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How To Develop Authentic Self-Love In 5 Steps


“How You Love Yourself Is How You Teach Others To Love You.” Rupi Kaur




 

In this blog, you will learn the 5 steps to develop self-love and how you will express love for yourself that was taught to me by one of my formators in the convent.


Many years ago, I struggled with very low self-esteem. I didn't see myself as valuable, so I tried to do "good" to gain approval from other people. I decided to study hard to gain approval from my parents. I went to church almost every day to be appreciated by others. I said "yes" even on things I did not like to please people. It was also hard to express my opinion and feelings because I thought who will listen to me? I am nothing.


Being a people-pleaser made many of my neighbors think that I was so kind, and my parents are so lucky that I am their daughter. One of my neighbors told me how she wished that her daughter was like me. My sister even looked up to me.


I tried to live up with the expectation of being "good." But deep inside, I felt so tired.


There was also a growing feeling of emptiness that I described as an "abyss" within me. I did not know where it ends."


When I look at myself in the mirror, what I saw was a person, I despised. I criticized my nose, face, and other parts of my body. I compared myself to other people. Most of that time, I saw myself in the losing end.

I did not know why I feel that way. I tried to find answers to my questions that led to my fascination with Psychology.


My search to know the reasons for my deep feeling of emptiness led me to the convent. I joined an apostolic congregation. There, I DISCOVERED MYSELF, MY VALUE, and MY WORTH. I also learned the root cause of that deep feeling of emptiness. As I went through my healing process, I experienced the importance and the profound effect of self-love.


WHAT IS SELF-LOVE, and WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?


SELF-LOVE means accepting yourself as who you are. Accept everything about you, your strengths, weaknesses, limitations, talents, and skills. Loving yourself is giving time to listen to yourself and expressing your authentic self.


Self-love is not selfish. It is not self-absorbed, self-centered, or self-obsessed.


Self-love is the foundation if you want to serve authentically and to love other people.


Jesus told His disciples, 'Love your neighbor as yourself." Mark 12:31


You cannot love others if you don't love your self. You cannot give yourself to others if you don't have a self to give.


Experiencing the real love of self makes you become more compassionate and accepting of other people's limitations and weaknesses.


When I started to love and establish a great relationship with myself, I feel my world expands, and my perspective of events and people around me has changed. As I become gentler of myself, I become more gentle with other people.

Also, I express kindness and goodness, not because of the motives to be loved and wanted. I feel the freedom and the joy of serving and showing my care for other people because I give myself love.


I also learn to set boundaries. I don't have to please other people to receive love because I give it to myself.


HOW TO DEVELOP and EXPRESS LOVE TO SELF?


One of my formators in the convent taught me the importance of self-love. She told me that love begins with yourself. You cannot love others if you don't love your self. Then, she guided me to the process so I can love myself.


5 steps to develop self-love and how you will express love for yourself


1. Know yourself.

Understand the root cause of your feelings of being unwanted, unloved, not good enough, and other related beliefs that led you to do things that are not beneficial for your wellbeing. The journey to knowing yourself may be a long, bumpy, winding, and painful journey, but it is worth it. Once you know yourself, it is easier for you to take charge of your life.


2. Accept yourself as you are—the beautiful and the ugly.

Accept that you are not perfect. You make mistakes. Be gentle with yourself when things don't go the way you want it to be. Accept your brokenness and need to be remolded so you will become the person you are meant to be.


My formator taught me a song that I sing every time I don't feel ok with myself, especially at the beginning of my journey to self-love. I don't know who is the original singer or composer of this song. But I want to share the particular lyrics that are significant in my journey.


"I love myself just the way I am; there's nothing I need to change. I am always the perfect me; there is nothing to rearrange. I am beautiful and capable of being the best me I can, and I love myself just the way I am."


3. Forgive yourself and Others

Healing the pain from your past starts with FORGIVENESS. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes, when you screw up, when you do not meet the standard that you and others set for yourself.


Once you learn to be compassionate and to forgive yourself, it is easy to forgive others. Forgiving others is easier when you love yourself.


4. Nourish your Body, Mind, and Soul

Eat nutritious food that is good for you. Do the activities that will move your body that help release the feel-good hormones. Listen to affirming words. Spend more time with events and people who make you happy. Be grateful for what you have.

Be connected with your inner self and with God through prayer and meditation.

If you love yourself, you will not do anything that will destroy you. Do not let garbage thoughts and words get into your mind. Guard your mind by being mindful of what you are putting into it.


5. Self-affirmation.

Sometimes low moments in our life will happen. During this time, we may revert to the old usual self and beliefs of not being worthy, unlovable, or whatever that might be. Self-affirmation will help you get back to your new-found self. Keep practicing self-affirmation, especially when you just started on the journey. Write self-affirmation and read it in the evening before you sleep, in the morning, and the middle of the day.


Self-love is vital for our success and well being.


Spend time with yourself. Be kind to yourself; you deserve it.


One of the practices I do to express my love to myself is hugging and talking to myself. It is like talking to your best and most trusted friend. I will tell myself my dreams, my pain, things that make me happy. The topics are endless. It makes you feel calm and happy. It also makes me feel supported when I am sad. Try this and let me know in the comment section your experience with this exercise.


Do not wait for others to give you the love that you need. Give it to yourself. When you start treating yourself with respect and kindness, you will notice that many people will begin to treat you that way.


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