Today's post is part of Find the Good February, a month dedicated to finding the good in your life (and in yourself!). Each week features a unique theme, and this week's theme is SELF.
Self-love is absolutely vital for living a positive, present life. It is the foundation for all of your relationships (and relationships are a big part of life!), which is why it's so important to pay attention to, and cultivate a good relationship with, yourself. Self-love it's about adoring every single aspect of yourself. We all have things we'd like to change -- and that's a good thing. If we didn't want to change anything, we'd be living pretty stagnant, boring lives. That being said, self-love is about focusing on the good things about yourself. It's about turning your attention to your strong traits more often than not and cultivating an acceptance for the things you don't particularly enjoy about yourself.
As you probably know, this is much easier said than done. We all, to some degree, struggle with loving ourselves. There's a lot of pressure (particularly with the rise of social media) to be perfect, to appear as if you have it together all the time. (News flash: no one has it together all the time -- not even in the picture-perfect celebrities we see on the covers of beautifully glossy magazines.) But, as hard as it can be sometimes, self-love is so, so important. Here are some of the best ways to find the good in yourself:
Unfortunately, it's sometimes easier to be hard on yourself than it is to lift yourself up, but if you want to love yourself, you have to change your mindset. You have to believe that you're worthy of love, and you have to actively seek out good things about who you are. Changing the way you think about yourself is the first (and most essential!) step to finding the good in yourself.
APPRECIATE THE PAST.
One of the hardest parts of self-love is not beating yourself up for things you've done, said, been in the past. We all have things we're not super proud of, but clinging to these things can get in the way of finding the good in the present moment. If you struggle to embrace your past, remember this: everything that happened in the past made you the person you am today. That, in itself, is a reason to appreciate it.
GIVE IN TO YOUR DESIRES.
Of course, not every desire should be indulged, but, when it comes to finding the good in yourself, it's important to treat yourself to the things in life that make you happy. Consider what inspires you, delights you, or fills you with excitement. These are the things you love, and recognizing these can give you insight into who you are -- and show you what you deserve to indulge in.
SET YOUR GUILT FREE.
We all make mistakes -- that's a part of life. Looking at them (and overanalyzing them) can really make you cringe, so why dabble in that negativity? Instead, recognize what you've done wrong, resolve to change your behavior in the future, and move forward with the knowledge that you are a self-aware and thoughtful person. Guilt is a huge waste of time, and the less of it you have in your life, the more self-love you'll cultivate. (Another way to avoid guilt: ask yourself before you do something you're unsure about, "Will I feel guilty about this later?")
DO WHAT YOU LOVE.
Most of us are passionate about something. We all have things that really matter to us -- whether it be a cause, a job, a loved one, or a hobby. Whatever it is that really excites you, focus on that. Spend time doing it as often as you can, and try to be really mindful when you're enjoying it. One of the best ways you can learn to love yourself is to zero in on the things that you really, truly love.
BE PROUD OF YOURSELF.
It can be tough to be proud of yourself without feeling as if you're boastful, but it's okay to remind yourself how awesome you are every once and awhile. It's okay to admit that you did an amazing job on something or accomplished something you never thought you could. When you celebrate yourself and your achievements, you're focusing on the really good things about you -- and that's going to make self-love a lot easier!
LISTEN TO YOURSELF.
Have you ever ignored your instincts or avoiding following a gut reaction? Self-love means not doing that. It means believing that, deep down, you know what's right for you -- and you should follow your own advice. Recognize that your thoughts and feelings are valid (even if they make no sense to anyone else!) and be brave enough to listen to them. You know, better than anyone else, what you need in your life. Never forget that.
BE OBSESSIVELY GRATEFUL.
As Danielle LaPorte said: "Be obsessively grateful." Be grateful not only for the things, people, and experiences around you, but for every inch of yourself. Be grateful for your body, which allows you to function. Be grateful for your mind, which allows you to even contemplate the idea of self-love. And be grateful for all of the goodness you bring into the world. If you want to find the good in yourself, direct your attention to what you have, not what you lack.
Finding the good in yourself can be an uphill battle at times, but never, ever give up on the idea of self-love. When you love, appreciate, and respect who you are, everything in your life changes for the better. Your relationships are stronger. Your work is more brilliant. You feel braver and better and more in love with simply being you, just as you are.
Finding the good in yourself is a brave act of self-love and self-awareness. Want to empower yourself with some more serious self-love and acceptance? Start loving yourself (or increase the love you already have for yourself!) with the inspiration and motivation found in Loving Your Self: An Empowering Workbook for Increasing Self-Love. Filled with uplifting encouragement, thought-provoking questions, and engaging exercises, Loving Your Self is an essential tool for mastering the art of self-love. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your own copy here.