“ ‘I love myself’.
I provide spiritual readings for individuals, and one of the focuses of the reading is to identify what is blocking our paths. One thing that consistently comes up as an obstacle is a lack of self-love and acceptance. In fact, this is one of the things I have struggled with most of my life. It has become my life’s goal above all else to completely love and accept myself. I know that if I do this, all else will fall into place. My relationships will thrive and I will be healthy, happy and whole in every area of my life if I could truly love and accept myself.
If you struggle with low self-esteem and find it hard to find the value and worth of your being, you may grapple with questions like, “how do I love myself” or “what can I do to love and accept myself more”? In this article, I will discuss the initial 4 steps to begin the journey of complete self-love and self-acceptance. Get out your pen, paper and let’s get to work.
“I’ve loved many. Yet if I coould go back and start over, the first person I would have learned to love would be myself”
Step #1-Know who you are.
The first step is to identify your most beautiful and endearing qualities. One of the best books I’ve read is, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxwell. In this book he states, “Self-esteem is the single most significant key to a person’s behavior”. This couldn’t be more true. In the book there was an exercise where you had to write down 100 things you liked about yourself. Honestly, I struggled after number 10. But eventually I wrote down 100 things I liked about myself; from my strong work ethic, the shape of my eyes to the intensity and passion of my soul. I still have that list and I look at it from time to time to remind myself, yes I am indeed the shit ;-). I would like you to do the same. Write down 100 things you love about yourself. If you struggle to write down 100 things, then that means you have some work to do. That means you don’t know who you are or what you truly possess. Could it be that you have focused so long on what you didn’t like or love about yourself that you don’t even know the inherent good that is present within you?
I love taking personality assessments. They help me to learn more about who I am and my best qualities. I would urge you to get to know yourself. Assessments like the Myers Briggs Personality Assessment (I am an INFJ by the way), Strength Finders and How the World Sees You are great places to start. I guarantee the more you learn about and focus on the good of who you are, you will love yourself a lot more.
Step #2- Know who you are (again)
Now we’re getting to the nitty gritty. Identify all the things that you don’t like about yourself. This may seem counterproductive, but it will serve a purpose. Write down all the things that you don’t like about yourself. This time we are not going to write down 100 things we don’t like about ourselves, but just write them down. There was a time I didn’t like the way I looked physically; I was not happy with my weight or my skin or my overally image. I also didn’t like my quick- tempered attitude and the way I would let so many things bother me. I didn’t like that everything I did was rooted in fear. I didn’t like the way I let men use and abuse me. And the one thing I absolutley, 100% could not stand about myself was that I cared (and I still do a bit; work in progrees) entirely too much what others think of me.
You may have similar things that you dislike about yourself or they may be completely different. It is time to write those things down and take a real good look that them. Sit with them and let whatever emotions and feelings come up when you think about all the things you don’t like about yourself sit with you. Feel the hurt, pain, disappointment, disgust, anger and bitterness. “Sometimes the only way out is through”. The primary obstacle to our complete healing is denial. We refuse to face the truth about ourselves and then we convince ourselves that our dysfunction is ok. It’s not and until you courageously face the truth, you will always remain exactly where you are. The reason we are writing down everything we don’t like about ourselves is not to beat ourselves up or have a pity party. It is to get a clear picture of what we can change.
Step #3-Invest in Yourself
This is going to help you with the things that you love about yourself and the things you aren’t as fond of. Over the past 5 years I have literally spent thousands of dollars on books, classes, certifications, workout equipment, organic food, and whatever else I found that would capitalize on the things that I love about myself and would help me eliminate the things I didn’t like about myself one by one.
I didn’t like the way I looked. At one point I got tired of looking in the mirror and hating what was staring back at me and I decided to transform my body into a masterpiece. First, I joined weight watchers in 2010 and after I had my daughter in 2011 and gained all the weight back and then some, I got myself back on track. I stopped eating so much fast food and soda. I asked my dad if he would teach me how to lift weights and I put my jogging stroller to good use. I bought books and took online classes on how to enhance my internal and external beauty and looks. I stopped making excuses as to why I couldn’t be the woman of my dreams and decided to BECOME the woman of my dreams. The more I focused on changing the things I didn’t like the more I saw the things I did like about myself. I thought wow, I’m such a hard worker and I’m tenacious and smart and wow, you know what I really am beautiful. I loved what I was learning about health and wellness and I decided to pursue a certification so I could help others. I invested in myself again. It was a domino effect. I just had to make that first move. And here I am, loving myself more than I ever imagined, and everyday I am learning to love myself more. But changinig the outside was so much easier than changing the inside. Dealing with my resentment, anger, bitterness and self-sabatoging ways was a process indeed. I found books on self-healing and began my jounrey of discovering the ancestral wisdom that lay dormant to deal with my demons, shadows and fears. For some, counseling may be the investement you need to mend what’s broken.
The truth is, although you struggle with self-love and you may tear yourself down, there is something deep inside of you saying “I really do love myself”. Trust me, if you were intent on giving up on yourself, you wouldn’t even be reading this. Let this be a sign from the universe that all you have to do is make that first move. In one of my favorite books, The Alchemist, it says, “And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. If you want to love yourself more, the universe will help you
Step #4- Rewire your brain.
The fourth and final initial step to increasing your self-love and self-acceptance is to rewire your brain with positive affirmations. If you aren’t in control of your thoughts, negative self-talk will destroy you. Gautama Buddha said, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. We are made of our thoughts; we are molded by our thoughts”
You MUST to be proactive in counteracting all the negativity that exists in your conscious and sub-conscious mind. It may not even be your own voice that you hear. Maybe its family or bullies who said mean and negative things about you. Maybe you were told your nose or lips were too big, or you were too dark, too light, or your hair was too nappy and short. Maybe you were told you weren’t going to amount to much or you were like your no-good mother or father. Maybe your childhood crush rejected you and you have felt unworthy and unlovable since then. It could be a number of things. But you must not allow those thoughts to roam free in your mind. You must squelch these thoughts with positive affirmations. I love positive affirmations and they have helped me greatly to love and accept myself. I write them down on post-it notes and put them on my mirror or the wall. I repeat them over and over in my head and when a negative thought comes in my mind, I destroy it with a positive affirmation. These are some of my favorites:
“I love and accept myself”
“Everyday I am growing more beautiful and radiantly healthy”
“I am safe, secure and grounded”
“I have great value”
Bonus Step #5- Repeat Steps 1- 4 as needed
I really hope this helps you get started on your self-love journey. Even if you can’t say it yet, I would like to speak these words to your spirit. You are beautiful and valuable. Your worth is infinite, immense and you deserve the very best. Everyday you wake up and every breath you take has a divine purpose. It is time for you to discover the depths of your talent, skill, and beauty. I love you.
“I am new here. To this self love. To this whole love. To this not changing for anyone, not apologizing to anyone, sort of kind and pure love. And I am never leaving”
Kathleen, “The Nutritional Truth Teller” is a Certified Holistic Nutritionst, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant and a Certified Vaginal Steam Facilitator. She is the owner of Beauty In A Barbell Nutrition, whose sole mission is to optimize the physical, mental, and spiritual health of the Black community through African Holistic Health and Black Radicalism. She carries with her the ancestral knowledge and wisdom of the medicine men, women, healers and warriors she lovingly calls her ancestors.