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There is a reason we are told to put our oxygen mask on before those of our children during the safety briefing at the start of each flight. We are no good to the ones we love if we do not love ourselves first. We become a hollow shell of humanity and others feel our lack of self-love. Many people walk around armored up while stock-piling guilt and shame. We are good at disguising our true reality.
Loving ourselves is critical to long-term, sustained happiness. We must have a foundation in order to be the best for those we love and weather the inevitable storms of life. Without self-worth, we become vulnerable to changes in life. Palm trees build a powerful core and root system to weather hurricanes and erosion caused by the sea. We must do the same to make our best self. Here is how you can learn to love yourself.
- We cannot pour from an empty cup. Make filling your cup the top priority each day. This can be exercise, prayer, meditation, sleep, or diet. Do what makes you a stronger and better you. It may seem selfish to put yourself first but think of it this way. A mother lion cannot care for her cubs by hunting if she is not strong and healthy. It is nature’s requirement that she take care of herself in order for her babies to have a chance to survive.
- Stop being your own worst enemy. The negative voice in our heads can be brutal. I am not smart enough, attractive enough, or successful enough. How often do we compare our self-worth to others? Well guess what, they are experiencing the same negative thoughts. Perfection is the unicorn. Focus on the positive in your life and be thankful for what you have.
- Give yourself the credit you deserve. You are kind, you are smart, and you are important. Little things matter. Focus on all the small things in life that make you happy. Healthy children and a clean, safe place to sleep are beautiful things we take for granted.
- Focus on feeling healthy. Little things like taking a daily walk and eating better are scientifically proven to make us happier. A fresh haircut or new shoes may seem insignificant, yet they can have a powerful impact on our day. Go to bed early and you will wake early feeling more refreshed and energized.
- Stop worrying about things you cannot control. Our mind is designed to obsess over fear and worry as a survival mechanism. Every pain is not cancer. Some people worry when things are going well because they expect things must be about to go badly. Enjoy the now and let the future come as it will.
- Learn to love alone time. Being alone and being lonely are not the same. Take a bubble bath, watch an old movie, read a book, or just listen to music. You know what makes you feel better. Make time to do it.
- Embrace your differences. Uniqueness is a gift we can learn to appreciate. We often consider a difference as a negative. Here is a little secret. They are never as bad as we see them in our own mind.
- Have boundaries in your life and enforce them. Keep your daily to-do list short and realistic. Tell people when they hurt you. Remember, clear is kind. Unclear is unkind. Don’t ignore your feelings by hiding them. Stock-piling our emotions can result in self-blame. Practice saying no.
- Be yourself. As a public speaker and consultant from the great state of Texas, I have been hard on myself in the past about my accent. Well guess what, the Texas drawl was recently voted the sexiest accent in America.
The voice in your head is far more influential than the voice of others. Your self-talk is critical. Write these nine things down and stick them on your morning mirror. Read them every morning when you are brushing your teeth. You will start each day with positive affirmation. Oh yeah, one more thing. Make your bed!