I started writing columns focusing on health issues. After recently speaking with one of my Myspace friends, it dawned on me that before you can take care of your body, you have to truly love your body, and that means loving yourself. She'd written some blogs about some of the mistakes she's made in the past and present and wanted her friends to comment on them. Well of course I commented on the usual stuff about having self love and high self esteem. I was surprised by her next question. She admitted that she didn't know how to begin loving herself and simply asked, “How do I?” I was caught off guard by this. I was reminded once again that when you give advice - even friendly advice - you must be simplistic and exact in your responses. Thank you Lady Jo for this lesson. This article actually should have been the very first one ever written, but it's only after you've been inspired that you can truly write anything worth sharing. And so I replied:
Learning How to Love Yourself - Building from ground zero!
You are the architect - Draw up your own blue print
As a small child, it's easy and natural to love yourself, because children automatically expect unconditional love and acceptance. It's only after someone or something shows them the ugly side of life that they start doubting themselves and feeling insecure.
First of all, realize that everyone, and I mean absolutely EVERYONE, has done some things they wish they could go back and change. Secondly, know that no one is defined by the things they have done, but by the lessons they have learned and the wisdom they are willing to teach to others. Third, you are also not defined by the mistakes of others.
You must tear down to rebuild!
This is your journey alone. No one can make it for you, so do not let anyone else guide you off your path. Think about the things in your life you have done, regret, and have learned from. Think about them, analyze them, figure out the lessons in them and then forgive yourself for them. Then leave the guilt behind and take with you only the lessons. This is the crucial first step, because you must drop the heavy weights that are holding you down and coloring your view. Whether you need a shovel or a bull dozer, it can be done. It must be done. So drop 'em and let's go.
Rebuilding – the foundation and the framework
First, write down all the positive things about yourself that you can think of. Do not put down one negative thing! Cast those out of your head and try not to think of them during this exercise. You should have placed them in the exercise above. We're rebuilding now, so the negatives have got to go! So write down the positives, and read them every night before you take your bath and get ready for bed. Next, look at yourself in the mirror (in the nude), lights bright as they can be. See yourself in your purest essence and tell yourself, "I am beautiful. I am unique. I am imperfect perfection, just as I was intended to be." Find your flaws and get comfortable with them too. Look at them and say, "I love you too. You make me ME!"
Note: you can do this exercise before going out on the town. Make sure you note all the positive feedback you receive. You will be strutting in a different way and others will pick up on your energy. Your confidence and inner beauty will absolutely radiate.
Bring in the sheetrock, the bricks, and the mortar!
Well, don't just sit there...get in the water! Imagine all the negatives and self doubt being washed away from your body and going down the drain. Meditate. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, concentrating on each breath. Imagine you are breathing in self love and breathing out any self hatred and doubt. Welcome the peace and serenity. Picture yourself as you would like to be. Picture the future you would like to have. Keep these images in your head. This is called positive imaging, and it's not a new thing. It has been around for years. It is also called FAITH for those of you who believe in a Higher Power. Your thoughts and words color your world. You have the power to make it positive or negative. You breathe life into whatever you are focusing on. When you focus your energy on negativity, bad things are more likely to follow. And likewise, when you focus on the beauty around you, the beauty within you and the beauty in others (although they may not be "acting" so beautiful at the time), your world will be bright and light and full of positive energy.
Don't forget the roof!
Last, remember that self love is truly a gift that everyone has the power to attain. It is absolutely free. But the choice is yours. So instead of hiding who you are, start accepting and appreciating who you are.
Ever wonder why some people always have good things happen to them, seemingly without much effort? Ever wonder why some people never look worried about anything? Well, they have learned the secrets to truly being happy with themselves and their lives.
Job Well done. Now take a break. Want some lemonade?
Make sure to do these exercises every night until you truly believe that you have become the wonderful, beautiful being that you were intended to be. But if nothing else is taken away from this article, the one thing that I want to express is this: The people in your life who really should be there will love the real you, flaws and all. And as for everyone else, just keep smilin', keep shinin', and keep right on makin' lemonade!
You thirsty yet?