When you stand in front of a mirror, naked, do you completely accept yourself? Or, do you hear this little voice in your head, with all kind of negative thoughts about your hair, your belly, your wrinkles or your body fat? Be honest… Accepting and loving ourselves is one of the most difficult things to do, especially in a society where being critical about ourselves is encouraged because it supposedly helps us to become “better” and more desirable, right?
But, what if being critical and not accepting and loving ourselves is the single biggest obstacle for having a happy and fulfilled life, with balanced and harmonious relationships?
Why self love and acceptance is important
When you listen to various channels, but also to relationship counselors, it is striking to hear them all talk about the importance of loving and accepting ourselves. Let’s listen to one example, with Abraham-Hicks.
How do you feel after this video clip? What do you think about loving and accepting yourself now? Do you feel it is important for you too?
5 Ways to start loving and accepting yourself more
The big question is of course how can you change from being a self critical person into being more loving and appreciative of yourself. Let me share with you some practices that helped me a lot.
1) Let go of critical or judgmental thoughts
We all have that little voice that is constantly judging and criticizing, making us feel guilty, unworthy or ashamed of ourselves. Sometimes it appears out of nowhere or it is triggered by others. The thing I learned is not to fight or try to control it, but to observe it and not to identify with it.
With this detached attitude you will find that your negative thoughts become less and less powerful because they lose their hold over you. Just practice this and don’t get upset if in the beginning it is a little difficult to stay detached from your thoughts. You will notice after some time that you get better and better at this.
2) Make a list of things you appreciate about yourself
It is very easy to find the imperfections in ourselves, but take some time to make a list, on paper or mentally, of all the things that you like about yourself. It could be that you have beautiful eyes or hands, that you are good at shopping or cleaning the house or your car. Find anything that you like and appreciate about yourself.
3) Acknowledge the good aspects in yourself
During the day, become aware of the moments that you do something that gives you a good feeling about yourself. Perhaps you helped someone with directions, or you kept the door open for someone, or you just smiled at a person and they smiled back, it could be anything, but acknowledge those moments when you feel good about yourself.
4) Take more time for yourself
Often we are so busy, e.g. with our family, our work, that we forget to spend time with ourselves. Perhaps you can start in the morning with some meditation, breathing, exercising or just reading the newspaper. Or, at work you can go out for a walk by yourself during lunch time. It is not really important what you do as long as you take some time to be with yourself. And, if you are really strapped for time, it could be as simple as taking a few conscious breaths while you sit on the train or stand in a row at the supermarket checkout, and be fully aware of that moment with yourself.
5) Allow yourself to relax and enjoy more
During the day, create more moments to relax and enjoy yourself. It could start with simple things like enjoying a beautiful flower or bird that you see, or to treat yourself with an ice-cream or a piece of chocolate. Or, when you get your coffee to consciously smell and enjoy it (even if it is American coffee; sorry I couldn’t resist this one:). Once you get into the habit of enjoying and relaxing yourself more consciously, you will find that loving and accepting yourself becomes much more easy as well.
Perhaps you have some ideas too that will help to accept and love ourselves more, so please share your thoughts here.