If you want to feel truly content in life, then it has to start with you. You have to love yourself enough to make your life a happy one.
“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy. This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs, and habits – anything that kept me small. My judgment called it disloyal. Now I see it as self-loving.” – Kim McMillen
I always had trouble with the word LOVE, especially with loving myself. My husband would say I had an icebox as a heart because I didn’t let anyone in. Why did I have trouble? Well, my parents didn’t seem to know what it was either so I never learned what it was or what it felt like.
What is love and how do I get it? I often asked. This is not a stab at my parents, although for many years I held onto this bitter anger towards them. I blamed them while feeling as though I was not good enough and didn’t deserve love. I realize now they did what they could with what they knew. However, it took me over 30 years to come to this realization.
You see, I was the type of kid who would bring home A’s all the time and it didn’t seem to be good enough. Now when I say “enough” I mean enough for me. I felt like I had to do more to gain what I hoped would be love. Even though I didn’t know what the hell it was! What I was looking for was not only love but acceptance. I can say this easily now because of all the work that I have done on myself and continue to do so.
So, what happens when you search for love and acceptance? Well, you find it in all the wrong places and all the wrong people. You try to please everyone so that you are liked by everyone while drowning yourself in unhealthy activities so you don’t think about it. I’m sure many can relate.
As I set out to find self-love I learned more and more about myself. So how did I do it? Below are a few steps that I took as I began my journey of self-love. Maybe it’ll help you.
Here Are 9 Steps For When You Want To Love Yourself Enough
I first had to accept that I needed to change. I had to accept that I often felt guilty when doing something for someone else and not because I wanted to. I had to accept that I needed to be needed.
I began to make connections as to why I behaved the way I did and how my past affected me. Most of all, I had to accept myself for who I was, not for who I thought I needed to be.
2. Allowing feelings to rise without judging them
I let myself feel my pain without judging it. This was hard! Immediately my “you’re weak if you cry” thoughts set in. I just didn’t. I never showed my emotions – unless you were one of the few privileged who saw it.
I allowed myself to feel and just understand my feelings. I didn’t stay there. That’s not good either, but, until I allowed myself to feel the pain, hurt, or anger, there was no moving forward.
3. Exploding through the victim mentality/Forgiving creators and those that trigger anger or resentment
This was probably one of the hardest. Not only did I need to forgive those that helped in the creation of my difficulty with loving myself, but I also had to forgive those that triggered it. Boy was that quite a few people!
For me, it was a matter of releasing the victim role and blaming everyone else and also giving myself the power to change. I didn’t necessarily go to each person and forgive them but I did release the emotional attachment held between me and this person.
“I forgive you, and as a result, I set myself free”. How empowering. How did I know this worked? Well, if I thought of the person and anger set in, I knew I still had work to do. If I thought of the person and I didn’t feel anything, I knew I was on the right track.
4. Unlearning current beliefs/challenging thoughts
I began to write a list of how I looked at myself and focused my attention on how I spoke about myself to others and how I spoke to myself. I made quite a few discoveries here. I realized that I talked about myself so negatively. How could I begin to love myself if I continued to repeat negative comments about myself? These thoughts were deep-rooted within my subconscious.
As I listened closely, I caught myself and was able to challenge those negative beliefs. “I’m not good enough, I’m not worth it”, “I need to be thinner or look a certain way”, or “I have to make a certain amount of money”. My overused belief was “once I finish this, then I can take care of myself”.