Last Sunday was Valentine’s Day, when we turn our thoughts to the important Others in our life, the people we love. Clearly, it’s important to acknowledge the loves in your life, but… what about you?
I coach many different people, yet see a very common human concern show up often: a struggle with self-acceptance and self-love.
We know ourselves better than anyone in the world… and darn it if we don’t notice every single wart and flaw and imperfection. I find it almost universally true that there’s no one who can beat you up quite as thoroughly as…You.
I’d love to see a holiday that’s about self-acceptance and self-appreciation. Until that day comes, I offer the following to help you practice some powerful self-love.
Eleven Tips for Loving You
- Identify, Acknowledge, and Appreciate Your Strengths & Gifts. WRITE DOWN a list of your positive attributes. What do you do well? What do others compliment you for? Are you thoughtful? Creative? Always there to help? A good cook? Analytical? Playful? Detail-focused? Flexible? A great planner? Putting it on paper makes it more real. Review that list on a regular basis to appreciate all that you are and all that you offer.
- Embrace Your Imperfection. Love your quirks. Let yourself laugh at your mistakes–they are part of your continual learning. Remember that you are a Human Being, and as such you are always a work in process. Frankly, if you were Perfect you’d be boring.
- Be a Good Steward of You. Take care of what you’ve been entrusted. Put good food into your body, and move it regularly to keep it healthy. Feed your mind to keep it sharp. Seek out and associate with positive people to help your emotional self grow and expand. Seek to maximize what you have.
- Treat You As Well As You Treat Others. Would you ever speak like that to your friend, child, etc. Why say that stuff to yourself? Notice and shift your self-talk to provide a good balance of compliments (you rock!) with critical (need to work on that!).
- Connect to Community. We are most human when we are in relationships with others. List all your connections: friends, family, coworkers, church/temple, professional circles, neighbors, etc. Every day, reach out and have a conversation in which you connect to someone.
- Feed Your Soul. We cannot manage time; we can only manage how we use it. Give priority each week to at least one activity that nurtures you and fills you up. If it’s alone time you need, figure out how to turn off your mobile devices or have someone else take the kids. If it’s connection time you need, make sure you leave space for some face-to-face time.
- Forgive You. Ok, so you’ve screwed up some stuff. Accept it, figure out what you learned (it’s called Wisdom) and then…let it go. When you forgive you don’t forget, but you DO say, “I’m not going to keep living this over and over in my head.”
- Give Yourself Permission… to love you. You are SO worthy of love. If you don’t believe me, then please re-read the fabulous, famous, and inspiring passage from Marianne Williamson, below.**
- Let Other People Love You. For some people it is easier to give love and affection than to receive it. Notice when people are offering you respect, connection, and affection… and take a moment to just breathe it in and accept it graciously. When you let others love you, you are honoring both you and them.
- Say It Out Loud. Stand in front of a mirror, and notice the beautiful person smiling back at you. Say, “I Love You,” out loud. Say, “You’re fantastic! You rock!” Note: if your self-love muscle is atrophied, you may have to move up to this gradually. If you need to, start with “I like you” and skip the mirror. Work your way up from there. Repeat daily until it feels natural, and notice how your world shifts.
- Get Yourself a Coach. Any or all of the above will be much easier if you enlist someone to support you and provide encouragement–a friend, partner, or coworker (or even a professional coach!)
**“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Choose Happiness. Love You.