I am VERY excited to participate in my first Life Well Lived Getting Happy panel this week!
This week’s question: How do you practice self-acceptance and find unconditional love for yourself? How does practicing love first help you attract more love and happiness in your life?
What an amazing question!! When I read it earlier this week, my mind went racing in about a bazillion different directions. I spent the last couple of days trying desperately to reign in my thoughts and put them in order.
I have a friend who everyone adores. She is just one of those people that you can’t really help but love once you meet her. If you ever end up mad at her, its probably because you don’t get to spend enough time with her!
Her favorite quote is:
“Love life and life will love you back. Love people and they will love you back.”
– Arthur Rubinstein
And I think that is the key… she loves people, and in turn they love her. I felt like this tied into this prompt beautifully.
If you give yourself unconditional love, you’re more likely to give that love to others as well. Give and you shall receive.
But how does one start with step one? Giving yourself unconditional love. It’s easier said than done! People are notoriously their own worst critics. Beyond that, unconditional love of self is all too easily confused with being narcissistic. So it seems only right to not love yourself to avoid such a thing happening… right?
That being said… raise your hand if you truly enjoy spending time with someone who constantly puts them self down. You enjoy hearing someone belittle their looks, what they ate, what they wore and what they do for a living?
Right. Didn’t think so. You find yourself stroking that person’s ego, trying to convince them other wise. It’s exhausting!
Personally, I’d much rather spend time with someone who is confident, happy, and doesn’t look for reassurance from the outside to make up for the self-loathing inside. I find myself drawn to those people, and it in turn makes me happier.
So… step 1… surround yourself with happy people. Spend time with people you want to be more like and let their natural positive energy draw you up. Don’t second guess the time you spend with them. Don’t go, “Oh they’re just being polite.” NO! Stop right there. Let go and enjoy yourself! Let their loving, positive energy draw over you and into you… and you’ll find yourself walking away with a spring in your step and a smile on your face.
Now, step 2, go look in the mirror. No, really, take that high you have from being around other positive people, and look in the mirror. Smile. Stop looking for imperfections and anything you don’t like about yourself. Look yourself in the eye. Look yourself straight in the eye and say the words, “I love me. I’m not perfect, but I embrace my imperfections as things that make me uniquely me. I love me. I deserve love and am loved.”
Say it over and over again. Say any variation of it. However often you have to say it. When you see a mirror, do it again.
I’ve grown to love taking reflection self portraits. I was leery of it at first. Would that seem… weird. Would I appear stuck on myself? But I did it. And I did it again. And again. And I started to find so much fun in it. It gave me this self confidence I didn’t even know was lacking! It started to show this quirky, goofy side of myself that I didn’t even know existed. And I LOVED THAT ABOUT MYSELF.
Step 3, find beauty in your faults. Seriously. Remember when I said to ignore those imperfections? Well… now pay attention to them. But look for the beauty in them. That scar just below your left eye? The one you try to hide with make-up? Well, there’s a story behind it. It’s a part of who you are. Embrace it! Love it! Love that history and instead of hiding it, tell its story to anyone who stares at it. Suddenly that imperfection is something someone else loves about you.
I perhaps am making it sound easy. I know its not. I’m a naturally happy person, but I have my bad days. I have days I hate the world and hate myself for one reason or another. I run into walls that knock me backwards on my butt.
Step 4, understand that sh*t happens and what matters is how you react to it. NO ONE will begrudge you a bad day. So don’t deny yourself that as well. Bad days happen, and I like to think they just make the good days sweeter.
I have several friends who recently went through hard heart breaks. Relationships have ended, and… nothing will make you question love faster than a broken heart! Inevitably, the questioning turns inwards. “Was I not good enough to love? Could anyone ever love me?”
The answer is without a doubt that we all deserve love, and we all have people who love us. But if in that moment you can’t think of a single person who loves you… you can always say, “I love me.” Start your mantra again. Say until you believe it and feel it. Realize that its not the heartbreak that matters; what matters is how you pick yourself up afterwards. Love yourself enough to keep going. Love yourself and watch as you find yourself giving love again… and how you start to get it back again.
February is a month that the word “Love” gets thrown around a lot. I see many unhappy people curse that fact.
I remember one Valentine’s Day… I was single and embracing that fact. I went and I got my belly button pierced. It was a huge, “I am fabulous!” thing. I was embracing being single. I was embracing MYSELF. I was LOVING ME. It was my last Valentine’s Day single, ironically. Nonetheless, five years married, I still look at my belly button (where I no longer wear any jewelry but can still see where it was pierced) and I smile with satisfaction.
I Love Me. And I wish nothing more than for you to love you.
♥ ♥ ♥
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