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I never truly understood why self love was so important until I was in my last relationship. Until I met my previous boyfriend, I gave everyone my everything. But I always felt empty in my friendships and relationships. I poured into them, and even though they were pouring into me, I felt as if I had a hole in my heart. I never figured out what that hole was, until I met my boyfriend. From the moment he met me, he knew that there was something missing in my life, he knew that hole was there; even though for years I was able to mask it from everyone else. It took him a while to actually figure out what was missing, and ever since he showed me that I needed to start loving myself first, my life was forever changed.
If you've read any of my stories, like He Hurt Me Because I Love Him, Voices, Crowds, or Is Meditation Healthy?, you've gotten a little glimpse into my life and how loving myself first has helped me tremendously.
These are the tips that have worked for me, and I hope they shed a light into your life.
1. Meeting Your Inner Self
Meeting that inner body of yours probably doesn't seem so important; however, it carries you, it knows you the most, its the reason why you live, and its why you do everything that you do. To me, your inner you is where your self-love journey should start.
It's honestly really easy to connect with your "soul" (so to say). If you read my story Is Meditation Healthy?, you know that it has practically saved me from my inner demons. Meditation is a great start—there's an app that I use every day, and right before I fall asleep. It gives you breathing exercises and little voice recordings to really help you connect with your mind, heart and spirit.
Reflecting on yourself is another great way to connect with that inner you. I find that a lot of problems come from things I've done or said, so I like to write down the thoughts in my head. After I do that, I find it's so easy for me to realize things that I need to change in my life to make it better.
Spending just a couple minutes each day doing these things will help you really enjoy and appreciate yourself even more.
2. Facing Your Inner Obstacles
You're only human, we all feel weak at times. People don't like facing their flaws; I didn't like admitting I had a problem. A lot of the time, these feelings of anxiety and insecurity are just things from the past, and are just waiting to be released from your mind, if you just give it a chance.
To begin this process, you need to really look inside. You can find this help through support groups or therapy, mind-body programs, or even massages.
3. Dealing with Old Wounds
People usually call this "advanced healing." As negative parts leave your mind and body, there are usually forms of resentment that stay with you. Beneath those scars and wounds, they still feel very fresh. It usually takes someone who's also been in a dark spot in their life. You can find this in therapy, a pastor, a close friend or a mentor.
No one can do this alone, its important to find someone who has been through something, who has sympathy for you and can understand pieces of what you're going through.
4. Forgiving the Past
Forgiveness isn't something you just should jump at. It takes time, and you should never be too quick to forgive something or someone. Forgiveness is something that you should only do when you truly can let it go. If you forgive without actually forgiving, you are only hurting yourself more.
Self-acceptance comes first—you're doing the best you can do from your own level of awareness. This can be quite a challenge when someone has hurt you deeply, but you can’t fully separate from wrongdoing until you accept that others are trapped inside a reality they can’t escape.
5. Accepting Where You Are Right Now
This is something that you also shouldn't just rush into. Your present moments aren't free from burdens, memories, and the wounds of your past. You have to address these feelings before you can look around, breath easy, and love where you're at.
A good start is to catch yourself when you have a bad memory and say, “I am not that person anymore.” For the truth is that you aren’t.
6. Forming Relationships Where You Feel Loved
If you've read my story He Broke Me, but I Love Him, then you can understand how I'm forever thankful for the relationship I'm in right now.
The path to unconditional love isn’t meant to be lonely. You should surround yourself with people who reflect the love you have for yourself.
Not everyone who is your friend, or even family, understands what you're going through and won't be there for you all the time. Without rejecting them, you have the right to find people who understand the path you’re walking and sympathize with it.