3 Simple Ways To Learn How To Love Yourself

Love. It's so messy. So complicated. So empowering. And so worth it!

For most of my young life, I never really acknowledged nor understood what it meant to love myself, and that is most likely because I spent so many years hating myself from dealing with the symptoms that came with my depression.

I spent a lot of time looking for love outside of myself. In people, places and things. It was so dysfunctional and messy. I believed my worth was dependent upon how people saw me. I settled for less than what I deserved in many cases, and this doesn't just apply to relationships, but in my career and work life because I never understood my value or my worth. I believed I was a mess. A hot dysfunctional crazy mess. I allowed my depression to define me and instead of embracing my struggle, I pushed it away, and when I saw it wasn't going anywhere, I hated myself more and more for being what I called "different."

Through my journey I spent a lot of time in therapy, learning how to heal my wounds and cultivate this thing called self-love. The idea of it seemed so distant from me, so unrealistic, so unattainable. But by putting in the work, I was able to break those chains that kept me bound to fear and dysfunction, and I learned how to love myself so that I could walk in freedom and the goodness of life.

Here are three tools that I learned that helped me to cultivate self-love.

1. SAY "I'M SORRY" TO YOURSELF

As I journeyed day-by-day, I realized that a lot of my self-hate came from shame and judgement toward my past mistakes and flawed decisions. I had a hard time coming to terms with the consequences that came from my choices, but I realized that forgiveness is key when it comes to moving forward and coming home to yourself. I apologized to myself as the first step to laying my burdens down and learning to embrace my imperfections.

2. COMPARE LESS

We all know the phrase "comparison is the thief of joy," and all I can say is amen to that! During the time that I struggled with self-love, a huge part of it came from the fact that I was struggling with self-acceptance. I thought I was ugly, fat, stupid and unworthy because I was too busy looking at the people around me and the lives they were living as well as their success. I envied people, not realizing that I had a life of my own and I had the power to turn it into whatever I wanted it to be. Envying people is nothing but a distraction. I can hate all I want, but God specifically designed me to be me and there is nothing that I can magically do to turn myself into someone else. I started to highlight the areas of my life where I felt disappointment and I made every effort to challenge my thoughts. I wrote them out, as well as talked to my therapist about them, so that I could work on unlearning those negative thoughts and replacing them with positive and uplifting self-affirming ones.

3. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LOVE

We live by example right? I am very mindful about the people I choose to let into my life and pour into me. I believe that we should all have positive people in our lives who remind us that we are seen, heard and valued. I also believe that we should be surrounding ourself with people who live by example. They practice things like generosity + kindness, and they radiate love on all types of levels, toward their boss, toward their spouse, toward their neighbor and even toward the person who we think doesn't deserve to be loved. Love may have it's moments when it feels messy and complicated, but it also pure and true, kind, caring, selfless, gracious, inspiring, and empowering. When learning to love, make an effort to also surround yourself with the very act of love..

Practice these tips daily and watch your heart transform. Self-love is such a magical thing that no one deserves to miss out on!

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