Jesus Christ famously said to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” But what if you don’t love yourself? How can you learn to do so? Here are some tips and tricks for cultivating that self-love that will help you to love others better:
- Realize that the reality you experience, and the lens through which you see the world, depends on how well you take care of and love yourself.
- Stop criticizing yourself. Have you heard the phrase, “I’m my own worst critic?” When you find your thoughts turning to self-loathing, redirect them.
- Treat yourself at least as well as you treat others. Sometimes, it is easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves. When you find yourself being harsh with yourself, ask if you would be so hard on your friend, child, or spouse. Don’t ignore the pain you feel, but forgive yourself for your shortcomings.
- Supply your physical needs. Get a reasonable amount of sleep, eat well, practice gratitude, take time to play and pursue hobbies, avoid toxic people who bring you down, and spend some time praying, meditating, or in your own personal spiritual pursuit.
- Get to know yourself. Consider your own life story to better understand your negative feelings and emotions. Forgive your past indiscretions.
- Stop believing your own negative thoughts. Your thoughts are not necessarily a reflection of reality. You don’t have to believe the bad things you think about yourself.
- Share yourself with others. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
- Figure out what you want to do with your life and pursue it. If you don’t know what you want to do, consider what you dreamed of as a child, or what issues make you passionate, or what you spend the most time doing and talking about.
- Be grateful. Take some time to consider what you are thankful for, and to list those things in a journal. Concentrating on the positive things in your life helps you to love yourself better.
- Try doing something that makes you nervous. That’s right, take a step into the unknown, even if it’s just a small step. When you tackle such a task, and find you survive it just fine, you’ll feel better about yourself.
- Don’t let others pull you down. Take a look at the people you surround yourself with. Are they good for you? If your friends are bringing you down instead of lifting you up, it’s time to seek new friends.
- Allow yourself to feel your emotions without judgement. Find a balance – don’t struggle to control your emotions, but don’t wallow in them either. Simply accept them and move on.
- Stop assuming that the present defines your future. It doesn’t. Things can always get better.
- Know that it’s okay to be alone sometimes, and you don’t always have to “fit in.”
- Don’t take things so personally. Otherwise you might internalize personal slights when no one meant to slight you at all.
- Honor your word. If you strive to do what you say you will do, if you follow through, you’ll build self-respect. Achieving your goals one by one is one of the most powerful ways to boost your self-confidence.
It’s not always easy to love ourselves, but with the above tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way.