The concept of loving ourselves can be an uncomfortable one. Years of self-criticism can make it difficult for us to see past the pattern of negative self-talk that often becomes so familiar to us. What’s more, connotations such as arrogance, vanity or new-age spiritualism can tarnish the true meaning of self-love: that of having a genuine appreciation for who we are – even the parts we don’t necessarily like. Yet loving ourselves completely may just be the key to unlocking the joyous and inspiring life we yearn for.

Self-love is to care for our wellbeing and our happiness. By choosing to appreciate who we are we learn treat ourselves with the compassion and love that we deserve and, in doing so, we create a habit of positive self-talk. Now what’s not to love about that?!

If this sounds like a change you would like to make here are 3 ways to get you started:

Step 1: Become aware of what you are thinking.
Make it your mission to become conscious of your thoughts and notice the inner dialogue that you have with yourself as without conscious awareness of what’s going through your mind, you’ll struggle to deliberately fill it with thoughts of genuine love. Although this may take some practise, the more you try the easier it will become. Make it your mission in the morning to be more aware of what you are thinking whilst you are getting ready for work and then throughout the day. If you can, keep a journal handy to make some notes. You might be surprised at how many negative thoughts you have before you even leave the house.

Step 2: Change your inner dialogue.
If you discover that you have more negative thoughts than positive ones, make a conscious effort to change these. Being more aware of your thoughts will enable you to identify the reoccurring negative beliefs that you just can’t shake. As soon as you notice a negative thought, stop yourself and change it to something positive. Developing this as a habit will train your brain to focus on the positive thoughts over negative ones and, in time, you’ll notice a shift in your natural level of happiness.

Step 3: Praise yourself.
Many of us who take the time to become consciously aware of our thoughts discover many unpleasant ones creeping in more than we might realise. We become so use to thinking them that we are almost numb to their presence. One way to change this is by appreciating who you are and the things you do every day. Make it your habit to praise yourself for everything you do or say no matter how big or small. When you land a promotion, praise yourself. When you pay your bills on time, praise yourself (do this especially if you pay them late – it will help to break that habit). When you make the perfect cup of coffee, you got it – praise yourself!

Self-love can certainly be beneficial for all of us, after all, only good can happen if we change our inner dialogue to one of self-appreciation. But the impact goes wider than the individual. By loving ourselves we make it acceptable for other people to do the same. As Nelson Mandela once said, “be the change you wish to see” and adopting self-love as a way of life is certainly a worthwhile change to make. Change won’t happen overnight, but it will pay dividends the more you chip away at it. In the meantime, enjoy discovering all the wonderful things about yourself that have been hidden under criticism and insecurity for so many years.

photo credit: QuinnDombrowski <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/27670134@N05/5712669523″>Love yourself</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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