Love Yourself Woman!!

All throughout the years, I always heard the phrase “You need to love yourself first before you can love anyone else.”  I felt like this phrase was thrown around all the time, but I was always stumped and often frustrated with what that meant, “love yourself first”. I set out on a mission to understand this concept which may be simple for some women, but it was very hard for me to grasp initially. Below are some things that I learned in my search about loving yourself first.

Acknowledge your fabulousness!  Writing all your accomplishments reminds you that you have achieved a lot when you put your mind to it.  You can acknowledge all the marvelous things that are happening to you without the fear of being reprimanded for bragging.  Admire your accomplishments and your amazing fun personality.  Admire the triumph of paying down a credit card bill or a $50K school loan all on your own.   Write down how great you felt for volunteering or giving money to the poor.  If you like a particular part of your body, delight in this fact in a diary to yourself.  Writing down these amazing and positive thoughts about yourself will slowly engrave themselves into who you are which is one of the best ways to love yourself.

Be grateful for everything in your life. Writing down what you are grateful for helps you to find appreciation for what you have now in this world.  Someone recently asked me why a particular person in my life was so special I started off with one reason, and then another, and another.  It was via an internet message which is almost the same as writing.  Writing somehow always makes a person’s thoughts more logical and cohesive.  Just seeing the words and thoughts that came out of me was amazing because these thoughts were really overflowing.  It was an amazing experience and I was so grateful for all the positive effects this person had in my life.  However, I don’t think I would have recognized everything as much if I didn’t really sit to ponder how grateful I am for this person and acknowledge all the things that were done for me or on behalf of me because they loved me.  Being grateful really makes you love yourself, love those around you, and in turn love your life.

Give yourself affirmations of love - Affirmations of love are positive statements you make to yourself stating with conviction that you are great, wonderful, beautiful, smart, funny, succesful, patient, kind (etc).  Even if you don’t believe them at the current time, by repeating these affirmations to yourself you are imprinting on your subconscious a positive and empowering self portrait. Try to say these affirmations in front of a mirror and say them with conviction.  I know it may feel funny saying affirmations to yourself in front of a mirror.  You may get distracted and start making funny faces, but do say these affirmations every day or as often as you remember.  They really have a powerful effect on our mind and self esteem.  We may think it’s not sinking in, but before we know it these little affirmations will make a powerful difference in the way we see ourselves and love ourselves. Really, truly, believe them as you are saying them.  There are many positive affirmations that you can find online or create new ones yourself.

Forgive yourself. We all make mistakes. However some of the toughest ones to forgive are the ones we make which hurt ourselves. We ate a whole cake and a bag of potato chips. We yelled at our friend. We drank too much and had to suffer the consequences the next day.  We are human and sometimes we make bad decisions.  We need to acknowledge our mistakes, learn from them, and forgive ourselves. "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." - Louis B. Smedes.  Once we can forgive ourselves, we will be able to break down the barriers of our minds that are causing us to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.  When you forgive yourself, you release yourself from thinking you are unworthy of anything better in life.   

I know this is not always an easy thing to do.  "Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future," Louis B. Smedes.  Our mistakes/failures make us stronger and wiser.  We learn to take better care of our hearts.  We acknowledge that we may need to control our tempers more or watch what we say.  We learn that cheating on a diet one or two days does not mean we are failures and that our whole diet was a total loss.  Learning and forgiving our mistakes make us better people for the future. 

Treat yourself the way you would if you had a daughter.  If you had or have a daughter, you want to protect her from all the terrible things out there in this crazy world. You would want to keep her from getting too wild at a party, you would want to keep her from going out with the wrong guy, and you would want to make sure she is eating healthy, drinking enough milk/water, and taking vitamins. You would tell her she is beautiful, smart, and can achieve anything she sets her mind to with some hard work. This is what you would do for your daughter because she came from you and you love her. You need to acknowledge that you are just as special as this real or hypothetical daughter and you need to love yourself in the same way too.  

Revel in the fact that “We are All Created Uniquely.”  Love your own body. The media makes us so self-conscious and sometimes very insecure about our bodies. However, we need to realize that we are all unique and there is no “one body fits all” model out there. Some woman are very curvaceous, others busty, some apple bottom, tall, short, and some very thin.  We need to learn to love what we have today and instead of lusting for the body parts or skin color we don’t have, it would be best to learn how to accentuate the body that we were born with.  Love the you that you are and embrace the fact that you are unique.  

My dear friend Dolly said to me, recently when I was being too self conscious about the bags under my eyes, "embrace everything about yourself because it is your body. It belongs to you. Love it. Imagine that it is your child. Would you not love your child?"  I would love my child no matter how it looked. I would love my child unconditionally and without end.  This is how we need to love ourselves too!  I've since come to embrace my eyes more and have realized my eyes are not so bad and they are beautiful in their own way. 

Another food for thought, not every man looks like Brad Pitt.  You may not even like Brad Pitt.  Hollywood set that as a model that all men should look like him.  However, maybe you like someone more like Denzel or George Clooney.  Notice how they are all different and how there is not one mold for men either.  Beautiful really is in the eye of the beholder.  Therefore, instead of lusting to look like someone you are not, embrace your assets and love yourself the way you are. You are a beautiful woman!

Brighten up your interior by updating your exterior.  Looking nice for ourselves does improve our self esteem and gives us more confidence to face the world. Some people may think its vanity that makes us focus on our exterior, but we are not just our mind or our body.  We are composed of both and some would even say a third (ie our spirit).  The same way we need to take care of our minds and our spirits, we also need to take care of our bodies. This not only means getting good exercise, but dressing like you love yourself.  Do your hair. Do your makeup.  I know its hard work, but its a way of loving the whole you!     

Last but not least, find a good loving mantra for yourself.   It’s important to figure out what you value most in life.  Many people feel empowered by creating a paragraph or two which describes what they value, what they love in life, and how they positively perceive the world.  This is a really helpful tool and more power to those that can create their own.  This can be used in a time when you feel your weakest or just need an extra lift.  Say the mantra in your head or out loud.  For me, I tend to always remember Corinthians 13:4-8.  I know they use this at weddings often, but it really applies to love with all relationships, especially the one you have with yourself. 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.”

Be kind with yourself, be patient with yourself. Do not envy others or boast and act proud. This mantra always helps me to forgive myself or others and always remember that choosing love is the best option.  It gives me a better perspective on life and on how to treat the relationships I have with all those I care about.  Maybe it can help you out too! 

Good Luck to all and your endeavors for loving yourself!  Hope what I have learned has been of some help to you too!

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