It doesn’t matter whether you are single, in a relationship or married, it’s important that you love yourself. You need to have a relationship with yourself, and like every relationship, it takes focus and effort. Here’s how to celebrate loving yourself:
1. Understand That Your Needs Are Important
This doesn’t give you permission to be selfish, but it’s one of the many ways to love yourself. It means you can’t deplete yourself so much that you can’t do anything for anyone at all after a while. Your emotional cup needs to be filled, or you can’t do anything to fill anyone else’s emotional cups. Think of it like the instructions you are given when you are about to take off on a flight - the flight attendants always tell you to put the mask on yourself, then help others. You need to be able to breathe in order to help others.
2. Do Something That Makes You Happy
Do you like to knit? Take photographs? Read? Schedule these fun activities into your life; your happiness depends on it. If you like watching movies, take yourself out, buy some popcorn and thoroughly enjoy yourself. The world can live without you for an hour or so. If you like reading, schedule a little time in each day to read a book you’ve always wanted to start. Find out something about the author to make it even more interesting. But do it for you!
3. Stop Beating Yourself up
It’s easy to be hard on yourself, but what you really need to be doing is giving yourself a little credit. Think of all the things you’ve overcome, think of the things you’ve accomplished – not the areas where you feel you failed. What are you proud of? Your education, your family, your career? Think of the times people have complimented you and what they said. Think of all the ways you rock, and think of those times when you haven’t done so well as learning experiences and move on.
4. Don’t Live in the “Should” World
You should be this, they should do that, relationships should be this way, and on and on ad nauseum. “Should” is a perfect ideal that no one can possibly meet. Perhaps you had an ideal in your head and perhaps you missed the mark a little, or even a lot, but lives are not cookie-cutter perfect and shit happens. Give yourself a break and start living up to realistic goals, even if they are small at first. The more goals you actually accomplish because your goals are realistic, the happier you will be.
5. Validate Your Feelings
Look at feelings as a part of you, but apart from you. Your mind and your heart just react to certain things in certain ways, even if it doesn’t make any sense. Rather than tell yourself you are wrong for feeling a certain way, acknowledge the feelings and try to think of reasons you might feel the way you do. If you are angry at someone, for example, ask yourself what your feelings are trying to tell you instead of telling yourself you shouldn’t feel angry.
6. Forgive Yourself and Repair What You Can
You are a splendid, functioning human being and have all the scars to prove it. If you’ve done something wrong against a person, do your best to repair the damage if you can. Sometimes a simple “I’m sorry” is all that’s needed. If the damage simply can’t be repaired or attempting to repair it will cause someone more pain, make a conscious choice to walk away, forgive yourself, learn what you needed to learn from the mistake - and more important, do better next time. You aren’t the first to have committed ANY sin, and you won’t be the last. The key to happiness, however, is taking the lesson with a humble heart and learning from your mistakes.
7. Live with Intention
Have several guiding principles and fundamental truths that allow you to prioritize your actions, and live with a purpose. One way to discover what your guiding principles are is to ask yourself, how do you want to be remembered after you die? Do you want to be remembered as kind? Then mold your actions so that kindness is at the core of those actions. And so on. Understand that your guiding principles may not be in line with the other’s ideals. The truer you are to your core beliefs, and the more you live your life with purpose and meaning, the happier you will be.
Loving yourself is a cornerstone of happiness. Love yourself and you’ll find it easier to love others and enjoy success in work, home and play. Do you love yourself enough?