Happiness belongs to the self-sufficient.
People spend a lifetime searching for happiness; looking for peace. They chase idle dreams, addictions, religions, even other people, hoping to fill the emptiness that plagues them. The irony is the only place they ever needed to search was within.
Ramona L. Anderson
If you don’t like someone, or if someone betrays you, you can walk away. You can stop being his/her friend.
But if you don’t even love yourself, you have nowhere to go.
This inescapable truth came crashing down on me when, for the first six months after I’d first moved 500 miles away to Southern California, I was absolutely miserable. I had no close friends, no family, no one to depend on. I felt like nobody cared about me, and that if I simply disappeared, nobody would even notice. When I woke up in the morning, I’d start crying before I even opened my eyes because I felt so alone. If only I had just one great friend that would be there for me, I’d be okay, I thought.
And then I realized I had to be that friend for myself.
And that’s when I started changing myself, little by little (and read a book or two that helped me along the way– look out for a post soon on a few of the books most influential to my happiness and self-development!)– and amazingly, I went from self-hating, depressed for as long as I could remember, self-destructive, insecure, and almost always sad to unconditionally self-loving and happy. (Of course, it took a LOT of effort, but I got there, and I’m still learning to love myself, even more, every day!)
And that very transformation is why this site even exists… to be there with you as you travel along this path of happiness and self-love.
The love of your friends and family is irreplaceable and valuable, but when you find yourself without that support, what will you do? Just give up? Or realize by taking care of yourself and loving yourself, you can be happy (and have the confidence to make new friends!) even if you’re alone?
And if you want to be in a successful and loving relationship… how can you expect your partner to love you at all, if even you find yourself unlovable?
Do you really need any more reasons to love yourself more, starting right now?
1. Let yourself be completely alone.
- Feel what it’s like to be truly alone with yourself.
- Resist the urge to escape and find company, to leave yourself.
- Stay with yourself in the present, and be curious with yourself. Notice how the air feels against your skin. Try to feel the presence of your body. You are alive. Isn’t it amazing?
- Forgive yourself for anything you’ve blamed yourself for in the past, and feel free without the burden of what no longer exists (the past). Tell yourself that you forgive yourself.
- Breathe. Slowly. Listen to your breath. Let it go, and with it, any negative feelings.
- Whisper to yourself, “I am awesome. I am beautiful. I love myself.” Or scream it from the rooftops. That works, too.
- Don’t just be accepting; be open and unconditionally loving towards yourself.
- Love your faults and honor your strengths.
- Get to know yourself. Journal or draw about yourself, what makes you happy, and what makes you so great, so spectacular. Pay attention to yourself.
- Trust yourself. Who else can you trust better than yourself? You’re the only one who will always be there for you. You’re the only one you’ll always have. If it’s difficult, take time every day to trust yourself a little bit more.
- Keep a positive attitude, look on the bright side, and think positively. When you feel yourself thinking negatively, don’t try to push it away forcefully; just be aware, and let it come and go. Focus on the positive aspect of situations.
- Smile. Smile at your reflection and say hello. Smile at the world.
2. Make a list of what you would do for the person you love most, and then do those things for yourself. Alone.
- Take yourself on a date. Go to the amusement park, go to a museum, and treat yourself as the loveliest, best date you’ve ever had.
- Treat yourself to a lovely meal. Go out alone to eat at a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. Cook yourself a feast. Eat exactly what you want to eat, no matter how expensive it is (save up for this treat if you want). Be present for the meal. Chew slowly and enjoy every bit of the treat for yourself.
- Go to the movie theater and watch a movie (in a genre that you love) by yourself. Yes, by yourself. (I did this for the premiere of Ghost Town and it was awesome being able to laugh and cry as much as I wanted!)
- Take a long walk with yourself. Go to the park and look at all the creatures that live together in harmony. They don’t reject you or expect anything out of you. Or if you don’t like nature, take a stroll around the city alone, enjoying the sights and sounds.
- Give yourself a beautiful present. Spend time making it special. You deserve it. (This is not an excuse to ignore your problems with retail therapy or by buying stuff. Create something spectacular and unique for yourself. On the other hand, if you never buy yourself anything, allow yourself to actually buy something you want for once.)
- Write yourself a letter on beautiful stationery. Tell yourself why you love yourself, why you’re great. Keep the letter for times good and bad.
3. Take care of yourself– your body and your health.
- Your body is a temple. Treat it like one. Evaluate what you choose to put into your temple. Does the food you eat nourish you, or does it make you feel like utter crap, like you have to have caffeine every 3 hours (or seconds)?
