One of the greatest struggles in recovery and in life is the struggle to accept and love ourselves, with all our shortcomings and imperfections. This can be extremely tough, because more often than not we simply don’t believe that we are worthy and lovable. Instead, we believe the negative voice inside our head that whispers messages of self-doubt and focuses on our shortcomings, rather than on our strengths.
To love yourself means to respect and appreciate yourself as you are and to come to terms with those aspects of yourself that you can’t change – the aspects that make you unique. It means allowing yourself to drop the conditions that you have created to love yourself like, “I will love myself once I…”, and simply choose to embrace the good and the bad, the mistakes and the triumphs.
1. Focus on the things you like about yourself
We have a tendency to focus on the things we don’t like about ourselves: Our flaws, insecurities, mistakes, or fears. However, the more you focus on what you don’t like about yourself, the more those thoughts grow and turn into beliefs and start to shape your reality. When you choose to focus on yourself in a positive, compassionate way, you open yourself to seeing and realising how amazing you already are.
2. Make time to do the things you enjoy
We are all passionate about something. Maybe you like to be creative, write stories, or watch movies. Whatever it is that gets you really excited and makes you feel good, embrace it and carve out time for these things that set your soul on fire.
3. Let go of mistakes and embrace the past
Imagine walking through life with a heavy backpack full of rocks. Oftentimes, our past mistakes and struggles can weigh us down, thereby preventing us from living in the moment and making the changes necessary to create an authentic life. The truth is, we all have a past and we’ve all made mistakes – some big, some small. But by holding on to what happened yesterday, you miss out on the beauty of the present moment. Remember that everything that happened to you has shaped you into the unique person you are today, but doesn’t define your future.
4. Appreciate your life
We have a tendency to focus on the things we want to change about ourselves, our relationships, and our lives. But what if you stopped focusing on the things you want to change and, instead, focused on the things you are grateful for right now?
5. Get out of your comfort zone
Humans are creatures of comfort. Our comfort zone is our neutral state where anxiety, worry, and stress are minimal, and where we know what’s coming next. There’s nothing wrong with being in your comfort zone unless you get too comfortable and start holding yourself back instead of exploring new things and letting yourself learn and grow.
6. Take care of your body
When we don’t feel good about ourselves we usually neglect our bodies’ whispers for nutrition, rest, and love. But when you ignore your body’s needs you are giving yourself the message that you aren’t worth loving. On the flip side, when you take care of your body and its needs you will start to feel loved and lovable. Your body is extremely smart and knows what it needs. Your challenge is to begin to listen to what your body is telling you.
Self-love is something we can choose, the same way we choose sadness, hate, or anger. When you choose to embrace yourself, despite your flaws, quirks, and humanness, you also open the door to letting others love you too.
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