12 Ways to Love Yourself

01/16/2013

 

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Stockbyte

The road to happiness is much easier once you can accept yourself.

It’s hard to have compassion for others when you don’t truly love yourself. That doesn’t mean that your ego is oversized, rather, it means that you’ve accepted yourself for who you are, not for who you want to be. In the end, we're often hardest on ourselves.

This year, vow to open your heart and accept yourself for who you are--not ten pounds lighter, not with that new job, and not once you have that new dress--accept yourself right here and right now. 

1. Surround Yourself with Positive Energy

Some people do nothing but criticize others and it comes from a place of self hate. Choose to surround yourself with people who are headed down the same road you want to be on, toward self love.

2. Meditate on Loving Kindness 

Meditate each morning on your expanding heart. Picture your heart expanding first to surround those that you love--most importantly, yourself--then those that you feel neutral about, and then those that cause you problems. It’s called a loving kindness meditation and if you’re not sure what you’re doing, Jack Kornfield leads an excellent meditation on opening your heart. 

3. Cut the Self Criticism

We love to second guess ourselvesDeepak Chopra says “[I]magine that your mind is a radio transmitter, bombarding the field with messages. If you sit quietly and observe your mind, you will see that it is full of mixed signals. The things we want to accomplish we also have doubts about; the person we want to turn into is also someone we aren’t quite sure about." 

Recognize these bad thinking habits as they happen and without judgement, try and see beyond your negative thoughts.

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Thinkstock

4. Acknowledge Your Effort

Even if you’re not where you want to be right now, remind yourself that you’ve come far and you’re headed in the right direction. 

5. Stop Worrying

Worrying is like a rocking chair, it takes energy, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. There is no worse penalty than being jailed by fear. Notice what causes outbreaks of fear and try to quell them. You can't control the future and the past has already happened, so focus your energies on the present moment. 

6. Trust Yourself

Trust yourself and have confidence in your abilities. A lack of confidence can spiral into all sorts of other problems including poor body image, disordered eating, fear, alcohol and drug abuse, procrastination, anxiety, and depression. It can also motivate us to take our hatred of ourselves out on others in the form of bullying or sheer isolation. Happiness and confidence are actually close friends. 

7. Do What You Love

This is your life, so live it. If you love yoga, treat yourself to a daily class. If running has your heart, wake up early enough for a morning jog. Live your life like you're on vacation, enjoying all that your neck of the woods has to offer, including new activities and time playing outside. 

 

Creatas Images
Creatas Images

 

8. Follow Your Dreams

Meeting your personal goals is another way to love yourselfZen Habits outlines something called MITs or 3 Most Important Tasks and the importance of doing them first thing in the morning. "I work on my personal goals first thing in the morning, before I do anything else. This way every day begins positively and in line with my future." 

9. Try to be Optimistic

You are the way you view the world and if you always look at a glass as half empty, then it will be. Even when it’s tempting to be a downer, try and look at the bright side. If you need help, put a reminder on your bulletin board or refrigerator to be more optimistic. Find the good in what you have, not what you want to have.

10. Take Time to Journal

Detoxify yourself of self hatred by getting it out on paper. Write it down daily. Don't worry about grammar and structure, just get it out. 

11. Be Patient with Yourself

In the same way that you should give yourself credit for what you've done, give yourself a break for what you haven't done. 

12. Honor Your Body 

Love this body you've been given. Avoid excessive alcohol as well as smoking, drugs, and junk food. Treat your body like the shrine it is by enjoying a plant-based diet and exercising daily. 

 

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Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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