- Don’t make your eating decisions based on what any diet book, magazine, or uninformed individual tells you. Choose foods that YOU love that make YOU feel good and give you the energy to have a great day. If this requires you to stop eating overprocessed junk food and start eating real, whole foods, so be it. Your body won’t just thank you later– your body will start thanking you right now.
- At the same time, eat your cake, too– never deprive yourself. Simply consider making a dessert yourself instead of getting it from a fast food restaurant (or even many grocery stores– they usually have lists of artificial ingredients a mile long!). Make your own snacks.
- Allow yourself to feel the parts of your body that you’ve rejected in the past. Touch them with love and tenderness and gentleness. Tell each of them how much you love them. For instance, if it’s your legs, say, “Thank you for even existing, so that I may walk and run and dance and travel and experience the world.”
- Cancel subscriptions to magazines that make you feel like you are not good enough. Take the existing ones you own and spend a day tearing them apart if you’d like, and then recycling them. Throw out your diet books… into the recycling bin.
- Get enough sleep. Turn off the computer or TV an hour before your bedtime, wind down, take a long bubble bath, and make sure you get enough rest so you’ll feel good throughout the next day.
- Find a way to move your body (aka the dreaded “e” word) that you LOVE! If you don’t like the gym, don’t go to the gym. (If you do like the gym, keep on going!) Go on walks with friends, play tennis or basketball or any other sport with your family, go jogging with your dog!
- Be conscious and aware… if you have any self-destructive behaviors (drinking/eating/smoking/etc. too much), don’t beat yourself up about them, but realize that you are making a choice to do something that might lead you to feel bad (physically or otherwise), and that you deserve much, much better than that.
4. Make YOU a priority.
- Relax. Get a massage, go to the spa, take a bath. Spend at least one day (preferably per week) doing only what YOU want to do– no work, no thinking about what other people want you to do for them. Read a book or watch a movie.
- Or simply, do nothing. Just sit or lie down. Zone out. Give yourself time and space not to have to do anything, even if it’s just five minutes.
- Say some affirmations every day, if you want.
- Respect yourself. Only settle for the absolute best, because that’s the bare minimum you deserve. Accept nothing less.
- Refuse to allow anyone to treat you in any way that you wouldn’t treat your closest friend.
- If you need to, cut people out of your life (or wean them off slowly) if they are anything less than respectful or loving towards you– even if you can’t imagine life without them because you’ve been friends for so long, or even if they’re family (if you can’t imagine doing that in the case of family, then only communicate when absolutely necessary). You are worth SO MUCH MORE than that.
- Learn to say NO. Stand up for yourself. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you– you are strong and powerful, and YOU control YOUR life. Don’t do anything someone else wants you to do just because they say you should. Don’t let others guilt you, either– refuse to put up with their crap.
- Be kind to yourself when you falter. Love the fact that you aren’t perfect. It makes you (and your life) more interesting, after all! Forgive yourself.
- Be kind to others. It’ll make YOU feel good, too!
- Do what YOU love. If you don’t know what makes your heart flutter and your soul smile, take time for yourself to find out. Make it a priority for yourself to have time to do this activity and make yourself happy.
- Write notes to yourself filled with self-love and inspiration, and post them in random places. Post them in places you always see– on your desk, on your front door, on the bathroom mirror, on the fridge– and even in places that’ll surprise you later on when you find them again.
- You are a being filled to the brim with love and beauty, and you were born to love yourself. Act accordingly.
5. Stop waiting to love yourself.
“I’ll start trying to like myself when I… get a new job, eat like a rabbit, look like a plastic mannequin, find the perfect partner to love me so I won’t have to love myself…”
Love yourself NOW.
The only time you have to be alive and THRIVING is RIGHT NOW.
And you’re wasting your time if you’re waiting for any moment in the future, because chances are you might not even get to that moment if you don’t LOVE YOURSELF NOW.
P.S. This post has been a very long time coming; the ideas have been brewing in my mind for literally ages! It’s a culmination of a little bit of everything I’ve wanted to write about loving yourself, and there’s definitely more to come, though I tried packing as much as humanly possible into this post. You will get the best results if you do everything listed here, no matter how weird (or new) it might feel. Or uncomfortable. Uncomfortable is (usually) good. It means you’re getting somewhere.
Let it be known that I have done and/or still do everything on this list, so if you feel a little ridiculous doing some of them, worry naught for a fearless warrior has already paved the way! Keep on loving yourself and being wonderful! ♥