“Whatever you are doing, love yourself for doing it. Whatever you are
feeling, love yourself for feeling it.” –Thaddeus Golas
I think loving ourselves is one of our greatest challenges. We are our own biggest critics, we have lists of reasons why we aren’t what we want to be, and we “should” ourselves into guilt. “I should do this, I should do that, I should lose weight, I should work harder, etc”.
Many times when a loved one or I have been going through a difficult time, I tell them (or myself), “You just need to love yourself through it”. Now that I’ve sat down and mediated more on what self-love really means, I find myself eating my own words. What the heck did I mean? What does it mean to truly love ourselves?
Here are a few things I’ve discovered on my own journey, as well as observed or shared from other’s:
Love yourself better by….
1. Forgiving yourself
Whatever is haunting you, whatever you are still holding against yourself, past or present, let it go and forgive yourself. You are the only one keeping you from moving on and loving yourself.
2. Accepting yourself right here, right now
Not in two months after you’ve been going to the gym. Not at the end of the week after you cross off your to-do list. Meet yourself as you are, where you are. You are your most perfect you, right now.
3. Not comparing yourself to others (!)
This is not a competition! You are good enough. Beautiful enough. Talented enough. Strong enough. It’s all there, hidden in your heart. Comparing what other people look like, what they wear, what they’re doing, etc. can completely distract us from our own incredible journey of self-love and discovery.
4. Keeping a healthy triangle
Try examining yourself in these 3 ways: spiritually, mentally, and physically. If each of these were a side of a triangle, how balanced would it be? Maybe one side is longer, or two are equal and one is short.
Spiritually- What speaks to you? Whether it is a religion, a school of thought, yoga classes, practicing tai chi, spending time outside- do it! Our energy eventually leaves the form we have now to become something else, so it’s important for us to understand our spiritual self and nourish it.
Mentally- Where are your thoughts at these days? Are you feeding it something wonderful? A good book, something inspiring?
Physically- Push aside any guilt or harsh criticisms you have here- turn it into something joyful. A walk. Bike ride. Hike. Swim. Move your body, release endorphins. It is, after all, your temple for this present life.
If we love ourselves on each of these levels, our happiness becomes our greatest strength.
I am by no means a perfect person who has it figured out, and am continuing my journey of self-love just the same as anyone else. But here’s what I think: your heart is beating for a reason. Cherish it. Love yourself. Be your best “you”, and we can make the world a more loving place. As cheesy as it sounds.
Jeanne Clark is a guest writer for The Authenticity Project. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.