OK, I’m not a big Valentine’s Day person, but no better day to talk about Love since today it’s on everyone’s mind anyway, right? With all the paper cards, expensive dinners and cute presents as well as the feelings of exclusion and disappointment felt today if you’re not in that perfect relationship it’s easy to forget that One True Love that we all have and often fail to celebrate: Ourselves. So I decided to gather my tips to Falling in Love with Yourself, and I hope you will all live happily ever after.
- Be Your Own Best Friend
Imagine that your best friend is trying to lose some weight. She puts on a jumper that is quite tight on her and asks you, full of frustration: “Don’t I still look like an elephant in this?” You would probably encourage her, pointing out how you already really notice the change in her and that by the summer that jumper will fit perfectly. Or would you tell her that she is right, she looks huge in that? And when she tells you how disappointed she is with herself as she was so good during the week, only eating healthy foods but yesterday at a birthday party she had two big slices of cake. Would tell her that she shouldn’t beat herself up, today is a new day and she is doing great progress overall? Maybe you would suggest that she would keep some healthy snacks handy, in case she gets into situations where unhealthy snacks are on offer? Or, would you say: “Oh I knew it, you’re such a piggy, I knew you couldn’t go one week without going back to old, bad habits!”
Now think about how you’re talking to yourself. Learn to accept yourself, embrace your imperfections and offer yourself forgiveness. When you’re having a bad day, show yourself kindness, not judgment.
- Realize that Your Thoughts Are Not Facts
“Again I had to open my mouth in that meeting, I feel so embarrassed, I’m so stupid”
“I will never succeed in finding a job in my field; there are so many more qualified candidates out there”
“I’m a loser”
“I should’ve known better”
“I will never find love”
While you are thinking your thoughts, you are not your thoughts. You can actually question them!
When these kind of self-critical thoughts arise, take a moment to ask what kind of evidence you have to support this? How do you know if this is actually true? Do you choose to believe this?
- Do What You Love to Do, More
Ask yourself: What am I passionate about? What gives me a sense of creativity, freedom and joy? How often do I actually do these things? Make a list of as many things as you can think of that you enjoy doing. Think of at least 25 things, then try 50, or even a hundred. And depending on your personal situation, see how you can include more of these things into each day and each week. For example if you remember how much you loved mountain biking or going to the cinema, then block a couple of hours each week for this and make sure you follow through. There will be smaller, every day things that are easier to bring into your daily life, and bigger, more time consuming activities that will require a bit of planning.
- Learn to Be Grateful
Writing a gratitude diary or simply taking a moment each day to say out loud 3 or 5 things that you’re grateful for will in the long-term train your mind to find more and more things to appreciate and feel joy and gratitude for. Make sure that your daily lists consist of heart-felt things you’re truly grateful for, instead of things you think you should appreciate. For example “I’m grateful for having drinking water on the tap while so many people in the world don’t have access to clean water” might be a heart-felt true appreciation for water that you feel each time you fill your glass or it might be something that you think you should appreciate, by logic. See the difference?
- Laugh at Yourself
When you can be the first one to laugh at yourself, you’ve probably realized that you don’t have to be perfect, attractive and on-top-of-things all the time. Admitting your weaknesses and that you don’t know everything (and you don’t have to either) can be very liberating. Have you noticed when people stumble on the street their first reaction is to look around in total embarrassment to check if anyone saw them?
- Surround Yourself with People Who Bring Your Energy Up – Not Down
Smile and laughter are contagious. Unfortunately so are negativity and complaining. But even more toxic is the company of people who undermine you to make themselves feel better. Your time is precious, so use it to engage in valuable and constructive conversations, fulfilling activities and in relationships that are based on mutual respect.
- Smile at Yourself
Literally. Stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eye and smile. The person looking back at you is actually pretty cool!
- Live in the Moment
Dwelling in the past or worrying about the future are two certain ways to miss your life which is happening Right Now. Use all your senses to draw the present moment into your experience. Remembering and planning are of course valuable tools that we need in our lives every day, as long as we use them consciously. If you need to plan an agenda for tomorrow’s meeting, decide to book 15 minutes of your time during which you give your full attention to planning it instead of letting the thoughts about the meeting replay in your mind when you’re cooking dinner, watching TV or playing with your children. Starting a regular meditation practice can help in developing a more mindful life.
- Serve Others
Be kind, considerate and compassionate towards others. Find ways to offer useful, good deeds to your family, friends, community or all living creatures. This might be anything from offering help to an old lady crossing the street, being a shoulder to cry on to a friend, taking part in a charity event, giving away things you no longer need, sending loving thoughts to family members, feeling happy for the success of others or finding ways to make a positive difference and contribute to the wellbeing and happiness of everyone involved in everything you do. Give generously and receive with gratitude.
- Dare to Dream
While your life is Here and Now, visualization can be a powerful tool – not only for shaping your future but also for feeling happy and fulfilled in this moment. Visualize yourself as happy, healthy and successful. Visualize yourself worthy and ready to welcome and receive all the abundance that life has to offer. Visualize yourself in that job you want or in that loving relationship you would like to manifest. The key here is to feel the positive emotions associated with the dream while you’re dreaming, not thinking that you will feel good once you achieve this vision or dream.
“You’re never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true” Richard Bach.