We have all heard this statement many times: “You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else”. In order to bring health into your life, and to experience true closeness and connections with others, you need to be taught to love aspects of yourself again and again. You need to see yourself as a worthwhile human being; you must give acceptance to yourself. The only way to learn self-love is by being loved precisely in the places where we feel most unsure and most tender. Unfortunately some people, because of unlucky factors in their lives, invariably stemming from childhood or adolescence, feel inferior, possess a weak concept of themselves, and face the world with dejected, or hostile attitudes.
“You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~Buddha
We have to strengthen the sense of our self-love so that we will be able to tackle life’s situations healthfully, without allowing prejudices against ourselves to eat their way into our minds. It is not an easy task to erase the deeply ingrained negative attitudes that permeate our cultures, and everyday people we know may try to submerge us in them. But we must not allow ourselves to be coerced into adopting stereotyped, humiliating attitudes toward ourselves. We have to learn to love ourselves, respect ourselves, and constantly seek ways to invite transformation for the sake of our self-growth. If we are dissatisfied with who we are, no amount of change could possibly persuade us that we are worthy and lovable. We must specifically examine ourselves as we are, realistically, without falling prey to negative ideas, which would short-change our estimate of ourselves. We must redouble our efforts to accept our shortcomings and to look humanely upon our blunders. But moreover, we must have hope that there are always products and ideas for us to work toward our own betterment.
Life is all about transformation, as each individual on Earth is discovering in a physical body new ways of experiencing life. And through this process of searching, each one of us is developing a deeper level of understanding of life and a greater ability to express our unique essence. It is important to realize that we are all beautiful in our own ways, complete in our authentic selves, and the more authentic we become, the more our beauty will shine.
“You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!” ~Eckhart Tolle
You are not your worst failure.
Everyone has a past. Some pasts are filled with darkness, some with light, and most are filled with a mixture of light and darkness. Of course, our pasts tend to leave a mark on us, and our opinions are typically formed on the basis of what we’ve experienced. But you must not allow yourself to look at yourself through lenses tinted by your past. Your past may shape you but it doesn’t define who you become.
To a great degree, you are what you think you are, and you can do what you think you can do. Your attitude toward yourself can give you a lift or push you to despair. It is your choice. Always resolve to be charitable in your self-appraisals, to see yourself in your best moments, to strengthen this pleasant vision of yourself, based on reality, not a myth, but on a positive picture of reality. I believe that anyone can build up this mental image of himself with compassion to the extent that life is tolerable, even rewarding.
“Mistakes don’t make you a failure but beating yourself up makes you feel like one.” ~ Frank Sonnenberg
You have nothing to prove.
Self-worth is about believing in yourself, and in your capabilities during triumphs and defeats. It’s about feeling good about who you are, regardless of what others might think. We don’t need to prove to the world that we are good, or we don’t have to hide the things we have done that might not look pleasant. We just have to accept and forgive ourselves and hope that others do the same. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore everyone and never listen to anything, but what it does suggest, is that your feelings, thoughts, and actions have validity and finally need to be directed by you. Authentic feedback is two-way whereas pursuing validation is one-way as you’ve already made up your mind but are just looking for confirmation.
“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” ~Maya Angelou
We have to learn to value and accept ourselves for who and what we are for all the good parts, as well as the parts that we think need improvement. Self-acceptance begins with recognizing judgments against ourselves and moving our focus from judgment and blame to tolerance and compassion. Acknowledging our self-judgment will help us to discover areas or attributes within ourselves that we have unproductive feelings about, which can destroy self-acceptance, such as shame, disappointment, or guilt. We must identify our strengths so that we can give balance to the work of accepting our shortcomings. When we recognize the areas of our life which need improvement, then we must try calming our “inner critic” which will reduce reinforcement of our negative thoughts about ourselves, and will help us in creating room for tolerance, forgiveness, and acceptance.
Always have compassion for your limitations and be prepared to reverse every negative thought about yourself with a positive thought. Self-compassion is the basis of self-acceptance, and it means validating our own self-worth, instead of letting our self-approval by the decision of others. Remembering that we often learn from our past mistakes, being thankful for the lessons, and accepting that making mistakes is a part of life, will help us to consider our past in a productive way.
“When people are not accepting toward themselves they are often obsessed with acceptance by others” ~Nathaniel Branden
Know that you matter.
Despite all the obstacles and problems that life throws at us, and regardless of all emotional pains or low points that we may experience sometimes in our lives, we have to realize that we completely matter. We matter, not because we think we are important, or others tell us that we are, or because of our financial situations, our looks, performances, or popularity. But because GOD put us here. The world would not be the same if we were not here or if we do not fulfill our purposes. We all have specific talents and experiences which can help and transform others, which can change and leave people differently from how we found them, and this metamorphosis lives forever. So it is important that we concentrate on our superpowers instead of our weaknesses, connect with others, build up our confidence one step at a time, and be empowered to fulfill our vocations.
“I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” ~Hafiz of Shiraz
“When we notice parts of ourselves that we consider weaknesses, I wonder if we can stop for a moment and look at them closely, to see if, somewhere, there are underlying strengths there as well”. When I look back on my life, I realize that I have always been feeling emotions intensely. And I have the tendency to give myself a hundred percent in any relationship, although I have hardly been receiving the same reception from others. I can always look at this characteristic I have of giving love and care totally as a weakness. But on the other hand, the fact that I have the capacity to give myself in this way, without any reservation, can be seen as a strength. Despite the fact that feelings and emotions can hurt, the ability to feel is a gift. And the ability to convey feelings to others is a gift to them. To hold back emotions is to keep back a special gift from the world.
“Our strength grows out of our weaknesses.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
We can choose to love, the same way we can choose to be angry, sad, hateful, or unforgiving. When we start loving ourselves. Amazing transformations begin to happen. We learn to let go of negative emotions and feelings; we look at our mistakes as experiences to strengthen our characters and improve ourselves; we stop longing to be someone else; we start looking at everything around us as an opportunity for growth; we experience love and magic in our hearts, in our lives; and miracles begin to happen.