Now that we have an understanding of what self love is, what it entails and how to begin the journey, we arrive at point of needing to further develop our understanding of how to foster, nurture and maintain those feelings and attitudes of self acceptance and understanding.
So how do we look to nurture and maintain our new attitude and mindset?
Self development of any kind can be confronting - for in order to improve, we must begin by accepting that we have elements within us that require improvement.
To add further degrees of difficulty to this notion, it is often not the issues themselves that require attention, but our perception of why the issues exist in the first place.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? When you speak to yourself, what do you say?
Very rarely will the answer to this be positive. Do we dismiss all the good in our character, the loyalty we have to those closest to us, the type of person we aim to be, in lieu of our perception of our current physical condition?
Unfortunately, many of you are probably beginning to get a little uncomfortable just reading this.
Having areas that require focus and attention to improve on (our weaknesses) is not as much of an issue as may be our attitude towards accepting that we are not perfect. It may seem simple to pass off, but often those elements that require the most work to correct have normally been abandoned for long periods of time, often due to the uncomfortable nature of needing to confront that they exist at all.
At this stage, we have accepted that cultivating a mentality of self love is not something that occurs over night, nor is it something that is simply achieved and ticked of a list of ‘to-do’s’.
Self-love, like any other skill, takes a level of constant frequent practice, regular attention and plenty of patience.
We undoubtedly see what we constantly look for. When you begin, inherently you will see a lot of what you do not like. Stop looking for it. Instead, begin to mentally recite to yourself the things that you do like. In the beginning, it will be challenging and confronting, but the more you practice, the more you will begin to see and the more you begin to see, the more you will begin to believe.
It might seem like a trivial first step, but this example underlines both the importance and difficulty associated with coming to love the person you are. Every action you undertake is derived from the narrative you believe about yourself. If that narrative is born in the negative, then this is likely to hinder any further action you look to take in any direction (or not take, most likely). But once you address this underlying issue, you’ll realize that being content and proud within yourself is worth far more than any external validation or criticism from strangers - your opinion of you is what matters the most. Once this becomes habit, you inherently condition yourself to strive forward and look for more opportunities to further your continued development on your journey to achieving self-love.
But it all starts with that first uncomfortable step.
For those of you who find it a struggle to begin down this journey, perhaps it’s time to take some time, look into the mirror and ask yourself why? What are you most afraid of? What could you fear so badly that you dare not like the person you are, or feel yourself worthy of your own love?
If these questions are too confronting to start, simply begin by writing down three attributes about who you are as a person (not physical attributes) that you like most. Maybe you have a killer sense of humour. Maybe your friends regularly confide in you. Maybe your dog gets crazy excited when you come home from work. It’s not important how big or small, relevant or irrelevant you may feel these attributes are, but that you recognize they are there.
Convincing yourself that you’re worth the time and effort to heal, repair and love is the first step forward to achieving anything that could be worth doing in your life. People will come and go. Some will agree with you, some won’t. All of that pales in comparison to the constant practice of holding yourself in high opinion and truly believing in the direction of your journey.