When was the last time you learned to love yourself or whispered to your own heart, “I love myself”?
Learning to love yourself is an intriguing paradox. It can be a challenging and time-consuming journey, yet, when you experience it, it unfolds with surprising speed and remarkable ease. The key here is the word “consciously.” Consciously loving yourself means taking full responsibility for your actions, understanding what’s best for your greater self, and actively applying that wisdom, no matter the obstacles.
Too often, people mistake self-love for ego or narcissism, but in reality, it’s the complete opposite. In fact, not loving yourself is one of the most significant disservices you can do to yourself and to everything around you. Your energy ripples outward, influencing everything in your sphere, from your well-being to your relationships.
You see, you can’t fully love another until you’ve discovered how to love yourself. You are your own closest companion, and your world is viewed through the lens of your self-relationship. To view the world with love, your internal lens must first be filled with self-love.
Let’s embark on a journey of self-discovery and explore seven transformative steps to consciously love ourselves:
1. Embrace Your Imperfections
Begin by accepting the parts of yourself that you might label as “ugly” or imperfect. Recognize that we all possess dualities – good and evil, dark and light, beauty and imperfection. It’s natural. Mistakes, actions, thoughts, or emotions don’t define us. What matters is our ability to observe those imperfections and consciously decide how to react. Forgive yourself, learn from your past, and let it stay there. Every moment brings an opportunity to make a different choice.
2. Make Time for Self-Discovery
Acknowledge that you may have been avoiding self-discovery because of past hurts or fears. As adults, we carry patterns from our childhood, patterns that once kept us safe but now hold us back. The truth is, you do have the power to protect yourself and the knowledge to thrive in life. Dedicate some time to gain clarity about who you are, why you behave as you do, and where you can improve. Reflect on what serves you and what doesn’t. Make room for self-exploration in your life.
3. Speak to Yourself Kindly
Imagine the compassion and tenderness you’d extend to a child, a pet, or someone you deeply care about. Now, apply that same gentleness when addressing yourself. The inner child within us deserves the same love and care as any other being. Harsh self-criticism serves no purpose. Whenever you catch yourself being unkind, soften your tone, offer an embrace, and start over with patience and understanding.
4. Nurture Your Pain
In times of distress, give yourself the love and care you seek from others. Often, our unhealed wounds surface in our interactions with others who carry their pain too. When you ask for love, attention, or affection from another, remember that you need to hear it from yourself first. Your pain requires your embrace, your kind words, your attention, and your love. In any conflict, the other person is merely a mirror, reflecting your inner needs. No one holds power over you unless you relinquish your power. In challenging moments, look inward, identify what you need, and start by providing that for yourself.
5. Acknowledge Your Strengths
We all have insecurities and aspects of ourselves we don’t embrace. We’re excellent at reminding ourselves of our flaws. Challenge yourself to identify one thing you genuinely appreciate about yourself, no matter how small or unusual it may seem. Say it out loud, and savor it. Admire it as though it were the most precious thing in the world. By focusing on your strengths, you allow them to flourish.
6. Ask Yourself the Love Question
In times of doubt, when you’re uncertain about a decision or action, ask yourself, “If I love myself, what would I do or say?” I began this practice after reading “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It” by Kamal Ravikant, and it’s a simple yet powerful guide. This question consistently leads me to the right answers. You may not always choose the loving path, but this question empowers you to consciously make decisions.
7. Embrace Meditation
Meditation isn’t just sitting in a lotus position and chanting. It’s the act of deep concentration on something profound that brings mental clarity and emotional calm. Think of it as focusing on something that elevates your spirit rather than throwing you to the ground. Your choice of focus matters, and the object of your concentration can either uplift or drag you down. Discover the moments when you lose yourself in a meditative state – perhaps while gardening, painting, or cooking – and cultivate that mindfulness.
Most of these steps demand a shift in your mental perspective. It begins with your willingness to change, to accept, and to embrace a new way of loving yourself consciously. Once you initiate this process, you’ll discover a transformation within. Step by step, self-love will become a habit, and your life will take on new meaning.
Remember, where you place your attention is where your life flourishes. Now, it’s your turn. Share your experience with these steps in the comments below. Encourage others to embark on this journey to love themselves consciously, too. Together, we can change our lives, one loving step at a time.
Remember to love yourself,