You love yourself based on how much you perceived your parents loved you. If it wasn't enough, then it's up to you, now, to send love to those empty places within you. You can't heal by blaming them, repeating the story over and over, or expecting everyone else in your life to make up for your parents' mistakes. Only you can heal yourself from the emptiness, neediness and low-self esteem that an emotionally damaging childhood can create. Only YOU loving YOU works – not managing to get love from someone else, but only from YOU! We often look for love outside of ourselves, yearning for approvial, appreciation, hugs, positive support, attention, etc. but we find that not only can we not always depend on others to fulfill our emotional needs, but it is also exhausting trying to manipulate them to do it.
So, how do you do this…how do you love yourself? Here are ten ways I came up with that will help you on your path towards healing:
1) Appreciate yourself. Don't wait for someone else, pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Even if you think you've failed, give yourself kudos for trying. Give yourself compliments. Thank yourself when you are thoughtful, finishing a hard job, cooking that over-the-top dinner! Get the idea?
2) Be your own best coach. Support yourself with positive self-talk. Encourage yourself and point out your strengths, not your weaknesses. Give yourself the pep talk you need to achieve your goals.
3) Give yourself some downtime and playtime. We all need to relax, but often, especially if we're looking outside ourselves for approval, we put everyone else's needs ahead of our own. Take time to relax. Take time to play. Take time to laugh until your sides ache!
4) Keep promises to yourself. If you promised yourself to do something relaxing, rewarding or fun, then do it. Don't think you can stand yourself up without reinforcing those old hurt feelings. We want new feelings of caring for ourselves, so keep your promises.
5) Respect yourself. Treat yourself with the respect you deserve. Now, it's time to do it right. Don't get angry at yourself for making mistakes, everyone does, it's how we learn. Don't abuse yourself with food, drugs, smoking, alcohol, etc. Keep it in moderation. You wll find that as you love yourself more and more, you will need those 'false fillers' less and less. Don't call yourself bad names. Don't put yourself down, especially in front of others. Don't allow people to abuse you.
6) Receive graciously. When someone gives you a gift, recieve it with gratitude! Thank you! Don't say, "oh, you shouldn't have", or "oh, it's too much", or "I can't", or "II didn't get you something", "no, no, no, I'll pay!" The other person gets joy out of giving it to you because they want you to have it. It's OK. You deserve it and it feels good to allow that love into your life.
7) Take care of your body. Don't abuse your body. If you need a break, take it. Don't sacrifice your own health for everyone else's needs. Your body is not only your vehicle through life, it's a true honest friend. Your body never lies to you, If you are scared, it will let you know. If you are tired, it will tell you. If you are joyous it will send you soaring. Listen to what it's telling you and honor the messages it gives you. Follow the path with the heart.
8) Give yourself something to look forward to. It's amazing how much for fun life is and how much easier it is to cope when you have something fun to look forward to. It doesn't have to be big, just a treat, a new book, a little shopping trip, your favorite TV show, a good game of golf or some quiet fishing. Then remind yourself often of your treat.
9) Nourish your relationships. The world is our mirror. As you start loving yourself more, then, like magic, you start getting more love back from the world. Enjoy it. Spend quality time with your dog in the park, snuggly time with your loved ones, look deep in your kids' eyes and really listen when they talk. When you are doing this, you are caring for your own needs, the need to connect. It's the moments like that in life that give us deep satisfaction and keep us going. THey are also the moments that we remember.
10) Remind yourself. The first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. Thank yourself for being you. Think of five things you really like about yourself. The list will grow, and it will help to set your intent as you drift off to sleep or go about your day. I have made a guided meditation, Loving Yourself, that will also help and is a wonderful way to end or begin your day. It uses very powerful change techniques and allows your subconscious mind to make the changes it needs to support you. Repeating this meditation and the ten steps above will create a new you!
There, it wasn't that hard to think of ten things! If you can think of more, and I'm sure you can, please share them in the comment section!