Treat others the way you want to be treated. People say this phrase to encourage kind behavior. Christians have a similar phrase in “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Both phrases kindness and love towards others. They also imply that you love and treat yourself kindly. Sometimes that is just not true. Sometimes you need to love yourself like you love others.
There are times, I struggle with loving myself. I do not know if that is just a side effect of depression or something else. Still, I will find that I treat others better than others. I am more likely to help and do much for others if they ask than I would do for myself. I realized that sometimes I just don’t love myself. So I decided to change around the phrase and learn to love myself as I love others. In other words, treat myself as I treat others.
Learning to Love Yourself
Though it sounds weird, we need to learn to love ourselves. The world talks and shows pictures of its definition of perfection. It is unlikely you or I can reach those standards without photoshop. In fact, most of the pictures probably received some photoshop to create that perfection. Anyways, this bombardment of perfection to our imperfection grates on you. It becomes easier to see the flaws and start hating yourself. Instead, we need to learn to love ourselves.
Let’s start with positive talk. Positive talk can sound silly in your mind and in practice, but it helps. Positive talk means when you look in the mirror and see the flaws you can do two different things. One you can notice a positive aspect of yourself and mention it out loud to yourself. Two, see a flaw and remind yourself you are working on it. Also, notice how far or how well you have done.
Also, part of the positive talk is giving yourself compliments. Realize how well you have done on something like cleaning the house, writing, reading, or even just getting out of bed. Then compliment yourself, out loud.
Yes, I am encouraging you to talk to yourself. In our heads, it is easy to ignore positive talk. When we use our mouth to say the words it sticks better. If you continue to do that, then you will start to notice the positive more and the negative will not hurt as much.
Another way to help learn to love yourself is by using a love board. Ever heard of it? Me neither. I made it up about a year ago as I realized I needed to help love myself more. A love board is similar to a vision board, only instead of focusing on goals it focuses on positive things about you.
With a love board, you use pictures, phrases, and sayings to remind yourself that you deserve love. You can include compliments about yourself. Also, you may want to add phrases that emphasize your importance or that difference from others is good. Try putting on reminders of the positive parts of yourself.
Once created, like a vision board, put it someplace you will see it often. These phrases, compliments, reminders will eventually start working their way into your brain. As you feel better about yourself, you will start loving yourself more. Sometimes the love board may seem stupid, but keep it up and remember that you deserve to love yourself.
Give Yourself a Break
Finally, the last piece of advice I will give to learn to love yourself is to give yourself a break. While you need to take time for yourself, I’m talking about a break mentally. We all have ideas and thoughts about how we should act, look, behave, and so on. Often we fall short of these ideas. When that happens we attack ourselves for not acting like the person in our head. Stop that.
Give yourself a break. Take time to realize where you have succeeded. Sometimes we need to understand that we may not accomplish everything but we still did well. Instead of attacking and start the negativity and hate, take a breath, and move on to positive talk. We don’t expect others to be perfect. We give them breaks when they struggle. Do that for yourself. Give yourself a break.
Loving yourself is not easy. It becomes an uphill battle. You have to watch carefully to stop the hating. Through these three ways of positive talk, love board, and giving ourselves a break we can start the trip. Even with a lot of pitfalls, keep trying and eventually, it will get a little easier. It has for me and it will for you.