How to love yourself?

A lady who is not loving herself and is depressed

When surrounded by negative happenings in our life it is very easy to be disheartened and to wonder how you fit in the scheme of things. You may find yourself blurting out, “I curse the day I was born!” "Nothing I do is ever good enough”.

Sometimes, though, these feelings of lack of confidence in yourself are self-inflicted.

This is because they are caused by cultivating certain incorrect thoughts which perpetuate feelings of self-hate or bashing.

We will discuss a few of them and why it is important to avoid them in order to maintain a reasonable measure of self-esteem.

1. Avoid being too good


Do feel that in order to for you to be happy, then whatever you set out to do has to succeed no matter what and if not on the top then you are a failure.

Then you have become a perfectionist. How does one become one? The book Perfectionism—What’s Bad About Being Too Good? Gives some insight:

Perfectionism isn't a disease; you didn't catch it. Perfectionism isn't hereditary; you weren't born with it. So how did you end up being a perfectionist? Some experts believe that perfectionism develops during childhood. Family pressure, self-pressure, social pressure, media pressure, and unrealistic role models combine in a Big Push that propels some people into a lifetime of worrying, feeling guilty and working too hard.

Trying to be perfect is a recipe for destroying your self-esteem. If you always shoot for the stars and you will always fall short and suffer bitter disappointments.

So set goals that are attainable. Be modest with your expectations, that is plan for the worst and hope for the best.

Since, you cannot control all factors that affecting your decisions, be willing to change your goals and expectations when circumstance demand so.

Then you always have a reason to be proud of yourself even in the face of obstacles.

2. Avoid having a distorted self-image of your body


Grammy-winning American singer-songwriter Fiona Apple had this to say about her body:

I've gone through stages where I hate my body so much that I won't even wear shorts and a bra in my house because if I pass a mirror, that's the end of my day. 

Why do many of us nowadays have these feelings?

Because of the unrelenting publicity in our newspapers and magazines and television advertising to be thin, thin, thin.

However, comparing yourself to the models can have a very strong and negative impact.

A distorted body image can cause someone to become overly concerned about something that is not really a problem.

“Most people with eating disorders have a distorted self-image,” says the book Changing Bodies, Changing Lives. “They do not perceive their bodies realistically and are highly judgmental about themselves, especially their appearance.” 

Therefore, avoid being too judgmental about your body size or weight as this may be a product of your genetic makeup.

This is not to say that there is nothing you can do to improve your looks.

Perhaps you merely need to be more careful about what styles and colors you wear; selecting clothes and colors that downplay what you consider to be flaws and that accentuate your assets.

If you have symptoms of anorexia or bulimia you will need to get professional help.

3. Know your true value


Remember that the true value of you as a person does not depend on what others think of you. C. JoyBell C. famed for her philosophical writings and speeches had this to say:

Life is too short to waste any amount of time on wondering what other people think about you. In the first place, if they had better things going on in their lives, they wouldn't have the time to sit around and talk about you. What's important to me is not others' opinions of me, but what's important to me is my opinion of myself.

Think about this, how would a Stone Age woman react if his man gave her a diamond ring? “Aha! A Piece of rock, anything else”. So why do our modern women then have this affinity for a diamond ring anyway?

They are beautiful—no doubt about that! But perhaps the most important factor that determines their value is advertising.

Advertising has reinforced in us the perception that there is a connection between diamond rings with true love and romance.

We all know that a diamond ring cannot guarantee that our love will last even a day after walking down the alley of marriage.

The same holds for opinions of others about you or being popular, they cannot guarantee your happiness.

Only your own perception about yourself can. Hence, your true value is the value you attach to yourself, nobody can rob this from without your consent.

4. Accept that not all people will like you


The fact that you are perhaps overlooked from time to time does not mean that people feel animosity toward you.

It is just that they do not share in your beliefs and aspirations.

Trying to manipulate everyone to love you is an exercise in futility as Dr.Theodore I. Rubin observes:

Sadly, nobody is universally liked all the time and no affectation, pretense, or twisting oneself in a pretzel produces a bit more love. Some people like us, some don’t. In any case, most people can't stand phony manipulations for love; nor does the manipulator like himself.

It is therefore a bitter fact of life that some people simply will not like you. This somewhat unsettling truth is much harder to accept, though, if you do not like yourself.

When self-esteem is lacking, it can be devastating to find that someone does not like you.

Feeling insecure, you may even make fruitless efforts to gain the approval of everyone.

However, be yourself and you will find your true friends who you can share your beliefs and aspirations with.

5. Learn how to deal with criticism


Do you feel that if somebody disagrees with you or corrects you, it means he doesn't like you? As irritating as this may be at times, such criticism is not necessarily a bad thing.

All of us need correction from time to time; constructive criticism can be healthy and beneficial. Don't focus on the supposed injustice of what is being said, that will just get you angrier.

Focus, instead, on the areas in which you need to improve.

On the other hand, it can be quite harder to deal with someone unleashing a storm of criticism and ego-crunching insults.

Such verbal abuse can indeed shatter one’s self-esteem. Nevertheless, there are things you can do to make the situation more tolerable.

Talking back or, worse yet, screaming back usually succeeds only in escalating the conflict. Responding to rage with kindness is not easy, but it may very well put out the fires of contention.

However, after the confrontations you may still need to spend more time with people who are positive and who values you to help boost your self-esteem.

6. Do not take yourself or situations too seriously


Do you attach too much significance to minor errors or embarrassing situations? Then, this can cause you to be apprehensive about yourself and your abilities.

Embarrassing situations do occur from time to time in spite of your most strenuous efforts to avoid them.

Suffering embarrassment is thus an unavoidable part of life. How can you deal with them?

Have you ever tried to ice-skate?  If so, you probably slipped and fell on the ice the first time out—probably more than once.

But did that keep you from going back onto the ice? Not if you wanted to become a good skater.

If you have therefore embarrassed yourself in some way, do you ‘stay down on the ice’ by withdrawing, avoiding people and certain situations because you fear getting embarrassed again.

Laugh it off and move on with your life.

What about adversities such as illness, disability?

One patient who was undergoing various surgeries for his brain tumor, to the amazement of his doctor’s maintained a good sense of humor by joking with the doctors and nurses.

In fact one doctor told him:

If I were in your shoes, I would have the curtain closed, cover my head, and tell everyone to get lost.

In hopes of utilizing this healing power of humor, some hospitals have even set up so-called laughter rooms in which patients can play games, watch funny movies, listen to jokes, or simply visit with relatives in a more cheerful atmosphere.

So, can you put humor to work yourself? It will help you endure any adversity that may undermine your self-worth and dignity.

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