kamal Ravikant (Love yourself like your life depends on it)
A mantra is a short sentence or saying that you can easily remember and refer to it throughout the day.
These short memorable bits of wisdom will start filling in the grooves that used to contain negative thoughts, assumptions and self-assessments.
Mantras will support your journey to self-love. They will cool you down when the going gets rough and take the place of years of negativity.
For example: Recently, my mantra for the day was “”Every setback is an opportunity to practice another virtue.” This mantra prepared me for difficult situations before they arose. And when, not if, I experienced a problem, I could use it to better myself and calm down.
They can be as simple or complex as you like, but they must be easy to memorize.
These mantras, when practiced, prevent you from overreacting and make situations worse. Life is difficult and it makes loving yourself even more complicated.
Mantras can be a familiar quote, lines from religious scripture, or a word or two that carry significance to you. Search the internet for inspiration or make your own.
In Kamal Ravikant’s best seller Love yourself like your life depends on it, he suggests the simple mantra of “I love myself.” It is a short book on using one simple mantra to undo years of self-neglect. He suggests saying the mantra constantly until it becomes an irreplaceable part of you.
This form of self-talk seems too easy, and it is. Start clearing the fog around you now!
I’ve written my mantras on my hand, stuffed post-it note mantras in my pocket, and meditated to them. The point is to get a positive one and rehearse it endlessly until you accepted it as truth with all of your being.
My mantra last week: “There are good intentions in every action.”
Today’s mantra (about being greedy) “Generosity is king.”
“As you love yourself, life loves you back. ” -Kamal Ravikant (Love yourself like your life depends on it)
Find one or make one.
Write it everywhere and anywhere.
Say it a thousand times
See the changes that can happen with a simple phrase.
Step #4: Just Keep Breathing
“Give yourself a gift: the present moment.”Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
What we are doing is simply lighting up the lamp of awareness to illuminate our breathing. We generate the energy of mindfulness to illuminate everything that is happening in the present moment.” Thich Nhat Hanh (You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment)
Do you have one minute a day to sit and be with yourself? No? Then make one!
We all need time to ourselves, and mindful breathing is a place to start. Self-care is such an important part of self-love and must not be skipped.
Life is a rush and passes quicker than we could ever believe. Breathing is what we do every day and since it’s on autopilot we forget it’s there.
When you are aware of your breathing you are present and back to Earth. You are no longer in darkness and can continue your journey to self-love.
It’s time to reconnect with our breathing:
Sit up as straight as possible.
Keep your feet flat on the floor.
If you prefer to close your eyes, you may, but keeping them open is just fine, too.
Breathe for 60 seconds.
I want you to be conscious of your breathing while you do.
As you inhale, think the word “IN” and exhale with word “OUT.” It’s fine if your mind drifts to other things, but try and wrangle it back by inhaling IN and exhaling OUT.
Try it now!
This is called mindful breathing. Mindfulness is observing the present moment and our thoughts without judgment.
You simply a time set aside alone or with a companion to disconnect from all negativity and breathe.
- Find a comfortable place to sit stand or lie down. (No specific position required)
- Close Your Eyes.
- Breathe normally in and out.
Don’t let your mind just wander (because it will probably focus on something negative.) Rehearse a part of a mantra with your IN and the rest with your OUT breathe. Or repeat IN and OUT with your breathing.
- Do this for as long as you’re comfortable and finish when you are calm and back to the present moment. (You can also listen to music if it doesn’t distract you. I do my breathing for 1 minute in the morning and another before bed.)
How can you love yourself if you are scattered?
Mindful breathing is a bridge that connects the mind and body. Being aware of your breathing coupled with your mantras will slowly replace negativity with a profound, loving relationship with yourself.
Mindfulness is a practice that requires just that: practice. On your path to discovering yourself, notice that these small changes can have large, lasting impacts on our lives.
We will, however, still struggle and face trying times. There is very little we can do to prevent them. Mindfulness will not guard you from facing them when, not if, they arise.
Breathing and coming back to the present moment will better prepare you to face these challenges and support self-love.
Step #5: Action and Reflection
“Once we get those muddy, maddening, confusing thoughts [nebulous worries, jitters, and preoccupations] on the page, we face our day with clearer eyes.” Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way)
Wanting to love yourself isn’t enough. Actions, such as mindful breathing and mantras are the manifestation of your self-love.
Even if you don’t know or feel it yet. These actions, when practiced, are evidence of a relationship with yourself.
If you don’t own a notebook: get one. Get a cheap one or an expensive one. It does not matter. As long as there are pages, it will serve its purpose.
The most important thing is to spend time writing and document your progress of self-love. The words we write will reflect our deep beliefs.
So the more positive we think, say, and write the deeper the beauty will be cemented in our minds.
Write about yourself in a positive manner. Accept yourself and you will begin to mold your reality for the better.
You’re opening a dialogue with ourselves. As social animals we have a desire to communicate as it makes us feel more connected with society. When you ask yourself difficult questions and answer them, you are connecting with yourself.
This is all that matters.
If you find it difficult to come up with writing topics and spend more time thinking about the content of your journal, I suggest the below excellent journal to explore.
I have ready almost everything Ryan Holiday has written. His dedication to sharing timeless personal well-being techniques has turned him into a bestselling author and mentor. You can check out his works here.
But for our journalling needs, I suggest the Daily Stoic Journal: 366 Days of Writing and Reflection on the Art of Living. Each week starts with a single page of thought-provoking philosophy, followed by a week of journal questions.
This is my personal journal and it has been amazing, especially with the guided thoughts and pre-written questions. There is one question per day with a morning and evening journal section.
When I wake in the morning, the first thing I do is grab this journal from my bedside table and write my morning entry. It doesn’t take more than 5 minutes, but sets my day up for living well.
Before bed, I reflect on the same question for 5 minutes.
You should write at least every morning before looking at your phone, computer, or TV. Grammar and punctuation be damned! Write and don’t revised!!!
What you wrote is only for your eyes.
5 minutes every morning is all you need (more if you’d like).
Write about the challenges you will face that day and how will you approach them. Or write anything at all positive.
Try writing for an entire week coupled with mindful breathing, and mantras. I’ve even written my mantra over and over again as my journal entry to memorize it for the day. It’s super satisfying.
In this article of you learned about some of my favorite strategies for fostering self-love.
There are many approaches to feeling better about yourself, but some do not help or even scratch the surface. Some can even make it worse.
The steps I’ve provided are the tools necessary for a journey of self-love.
- Separate yourself from assumptions and perspectives.
- Accept yourself and the feelings you encounter.
- Be aware and love your feelings unconditionally.
- Focus on daily or weekly mantras
- Breathe mindfully.
- Write and reflect.
- Enjoy your journey to self-love.