Learning to love yourself isn't easy -- especially if you're a survivor of childhood abuse or neglect. But there are things you can do to boost your self-love.
Ask for a list of things people like about you.
Sometimes it can be hard to find things we like or love about ourselves. So -- ask other people to tell you all the things they like about you. Ask a friend, a lover, a therapist. This isn't a replacement for your own love; it's a first step in learning to love yourself. You may need to hear the things other people like about you before you can value them in youself.
If hearing what people like about you is hard, ask your friends to write it down for you, or leave it on your voice mail, so you can read/listen to it over and over. Go back to it as many times as you can. Even if you don't believe that someone can like a particular thing about you, or you don't believe it exists, trust that your friend does see it and value it.
When you start to hear critical voices inside your head, go back to those things your friend said/wrote about you, and remember that you are loved.
Make a list of the things you like about yourself.
Make a list of all the things you like about yourself. Be as honest as you can. Modesty doesn't help you here; neither do old critical messages. If you're having trouble finding things you value about yourself, think about the things you value and love in your friends, then see if those things exist inside you, too. Most often, they do.
Fill a special notebook with your list, or create a set of cards. Make the notebook as beautiful as you can -- make it something that makes you feel good when you look at it. Then open it up and look at it any time you're feeling down or critical about yourself, or any time anyone says anything that triggers your criticalness of yourself.
Look at this good-things-about-yourself book as frequently as you can. It may seem silly, but repetition really does make a difference. (Just think of the impact one critical phrase said by a parent over and over to a child can have. It really does have an effect! Now try to give that child inside you at least one truly loving phrase about yourself that he can hold on to.)
Make it part of your daily routine to praise something in yourself or think about something you like about yourself.
In this society, we're taught that praising ourselves is selfish and wrong. But praising ourselves for things that are good about ourselves only helps us. It is a healing thing to do, something that nourishes our self-worth. When we love ourselves, we're happier and more true to our own selves...and that happiness and ability to be free spreads to others.
So...try to think of something that you like about yourself, or something that you did today that made you or someone else feel good -- no matter how small it may seem. Give yourself the kind of warm praise that you would a friend.
Love yourself like a friend
close your eyes and think of a person you deeply love and trust, and who you know loves you-- a friend, a lover. Think about all the things you love and appreciate about them. Notice how that love feels inside you, how it makes you feel good.
Now turn it around the other way -- be your friend, feeling that same deep love for you. Trust in their love for you, and just feel it. Let yourself see your self through gentle eyes, with compassion and love the way your friend does, even if you can only do it for a moment. Now let yourself receive that love, the love you have as a friend to yourself. Feel the warmth move through you. Remember how it feels, and come back to that love another time.
Make a note every time someone says something nice about you.
Every time someone tells you something about yourself that makes you feel good, write it down or make a mental note and jot it down later. When you get home, put that note in a container of "good things about me." Decorate the container...
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