The Best New Year Resolution You Must Make—to Love Yourself!
It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary. — Mandy Hale
It’s Okay to Love Yourself
In our culture, we are sent mixed messages about how we should feel about ourselves. On one hand, we are taught to be modest and self-effacing in our self-assessments in social settings. On the other hand, we’re taught to suddenly switch gears and promote ourselves like crazy on our résumé.
Unlike table manners or the alphabet, we are not taught self-love. In fact, we tend to think of such a notion as selfish. However, loving oneself is a natural state in which to live. Self-love is not about ego, pride, or narcissism. It’s about letting go of self-comparisons to others. We are unique and need only be ourselves. It’s about acknowledging what we like about ourselves, accepting our strengths and weaknesses, and realizing we are always a work in progress.
Moreover, we can’t really love others until we love ourselves. That may sound like a Hallmark card moment, but it’s true. If we treat ourselves with respect, nurture ourselves, and love ourselves just the way we are at any given moment, then we have developed the habit of acceptance over criticism and can look at others without setting preconditions for how they must be in order to share our world. We can love them just as they are, not how we would reinvent them. And, because we know how to take care of ourselves and treat ourselves properly, we can take care of others and treat others properly as well.
Learning to Love Yourself is a Process
In her article for psiloveyou.xyz, How to Love Yourself, Taryn DeVere writes:
Good self esteem is like a superpower. It’s amazing when you have it — you can sail through life, enjoying the good bits and using your Self Love Shield to protect you from haters and negaters. But when you don’t have it it can seem impossible, frightening and unattainable… Loving yourself is a radical act, but life is sooo much easier if you do. The thing to remember here is that it is a process, and often a slow one so don’t expect to go to maximum self love in a week. Incremental changes are usually the most sustainable and make a great bedrock foundation so taking it bit by bit is the approach I recommend.
In her article, Ms. DeVere offers “21 Things You Can Do To Increase Your Self Love.” Here are a few of Ms. DeVere’s suggestions:
- Make a list of everything you like about yourself and read it as often as you can. It has to be things about YOU, as in don’t write ‘I have really nice friends’ maybe write ‘I am the kind of person who attracts really good people into my life instead.’ The point of the list is to remind yourself of all the good things about you. It’s simple but effective.
- Learn to accept compliments. This is often the hardest step for people. Accepting that others like you when you don’t like yourself is hard. You can start with a very quiet thank you, or a smile of acknowledgment if you really have trouble saying thank you. Try and find nice, genuine kind things to say about other people too and watch how they respond. This one needs to be worked on a lot, some folks have so much trouble accepting anything from anyone else, even a kind word. Practice! ...
- Look for good quality in the people you see or meet. It doesn’t have to be a physical attribute, maybe someone is a bit of a bastard at work but you saw them out one day being really loving with their dog, so they are kind to animals… it is just a tool for seeing the humanity in others which hopefully helps you to see the same in yourself... you are training yourself to see people in their full spectrum and thus hopefully see yourself in this way too.
- Try and (where possible) wear only clothes that make you feel good. Consider giving away any clothes that don’t make you feel great when you’re wearing them. When I began to wear only clothes that made me feel good wearing them it made a HUGE difference in my life. The other upside of this is when you meet that person you fancy/your arch-nemesis you will be feeling great. Get your game outfit on every day.
- Forgive yourself. All of us have behaved badly at some point and done things we regret. If you can make amends or apologize then do so… If it is impossible to make any amends then start the work of self — forgiveness. Get a good therapist or counselor to help you if you need to. Make sure it’s someone you trust. Self-forgiveness is really important to being able to love yourself. If you believe that you have done bad things or are a bad person — it will be very hard to love yourself…
- Know that we are not the things that have happened to us. I can’t think of one person I know who had a ‘perfect childhood.’ I can’t think of one person I know who hasn’t had some kind of trauma in their lives… But we are not the sum of all the bad things that have happened to us. The best we can do is where possible take what learning we can from the bad stuff and use it to build ourselves that bit stronger for the next hit life will invariably send us.
- Realize that you cannot please everyone. No matter how much of a nice or good person you are someone out there will not like you. The goal here is to like yourself not be liked by everyone else… People will not like you for the craziest of reasons — some people don’t like me simply because I love myself. The quantity of people in your life may decrease as you begin your self-love work. Many people are uncomfortable with change, and they might not like the new self-loving you that is emerging. Let them go, they may be resentful towards you because you are changing and they are not. They might be mean about it and that is not what you need when you are on your self-love journey. New more aligned friends will arrive, friends who like the self-loving you and do not feel threatened by it.
- Let go of caring what other people think of you. This will come with the growing self-love but the sooner you let go of it the better. The most important thing is how YOU feel about you. If you like yourself (or better still, love yourself) then that is literally all that matters. Our society doesn’t much like self-loving people and so as long as you know that it’s not necessarily personal, it’s cultural — you can let go of people stuck in that mindset and move towards the people who are open to your level of awesome instead…
- Accept yourself as enough. Say “I am enough” to yourself often. You are enough in all that you bring to this world. You bring your unique talents, gifts, insights, skills, and experiences to this world — thank you! There’s no one on this earth just like you and we are so lucky to have you here! My kids watch this show Lego Ninjago and it’s all about how the most important thing in life is reaching your full potential. I think we reach our full potential when we realize and embrace the idea that we are enough. Figuring out who we are and what we’re about and what gifts we can bring is a lifelong journey, the process of it all is reaching our full potential…
The Benefits of Self Love
In her article for lonerwolf.com, How to Love Yourself (Ultimate Beginners Guide), Aletheia Luna offers 18 benefits of self-love, here are just some of them:
- More self-confidence
- Healthier mindset (and less self-sabotaging thoughts)
- Improved ability to discover and fulfill your personal destiny
- More authentic connections with people
- Enhanced joy and gratitude for life
- Increased playfulness, creativity, and spontaneity
- Healthier and wiser choices
- Increased access to new opportunities
- Improved mental health (and less anxiety + depression)
- Deeper access to one’s soul and spiritual path
So this New Year, make your #1 New Year resolution a determination to love yourself unconditionally, be good to yourself, and explore your full potential. One thing’s for sure, life will be more interesting in the process.
Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. — Lucille Ball
What do you think?
- Do you believe it’s important that we love ourselves?
- Do you know people who are unhappy because they don’t love themselves?
- Why do you love yourself — what qualities do you appreciate in yourself?