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Sunday, 9 February 2014

How To: Love Yourself

Whenever I think of February, I think of love. Possibly because the only major "holiday" is Valentine's Day but February just reminds me of hearts and flowers and chocolates and pink and red and candy and ,most importantly, LOVE!

First of all, I'd just like to point out that when I say "love yourself" I don't mean in that way you cheeky minxes, although you can if you want to.

I think in life, it's so important to learn how to love yourself before you can love others. It's not selfish nor is it shallow in any way, shape or form. To be able to truly love someone and be in a relationship with them (whether it's romantic or not) you need to be able to love who you are so that you can love them as openly and as honestly as possible. That way, you'll be able to build a stronger relationship with this person and will benefit you in the long run.   

So how do we learn to love ourselves?

One of the most important things to do first is to let go of your past and to forgive yourself for your mistakes.   I personally have done some things that I haven't exactly been proud of (like maybe talking about someone behind their back, arguing with friends/family or nit-picking all the little things about someone etc.) and they haven't exactly been the highlights of my life.

But these things are in the past and I can't do anything about it - until time travel has been invented. So I need to now accept the fact that I've made these mistakes and I'm going to forgive myself for them. I'm only human and making mistakes is just a part of life (also I was quite young and immature back then). The most important thing is that you learn from them and you grow as a person. I also think that it's important to be honest with yourself when admitting your mistakes - it's only you who's going to know them so no one's going to judge you.

Following on from that, don't be afraid that people will judge you.  I know this one is difficult especially with our changing society and whatnot, but one of the things that holds us back in life from being truly happy and caring for ourselves is the pressure to be like the rest of them. Don't think "Oh I have to make myself unique" because there's only one you and that in itself makes you unique already! It's a struggle not to conform to the rest of the world and what they do and what they don't, but sometimes what "they're" doing, won't make you happy. Remember that it's not always possible for everyone to like you. So you need to learn to accept that you like and enjoy doing different things from everyone else. Also what's important to accept is who you are which leads me onto my next point.

Beauty is a slightly difficult topic to talk about because it's a little controversial but to love yourself, accept and appreciate your own beauty.  I don't just mean if you have nice eyes and a cute nose, but the beauty that is inside you. That applies to two things:

1) Your working body and the functioning limbs you have been blessed with and
2) Your positive thoughts and feelings.

To accept this, think about yourself and try to think beyond your outside appearance. Think about all those times you encouraged everyone to give it a go or those times you just gave hugs to people because they were having a bad day or all the moments you were able to help people get back up again and try. Think about all the positivity you try to spread to people. That is your inner beauty and treasure that in the hopes that it will never fade.

 Every now and again, no matter how independent you are, you just need a friend and someone who will make this world seem not so lonely. And to love yourself, be that person to someone else and go  spread some friendliness. By spreading this, you'll make them feel better and in turn you'll feel better for making them happier and hopefully they'll pass on this feeling to someone else. In an interview with Pastor Matthew Barnett (link here) he said a quote which really made me think about how our actions can affect others. And he said:

"Look for the kid who feels forsaken or unloved and be a friend to them."

When you were younger, you probably heard the phrase "Treat others the way you want to be treated" a thousand and one times but this is completely true. When you treat others in a way that makes them feel special and cared for, they will return the favour to you. I know this with some of my friends who have given me the most heartfelt gifts and letters and in return, to reciprocate this love, I will do the same for them. Not because I feel obligated to return the gesture, but I want them to feel as elated and as loved as they made me feel.

Remember: friendship costs nothing. It's worth more than words can express but there's no price on friendship.

The other thing to remember when learning to love yourself, is to do things that you love. I'll be touching on this in more detail in another post later this month, but spend time with things you like. Whether that's watching TV or going for walks or talking with your best friend or listening to music, whatever it is, do it and you'll feel a lot happier and a lot more content with yourself.

An obvious one to remember, but I'll just slip in here, is to take care of your body. This doesn't have to be working out for 5 hours every other day or anything crazy, but simple things like getting more sleep, getting some fresh air each day, eating right, drinking water, stretching in the mornings - it's important to take care of the body you've been given.

The final method of loving yourself that I will share today, is to not compare yourself to other people. Everyone is different and everyone does things differently. People show love, dedication, hard work, success, friendship in various ways and you shouldn't compare yourself own ways to theirs. The only person you should compare yourself to, is the person you were yesterday. (I feel like that's a Tumblr quote waiting to happen.)

You know yourself better than anyone and only you will know how to improve and be the best version of you.

♥ Jess ♥

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