Loving yourself means you accept yourself as you are, and reconcile yourself with the elements of yourself that you can’t change. This involves self-respect, a positive self-image, and unconditional self-acceptance.
We live in a culture that’s obsessed with beauty. We’re conditioned to idolize beautiful people—actors, models, and athletes with perfect teeth, trim waists, and six-pack abs. Therefore, we subconsciously equate happiness and success with attractiveness.
But to genuinely love yourself, you can’t let your looks define your value. Your appearance can’t be your sole method for obtaining relationships, sex, or love. It can’t dictate your worth, joy, or family status. It shouldn’t gain you a professional promotion. Look at it this way: the people who know us best and love us most don’t define us by our weight, our skin tone, or our wardrobe.
So, why do you continue beating yourself up at the mercy of some unattainable standard of beauty?
If you want to find true love that lasts, you must be proud of who you are, not in the way you look. You must take pride in your talent to write compelling words, paint exquisite paintings, or otherwise express your creativity. These unique attributes are what a future partner will remember about you. It won’t be the height of your heels or the style of your clothes. It will be the person you are inside.
Here are seven tips to help you learn to love yourself:
- Let go.
To redefine the love in your life, you must reconcile and release past heartbreaks. People hang on to the pain of failed past relationships and let it weigh them down, dictate their confidence, and taint their optimism.
We’ve all been hurt and let down. We’ve all been stood up or waited for that call that never came. We’ve all felt weak, vulnerable, and exposed after getting our trust exploited and our egos crushed. Hanging on to those feelings just strengthens them and infuses them with more influence than they should have. It’s far better to forgive, let go, and move on.
- Win yourself over.
You’re a catch, so treat yourself like one. You may need to remind yourself. So, occasionally woo yourself and surprise yourself. Knock yourself out with your beguiling ways!
Hide a carton of your favorite ice cream in the freezer to pull out when you need it the most. Or buy yourself a beautiful bouquet of flowers because you’re worthy of adding their brightness and cheer into your day.
Current or future love interests can’t be relied on to treat you to special things in life. They can’t be the source of your happiness. Partners are great, but they’re fundamentally uncertain in a way that your joy shouldn’t be. They can’t be counted on for something as significant as your personal happiness. That has to come from you. So, figure out what makes you feel good. Take a weekend class—learn how to do yoga, or speak Spanish, or play the piano. Do what makes you feel good, especially if you don’t.
- Stop competing.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Life isn’t a race. Love isn’t, either.
So your old college roommate is getting married, and that ungrateful underling you trained at work is exceeding your mutual supervisor’s expectations. Well, who cares? Life will even out. It just may take some time. Your old roommate may be jealous of the levels of freedom and independence you’re currently enjoying. Your colleague may be stretching herself too thin. In other words, as the old saying goes, the grass is always greener. Enjoy your own lawn, knowing that it will thrive and grow in its own sweet time.
- Invest in friendships.
Being in a romantic relationship doesn’t dictate the person you are, the places you can go, or the goals you can achieve. Do you know what will, though? The people you choose to be with in your daily life. The support and unconditional love of true friends can’t possibly be underestimated. Rachel would have been lost without Monica and Phoebe. Let’s be real here, they were on a break—but the show wasn’t called Romances. It was the friendships that made it work. So, build your own unique, witty, fun-loving cast and take comfort that your show will go on!
- Get healthier.
Taking better care of your body isn’t about how you look. It’s about how it will make you feel. There’s a sweet inner glow that can only come from being healthy. So, trade up from the tipsiness of wine to the exercise-induced rush of endorphins. Rediscover the beauty of early weekend morning walks. Sit outside in the sunshine, read up on current events, form educated opinions, drink a protein smoothie, take an exercise class, or try going vegan.
- Know what you deserve.
People will only accept the love they think they deserve. That may sound corny, but it’s true, so know this: You do deserve a partner who still loves you the morning after, when your hair is frizzy and your makeup is smudged. You do deserve a partner who will remember how you like your coffee, and will make some for you when you get stuck in a Zoom meeting all morning. You do deserve a partner you can confide in about all of our insecurities and where they came from. You do deserve a partner who loves you unconditionally, who reassures you through both his words and his actions. You do deserve a partner who thinks you’re fine just the way you are, because you aren’t perfect, and neither is he.
You do deserve a partner who makes you feel special, because you’re his highest priority. You will find that partner. But until you do, those things must come from you.