Falling in love with ME is a journey, an active adventure that touches every aspect of our lives. So vast and deep, the concept of loving one’s self can be hard to wrap our heads around. So let me give it to you in the simplest terms possible. Loving yourself completely is the unwavering commitment to and active expression of
- Knowing yourself
- Accepting yourself
- Living as the fullest expression of your real ME in all parts of your life
- Attracting and allowing into your life only people and situations that support all of the above
Just to be clear, it’s not a linear path in which these four statements equate to “four easy to steps to loving yourself.” Falling in love with one’s self doesn’t happen overnight or even in the course of a few months. It occurs through the collective power of a series of small things—actions, beliefs, realizations, and experiences—and this love will continue to increase for the rest of your life, if you let it.
While each of us has a unique path and will find many ways to deepen and express our love of ME, there are some common ways of being, doing, and seeing that go on the “must-have” list for self-love. I’ve included some here to get you started. As you read them, reflect honestly on how much they do or do not describe your relationship with yourself.
Be your own best friend. Love hanging out with you. When you are deeply connected to ME, there’s no reason to fear being alone. Honestly believe the following: “I would rather be companionless than with others who take away from how great I feel about ME, whether this refers to family, friends, or a partner.”
See your magnificence and beauty. Embrace the amazing person you are every day. Let everyone around you see her, too. Cherish your own brilliance, without reserve or fear of it being greater than someone else’s light. The more radiant you are, the more others will be inspired to show their own splendor.
Love all of yourself, even the not-so-pretty parts. Accept your flaws, idiosyncrasies, and weaknesses. Love yourself for who you have been and are. Forgive yourself for decisions that were not self-supporting.Acknowledge the dark parts of your life and spirit, and love them just as they are.
Make decisions guided by self-love. Take actions only if they uphold your commitment to self. Always be honest about how a relationship or other situation adds to or detracts from loving ME. And if you can’t be honest with yourself, ask a trusted friend to advise you—and actually listen to what this person says.
Change your perspective on beliefs that counter self-love. Tell those negative voices in your head to take a hike, throw the “shoulds” into the garbage, and leave the bags of guilt at the door. Be willing to believe in the possibility of new possibilities, ones that breed and nourish love.
Never apologize for who you are. Believe that your choices, made with integrity and love, never have to be justified to anyone else. Be confident in who you are, and never let anyone say you should be someone else.
Make unconditional love a requirement for all relationships. Keep only the relationships with people—partners, friends, and family—who accept, love, and support you for you. They don’t have to always like, agree with, or understand your choices, or you theirs, but love in the relationship must be unwavering. Do not have relationships with people who cannot love you as you are today, whose love is conditional and inconsistent. If you aren’t getting unconditional love from someone you’d like to remain in your life, be willing to ask for it and to be honest about how they can give it.
Give and receive. One of the best parts of loving ME is getting to love other people too. Love others freely, without expectation, resentment, or attachment to the outcome.
This is not a comprehensive list but a starting point. I follow all these guidelines myself and can attest to the miraculous shift loving ME can make in life. Use these guidelines to help yourself discover what loving ME really means for you.
Christine Arylo is a speaker, teacher, and self-love author who has reached more than 50,000 people in 41 countries with her programs. This post is adapted from her best-selling book Choosing ME before WE. Join her at Kripalu.