The day you realize that the essence of love lies within you, is the day you really know what it is to love and, what it is to be loved. Love is divine, pure, surreal, and magical. We downplay ourselves and think we don't deserve it. We think we don't deserve something as divine, pure, and surreal as love. We embrace pain since it makes us realize that we are alive, that we are real. We let negativity control our life since positivity seems too good to be true. We get so caught up in bad memories from the past that we don't allow the present to surprise us with the good in life. We blame ourselves for the bad that we caused and we regret having made decisions that didn't work out in our favor. We become so used to being harsh on ourselves that we forget to love ourselves once in a while. Self-love, the most underrated of all loves, yet the most powerful of them all, seems like a tough act to follow. Self-love is the seed which should be planted to bore fruits of loving others.
You are here because, either you have been punishing yourself for a wrong you cannot undo, or for a lie that changed your life for the worst, or for something that you blame yourself for. You are also here because you are ready to let go and start forgiving yourself. You are ready to start loving yourself. It won't be easy, but, it is not impossible either. We are here to help you and guide you through, and make you see yourself in a different light. Take your time, and no matter how hard it becomes, or how easy giving up will seem, don't do it. Don't give up on yourself. It is you and only you that will be by your side till the end. You need to believe in yourself so that you don't have to commit to the journey alone. You need yourself. And you keep yourself by your side by loving yourself.
Having said all this, start by taking one step at a time. If you believe it will happen, it is not that difficult either. Read on to see how easy and simple it can be.
Step #1: Accept yourself the way you are. Every individual has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Our strengths make us proud, but our weaknesses let us down. This is not the right approach towards life. The correct thing to do would be to accept that you are 'not flawless'. In fact, no human being on this earth is perfect. The key is balance - balance the negatives with the positives - and try to be as happy as possible.
Step #2: Stop self-criticism. Some people develop this habit, of blaming themselves for every mistake they make, no matter how small or big. This is the biggest obstacle on the way of self improvement. It is the one thing that will hold you back from loving yourself. This is not healthy. It can have an adverse impact on your self-esteem. Initially, you may find it difficult to stop yourself, which is okay. But, the moment you notice that you are criticizing yourself for a failure, start thinking positive thoughts. Appreciate yourself and acknowledge your efforts, even if you have failed.
Step #3: Stop worrying. Constant worrying adds stress to an already disturbed mind, suppresses the positivity within you, and doesn't let you think sensibly. Moreover, worrying about a problem won't get you to the solution. In fact it will make you more miserable. So, don't let your worries hound you. This will help you face the challenges of life more efficiently.
Step #4: Be confident. Make efforts to improve your self-confidence. Identify your strong skills and the qualities that make you, who you are. Try to sharpen those skills and qualities. This will bring about a marked difference in your self-esteem and you can trust on your abilities more.
Step #5: Lead a healthy lifestyle. A weak, diseased, or unhealthy body is no good and can make you hate yourself. Believe it or not, this will have a direct impact on your thoughts and set you back. It is therefore important that you take good care of your health. You can do this by eating fresh and nutritious foods, taking adequate amount of rest, and exercising regularly. Make sure the exercises are ones that you enjoy. This will rejuvenate not just your body, but your emotions as well.
Step #6: Enjoy life. You've got just one, you will have just one. Missing out on the small pleasures of life and taking it too seriously, is the biggest mistake we make. Have some fun, revel in joy, and soak in life. Immerse yourself in activities that you love, develop a hobby, and nurture it. It could be anything - singing, dancing, painting, cooking, or anything that makes you happy. Take some time out to enjoy them at least once a week. This way you are doing something that you are good at, which will make you feel good about yourself, and make you start loving life and everyone and everything in it.
Step #7: Help others. Start volunteering to do things for others on a regular basis. You understand gratitude when you help someone who is genuinely in need. You realize how privileged and fortunate you are, and the fact that you can make a difference in the lives of the lesser fortunate ones will bring you a feeling which will be out of this world.
Step #8: Look within yourself. This will ensure that you stay connected with your inner self. Meditate, sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, and spend some time with yourself. Initially, outward thoughts may disturb you, but with time, as you learn to ignore and discard them, you wouldn't be bothered by them anymore. You will be able to get in touch with your inner self, which will bring you immense joy, peace, and tranquility. Make this a habit and you will discover a quieter and more lovable side of your personality.
These little yet most powerful things will get you where you are headed. Chase them relentlessly and take them in your stride to find a new you, a loved you. Loving yourself is the one and only way to make it through this bittersweet thing called life.