American Psychologist and Educator Virginia Satir could not have expounded on self love and appreciation better than this line she made famous — “I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes.”
Perhaps it is the way we look and express ourselves – soft, loving, nurturing – that makes us, women, the go-to soundingboard of our broken-hearted friends, troubled sisters or kids, and even our stressed-out and embattled boyfriends or husbands. Being a woman is almost synonymous to giving – until it hurts, sometimes. And because we are so focused on making the significant people in our lives happy and cared for, we tend to overlook our own happiness. As a result, we become obsessed with our search for the perfect boyfriend or husband – our bandaid solution to our inner emptiness. And often, this relationship we end up building with the ‘perfect’ boyfriend or husband fail because we have insufficient self love and have not exactly addressed the root cause of our internal conflict.
Learning to love yourself starts with a conscious decision which you yourself have to make. You have to decide to become happy and lead a fulfilled life. By not loving yourself enough and appreciating your own talents, skills, and physical attributes, you are selling yourself short and thereby making it impossible for you to grow into your full potential.
So if you have already made that decision, here are some steps that you can take in order to reach that level of self-appreciation before you can finally move on to building and developing meaningful relationships with others:
- Be Less Critical of Yourself. Sometimes, especially when we compare ourselves with our people, we tend to be too harsh in self-judgment. Committing mistakes and making bad calls or judgments are but natural and we need not berate ourselves every single time.
- Trust Yourself and Acknowldge the Efforts You Put Into Any Project or Undertaking. Life is not all about winning all the time. Sometimes, you should learb to appreciate the effort and time you gave to a project even when it did not exactly produce the great results to had in mind. You have the ability to improve and do better – think of that when you set out to re-do the project or embark on a new one.
- Cultivate Your Creative Side. When things get a little bit too much for you to handle, take a step back, breathe, and find time to explore things that feed your creativity. Check out art, dance, writing or photography classes. Sometimes the limitations we face are the ones we created ourselves. Break out of the mould and do something creative with your time. You’ll be surprised by the results you will get when you try.
- Cultivate A Grateful Spirit. Learn how to say ‘thank you’ sincerely. Sometimes in our haste and preoccupation, we just let well-meaning compliments sail on by. In other cases, we try to sidestep compliments or downplay it because we don’t want to call too much attention to ourselves and what we believe to be just menial accomplishments. Be grateful and say thank you.
- Look After Your Body. And believe in your heart that today is the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll be ever again. Stop harming your body by smoking, drinking, and emotional eating. Treat your body with respect, love, and care – that’s the only way you can get others to treat you the same.