Do you love yourself? I don’t just mean do you think you’re really cool. I mean do you show yourself some love occasionally? Or do you just give and give to others? How long do you think you can keep up the one-way flow?
How can you love others if you don’t love yourself first? You can’t give what you don’t have. I know so many beautiful, loving people who give so much to others but suffer silently because they are not receiving love back. If you can learn to love yourself, and proactively show yourself some love, you will have a rich and renewable resource with which to love others.
Here then are 10 ways you can show yourself some love.
Just Say No
Learn how to say no to people, even people you love. It’s not loving if you agree to do something you don’t want to do just to make someone else happy. Instead find something you can do with or for someone that makes you both happy.
I’ll share a recent example of this in my own life. I bought a ticket to a toastmaster contest and event and encouraged a toastmaster friend of mine to go to the event as well. He initially said he would go, but I sensed a hesitancy in him. As the event approached I found out he hadn’t bought his ticket yet and was going to pay at the door, which would cost him $50 more than if he’d bought the ticket in advance. He said, “I’m only going to this thing for you.” So I told him in no uncertain terms to please not do that. It seems loving on the surface, but knowing he only went to make me happy would not have made me happy at all. I told him not to come and that I’d be fine with all my other toastmaster friends who wanted to attend. Instead I suggested we do lunch or go hiking, two things that we both enjoy.
Go through your friendships and relationships and get clear on how you like to show love to those people. Don’t agree to do something you don’t want to do. It’s no fun for either of you. Find the areas you both enjoy and engage in those activities together.
Guard Your Energy
Every day that you wake up in your bed you have a chance to make it a good day or a bad day by your decisions and actions. As you go through your day, sometimes events will happen outside your control. Only you can decide how you will let the events affect you. You can choose your emotions, you can choose the meanings you assign to events, and you can choose your reactions. Guard your energy, because as soon as you start feeling down or low vibrational it will affect not just you but everyone around you. To show love to yourself, choose positive emotions and reactions to everything life throws at you. If you are completely knocked off your feet, lean on your friends for support. Then get back in the game with a reframe and move forward. Sometimes we do need friends to lift us back up, but you can work on learning to reframe experiences as they happen so that you are not knocked down so often.
Carve Out Me-Time
I know you’re busy, there’s lots to do every day. And I know a lot of people who spend most of their day assisting others, whether personally or professionally. It’s vital to restore, recharge, and repair yourself each day, and sometimes the only way to get some me-time is to carve it out in stone! Even 15 minutes a day completely to yourself, with no other obligations, can be enough to recharge. Sit and read a magazine and have a cup of tea. Take a bath, or a long hot shower. Take a walk or sit in nature. Turn off your cell phone and leave the laptop behind. Don’t answer the phone, and don’t respond to requests for help. Be vigilant about your me-time. Let nothing and no one disturb you. If you’ve never carved out time for yourself, you’ll be amazed at what happens when you start doing it. It’s like putting fresh batteries in your body. You come back restored and replenished and ready to give some more.
When my kids were young I spent a lot of time attending to their needs, and I felt myself becoming energetically depleted and sometimes frustrated and angry. My fuse became very short. So I started taking every Saturday morning to go have lunch with a friend. I noticed that when I got home, I was ready and raring to see my kids again, totally restored and recharged and ready to be a great mom. Sometimes to love others more, you have to step back and love yourself first.
Use Your Love Strategy On Yourself
What makes you feel loved? Gary Chapman wrote a fantastic series of books related to the five love languages that I … well, love! What is your love strategy?
Words of praise: You like it when someone pays you a compliment or tells you how great you’re doing.
Physical affection: You like it when someone gives you a hug when you feel down, and you like physical affection from a partner or spouse to show you that you are lovable.
Gifts: When someone gives you a gift you feel loved, like when you get flowers or a token of affection.
Acts of service: When someone does something for you, you feel loved, like when your spouse takes out the garbage or picks up the kids even when it’s your job to do so.
Quality time: You like it when someone spends a lot of time with you, like taking a long walk or listening to you talk for hours, or going on a long vacation with you.
Now, determine your love strategy and give it to yourself! In the same order as above, try these ideas:
Words of praise: Pay yourself a compliment. Write yourself a love letter telling yourself what you love about you. Write “You are lovable” on your mirror and read it every morning, out loud, five times.
