How to Love Yourself
Loving yourself often gets a bad press. It’s regularly bundled into the same category as boasting, over confidence and arrogance. In truth we’ve probably all been in the company of someone who appeared to love themselves so much that its bordered on narcissism…Miss-interpreted and wrongly applied loving yourself can, like most things, go wrong…
What can go even more horribly wrong, however, is the opposite…Buying into the illusion that you are not a good enough human being to look in the mirror and genuinely like the person who is looking back…(in a way that is not dependant with looks I may add)
Hey, at least with narcissism and excessive self love you get to feel good about yourself! You may put a lot of people off with your super-inflated ego but at least you see your value to the world.
You’ll be glad to know that becoming so self-absorbed that you think you are the centre of the universe is not the goal of this lesson. It’s about helping you see the qualities you already possess objectively so that you can start being fair to yourself…
Because, in truth, this article should really be entitled ‘How to see through the distractions and illusions you’ve bought into that stop you from naturally loving yourself’ rather than just ‘how to love yourself’ but lets face it, it’s no where near as catchy…
The later implies that our natural state is not one of self love and we have to set about creating and maintaining some new pattern through time. It may feel like this and sure, there are strategies you can use to develop habitual self-love but, in my opinion, it’s more accurate to say that our natural state is one of absolute, unequivocal, unconditional self love and that, throughout our lives, we learn, develop, create and buy into numerous ways to not see it.
Another way to put it is to say that absolute, unequivocal self love is the place you’ll naturally be in the absence of all the destructive patterns and limiting beliefs about yourself that you have learned.
This may seem a small distinction but a hugely useful one. It means that self-love is more about unlearning than learning. It’s about making the genuine realisation that all the reasons you may have had for not liking yourself are merely masking and repressing the fact that you are an amazing human being. Sure there are lots of ways to build on this but you aren’t starting from scratch…
Your default state is already one of pure self-love and happiness and the first step is to start seeing through the distractions and recognise what’s already there.
It’s like the story of the painter and the sculpture. One day the painter turned round to the sculpture and said, “How is it you can carve such beautiful statues out of big lumps of stone”. The Sculpture replied by saying “In actual fact I don’t…in actual fact, the statue is already alive inside the stone and all you have to do is chip away what doesn’t belong and chisel and refine what’s already there”
When you begin to start seeing through these distractions it makes things a whole lot easier. You’ll start to see the beautiful self that's already there and develop the kind of ‘quiet confidence’ in yourself that doesn’t always need to be voiced but its there, solid as a rock…
You won’t feel the need to be constantly validated by people on the outside…It’ll still be nice when they do, of course, but it’s not a strict requirement for your happiness.
It's like a story my dad used to tell me about a friend of his. Every time they met he would boast to my dad about how good he was and all the things he was achieving. My dad’s words were as useful as they were insightful…He said “Son, the problem with Graham is he is always trying to convince people he is good enough instead of just knowing he is...He's pretending rather than just being”
This is an important distinction and a feature of people who genuinely like being in their own skin.
They don’t feel the need to voice their qualities but it oozes from every pore in their body. That they have found a way to experience a sense of joy and happiness inside their own body without needing constant external validation…
Of course this is a utopian vision, I’ve never came across a single person who doesn’t need external validation at some stage and don’t think I ever will but I do know for certain that when your worth and value is entirely dependant on being consistently validated by others you are heading for a fall.
The quiet confidence comes from fully recognising and appreciating how amazing you are. It’s about being in a place where you know your value to the world even though you don’t feel the need to voice it.
So to summarize, there are lots of ways using NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and other forms of self-help and change psychology to build habitual self-love and these are really useful to learn. Just realise that the value you possess isn’t something you have to build from scratch and maintain…You are already starting from a strong place…you’ve just learned too much nonsense and bullshit about yourself and the world to see it yet.
Of course, I’m fully aware that just knowing this logically won’t be enough for a lot of people. You’ll need an experience to really start believing it.
So here’s one to try out. It’s an incredibly powerful process that gets better with practice and will help you pear through the distraction and see the treasure inside.
Recognising your self worth...
- Make sure you will not be disturbed for 10/15 minutes.
- Start by making a list of all the people who you know genuinely love you. It could be you parents, close friends, family or even your dog.
- Close your eyes and imagine a time when they were expressing their love and appreciation to you. Explore this in as much detail as possible.
- Now imagine what it would be like if you were to step out of your own body and into that of one of the people that truly love an appreciate you.
- Look back at yourself through those eyes. See what you see, hear what you hear and feel the feelings of love bubbling up inside.
- Make any images larger, brighter, more focused and colourful.
- If there are any sounds, turn the volume up and hear it through both ears.
- Notice where you feel the feeling of love inside your body. Make a mental note of how this feels and imagine what it would be like if it were to get stronger and then spread throughout your entire body.
- Repeat this process several times a week until you feel the feeling of self love strongly in your body. This may take a while for some people and it can be almost instant for others..
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