Self-love is a journey that most of us find ourselves on as we grow into who we truly are. When we are young, we learn from everyone around us and create our core beliefs, habits, and memories. Our own self-worth, the way that we talk to ourselves, and the way that we treat ourselves all stem from the programming that we receive. Self-love doesn’t mean that everything is perfect, filled with rainbows and butterflies; self-love starts with acceptance. It’s learning to fully accept and love yourself as you are right now, and also being okay with wanting to make changes in your life. Unconditional acceptance means embracing the “positive” and “negative” aspects, and loving yourself to continue pushing yourself towards growth. When you visualize yourself how you truly want to be, you will begin to embody that version of yourself.
Acceptance Doesn’t Mean Everything is Perfect
You were born worthy of love, period! This worthiness does not go away, shift, or change in any way just because you grow older. We grow up hearing a lot of negativity around us, going through difficult and stressful times, which results in an unbalanced nervous system where we feel out of alignment with ourselves, and thus, we struggle with feeling the love for ourselves.
This is where acceptance comes in. Self-love starts with acceptance of where we are right now, and releasing all judgements of ourselves. This doesn’t mean that you have to believe that everything is perfect. You are always allowed to want to make changes to your life, to grow, and to change things about yourself. We have to accept ourselves as we are in our own eyes, and let go of the judgments of others and of society, too.
Sometimes, this may end up distancing you from some of your current relationships, too. Your present reality and your future reality are built by the people you surround yourself with. Make sure you are focusing on relationships that will serve and support you in your journey to self-love.
Judgment and Shame
In today’s society, there is a massive amount of pressure. We hear of everyone else doing “better than us” or reaching goals that we have not reached yet ourselves, and we end up being way too hard on ourselves while playing a comparison game. We feel shame, we feel guilt, and a whole bunch of negative self-talk runs through our minds. We have to learn to let go of worrying about what everyone else is doing, where everyone else is on their journey, and stop comparing ourselves.
When we feel this judgment, shame, and negative self-talk come on, we have to learn how to support ourselves. This is a major part of our self-love journey. These negative feelings don’t mean there is something wrong with you, they are meant to be an alert or an alarm system that you are feeling off, and that you need something. Usually, we want to look outside of ourselves for some sort of reassurance or validation, but external validation is not living for ourselves. True self-love and acceptance will teach you to be there for yourself. Usually, you need some self-soothing, you need to tell yourself that everything will be okay, and to ask yourself what else it is that you need – and then take action to give it to yourself. How would you support a friend or a loved one? Why aren’t you showing yourself the same compassion? Being there for yourself and accepting yourself in the difficult moments is how you truly begin to love yourself. Remind yourself that you are HUMAN. Being perfect literally does not exist, so take off some of that pressure that you put on yourself!
Embody a Future Version of Yourself Now
What are your goals? What kind of lifestyle do you want to have and what are the daily habits that will get you there? Self-love and acceptance means honoring our truth and feeling fulfilled. Sometimes, this means we need to make major changes to our everyday habits in order to get there. Start by defining your dreams and goals, and then break it down into milestones, subtasks, and daily habits to make sure you are always working towards those goals. Adding new small habits into your daily life will slowly transform your life and the way that you feel about yourself.
When you visualize yourself as truly happy and full of self-love and self-acceptance, how does it feel? What does it look like? Identify and see yourself as this version of yourself: What does this person do? How do they spend their time? What kind of relationships are they fostering? Do they possess your definition of success? Then, create habits that allow you to truly feel like this person.
Remind yourself that some of your beliefs and habits are programmed into your subconscious mind – but you can rewire this. Decide with intention what your core beliefs are and make sure that you feel aligned with them.
I believe that there will always be ups and downs in the way that we feel about ourselves. There will be super positive days, but there may still be days that we feel badly, and that’s okay. That’s where acceptance and being non-judgmental toward ourselves comes in. Accept yourself where you are, and continue to love yourself and grow into where you want to be.