Physical affection: Get a massage, hug yourself, or make your bed the most luxuriously snuggly place you can imagine. Get slippers. Go plush.
Gifts: Give yourself a gift. A small trinket, a piece of jewelry, a foot massager for under your desk. Send yourself flowers every week. Be your own gift-giver. After all, you know what you like, so no guess work or returns involved.
Acts of service: Go to a restaurant and let someone else cook for you. Hire a cleaning service to clean your house so you don’t have to. Pay someone to run errands for you. You can actually give yourself acts of service as odd as that sounds.
Quality time: Spend quality time with yourself. Mark off an entire afternoon to engage in an activity you love. Go to lunch and a movie. Take a long walk on the beach. Sit in the park and read a book.
Actively love yourself using the same strategy you have with others.
Do What You Love
One of the greatest ways to love yourself is to make sure that you are spending your days doing what you love, whether that’s professionally or personally. When you go to a job you hate, your negative energy exudes out into your office environment and affects others. When you go to a job you love, your positive energy washes over others and they end up having a better day. I’m sure you’ve seen this in action yourself. You owe it to yourself and to others to do what you love, and to do what makes you happy.
The same is true for your evenings and weekends. If you’re at a job you hate all day and you come home grumpy and depressed, that’s no fun for your family. Likewise if you’re a stay-at-home parent and you’d rather be working, you’re injecting a lot of negative energy into the home. One of the greatest gifts you can give your family, friends, and co-workers is to love yourself enough to insist that your day is spent doing something you love and that makes you happy.
Holding a grudge or carrying anger and resentment towards others only burdens you. Every morning you have to pick up that grudge again and carry it around with you all day. You have to send hateful thoughts to other people. It’s like putting poison in a cup and sending it to your enemy hoping they will receive and drink it. Why not just decide to forgive? Tomorrow morning, instead of picking up that grudge, pick up a cup of forgiveness and drink it. Let it go. Give it up. Let them be. Move on. Concentrate on your own life and your own future, and leave the past in the past. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Whatever was done to you, decide you learned a valuable lesson, and move forward. If you need to extract some meaning from the experience, help other people who may have been hurt in a similar way.
This is one of my favorite ways to show myself some love. Indulge in a reward. Do you reward yourself for a job well done? How about a life well lived? Go on, reward yourself. Sometimes after I finish a huge project, release a product, or complete a training, I take a day off and go to the spa. I get a massage and soak in the Jacuzzi for hours. Other times I reward myself with a new book, or a night out, or a nice meal at a fancy restaurant.
Keep a list of rewards, and as you tackle new challenges in your life, attach a reward to completing one. It’s guilt-free and you’re worth it! Indulge.
Plant a Tree in Your Soul
Sometimes loving yourself means taking the time to plant a seed that won’t bear fruit for years. Love yourself enough to make a long term plan that will ensure your happiness. I know people who worked intensely for 10 years to make enough money to be financially independent by age 35 and never have to work again in their lives. Those 10 years were brutal, by their own account, but worth it to have financial freedom so young.
If you’re in a job or relationship you hate, or your health isn’t what you want it to be, make a plan change it. Then start taking actions today that will get you where you want to be tomorrow. Tune in to what your heart really desires. How do you really want to spend your life? Then make a plan to transition. Plant a little tree in your soul, water it, and let it grow. One day you’ll use that tree to climb out of your current situation. Be patient, but start now.
Keep a Journal
Journaling is a great way to show yourself some love. It’s like having a deep conversation with yourself, and it’s on paper so you can look back on it later to see where you were and how far you’ve come. Grab a blank book or an online journaling program and start writing down your thoughts, fears, feelings, and successes. A journal is a great place to vent when you are angry and have no one else to vent to. Share your feelings, and release your burdens.
Gratitude is a super high vibration. When you are in a state of gratitude and feeling blessed you become more resourceful than you can imagine. Use your journal or just grab a piece of paper each morning and write down 10 things for which you are grateful. Part of my audio program, Raising Your Vibration, contains a 10 minute gratitude meditation, which can be done every evening. Being in a state of gratitude restores and resets you. Gratitude helps you show love to yourself and to others.
What are some other ways you show yourself some love? Come up with your own methods, and use them often. The more you’re willing to show yourself some love, the more love you will have to give to others. It’s a win-win for everyone!