Love yourself. You’ve heard that advice—maybe even thought of it as a platitude. The truth is that most people do not love themselves…or don’t love themselves enough.
The negative results of not loving yourself are too many to count. They include depression, ill health, excess weight, unhappiness, feeling disempowered, and self-criticism.
As you can imagine, spending too much of your life in these states is not recommended. And self-love, in most cases, is the remedy—and reaps numerous rewards.
You may not have seriously considered if you love yourself. I hadn’t either…until recently.
Not Loving Myself Enough
For the last seven months or so, I have heard mention of the importance of loving myself at least once per week. So I decided to take a closer look at whether I did, indeed, love myself.
Imagine my surprise when I realized I did not love myself…at least not entirely. Sure, I could look in the mirror and say, “I love myself.” I could tell myself, “You look good today! Or good job!”
A close examination of my behavior clearly demonstrated that I have not loved myself. Not really…not enough.
If I had really loved myself, I would have taken better care of my health. I also would have stood up for myself, lived by my values, asked for what I needed, and done my life’s work—no matter what. I would have said “no” more often—especially to men, and removed myself from toxic relationships. Additionally, I would have allowed myself downtime, pursued my interests, and done things that brought me joy.
Loving yourself is not just about buying yourself something nice to wear, allowing yourself to have ice cream when you’ve had a tough day, or soaking in a bubble bath once per week. It’s so much more.
If You Really Loved Yourself
During those same seven months, I heard one book mentioned repeatedly: Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant. So, I bought and read it.
I began to apply some of what the author recommended and noticed a difference in how I approached many situations and relationships. More than that, I began to see some of my behavior as unloving (toward myself).
Now I focus on behaving in a more self-loving manner.
One Powerful Question
Ravikant suggests asking yourself this question: If I loved myself truly and deeply, would I let myself experience this? This question has had the most significant impact on me and my ability to behavior lovingly toward myself.
Ravikant’s question is a powerful way to discern when you need to make a change—large or small. He follows it with a second: *If I loved myself, truly and deeply, what would I do?” This follow-up query allows you to tap into your greatest aspirations.
If you loved yourself—really loved yourself—what would you do?
Play big. Write that book. Lose 20 pounds. Become a vegetarian. Prep to run a marathon. Become a millionaire. Ask for a divorce.
I often use the question as a statement: If I really loved myself, would I…?
Eat the ice cream? Stay in my marriage? Continue running the program? Go for a walk? Become a vegetarian? Read the book? Take the course?
Your turn… If you really loved yourself, would you…?
Why You and I Stopped Loving Ourselves
I can think of many reasons why I stopped loving myself. For instance…
- My father punished me when I was about seven, so I believe I was a “bad girl.”
- In high school, I grew faster than the boys. I saw myself as ugly and too tall.
- I disliked who I became as a stepparent—controlling, angry, judgmental, and bitchy.
There are many more incidents…and many more interpretations that I made of them. Each one became a story I told myself, and those tall tales caused me to dislike myself more and more. In fact, I loved myself less with each incident.
What has happened in the course of your life to make you love yourself less?
Look in the Mirror
Look at your life—your relationships, job, attitudes and mindsets, and behaviors. If you genuinely loved yourself, would you remain in the relationship or career, maintain the same perspective or outlook, or continue behaving in the same manner?
If you truly and deeply loved yourself, you would do things differently, would you not? I did.
I decided to: Work out daily. Ask for what I want and need. Eat a healthier diet. Read nightly. Give myself time for a monring routine. Give myself permission to be me. Speak up honestly. Do my life’s work.
I challenge you to think seriously about what you are doing or thinking that is not an expression of self-love. Then decide what you can do that would be more loving—and take action on that.
How to Love Yourself More
There are other ways to begin loving yourself. I find the exercises that Ravikant provides in his book useful. For instance, he suggests meditating daily using the mantra, “I love myself.” Simply sit with some pleasant music playing and breath in, thinking, “I love myself.” Then breath out whatever comes up or what is unloving toward yourself. Do this until the music ends.
He also recommends spending five minutes daily in front of a mirror staring into your own eyes. As you do, repeatedly say, “I love myself.” (I also like saying, “I love you.”)
I have begun a practice of telling myself how I will love myself. I often do this in the shower or while walking, cycling, or doing the mirror exercise. I repeatedly say, “I love myself enough to…”
For example, I might say, “I love myself enough to speak honestly to my husband. I love myself enough to exercise today. I love myself enough to do my write today. I love myself enough to raise my prices.”
There are so many ways to love yourself. Don’t get caught in believing that the only way is to buy or eat something. Selfcare, like taking a bath or getting eight hours of sleep each night, counts, too.
In my experience, though, changing my unloving behaviors and mindsets into loving ones has been the most powerful exercise. These actions affirm that I love myself enough to do something differently. And one self-loving step leads to another naturally.
Do you love yourself enough…really? Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post with someone you feel needs to love themselves more.
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