Loving yourself and being good enough are two concepts that are extremely difficult to define, let alone define in a precise manner. Yet these two notions are frequently subject of discussion in therapy, and we all put a lot of energy, thought and effort in trying to define them and implement them in practice. So, how should we go about it?
A good starting point, perhaps, could be to do a short, 15-minute, meditation with the intention of finding out what is it that we so dislike about ourselves. Therefore, sit down in a comfortable position, take a deep breath in and out, several times, then let the thoughts come up. Don't try to analyze them or fight them, just observe them and notice the sensations in your body. It's quite likely that you will feel shame, disgust, even hatred towards yourself, quite possibly for no particular reason. If you are one of those people who love themselves and have zero problems with negative self-image, then this exercise will not have the same effect on you. But to go back to the negative feelings. This is where you should start your journey of finding self-love.
Let's try to take it step by step.
Step no. 1: do the brief meditation exercise, which you can, of course, prolong for as long as you want to. Acknowledging that you dislike yourself is a huge step forward. Without it, it is difficult to get to the place of self-love.
Step no. 2: step in front of the mirror and negate all the negative thoughts and feelings that you have experienced during meditation. If you think you're stupid and ugly, say to yourself that you are smart and pretty. Continue doing this exercise until you believe in what you're saying. It might also help to do another exercise before this one - stare at yourself in the mirror and smile. You don't have to burst in an uproarious laughter. It suffices to have the corners of your mouth turned upwards.
Step no. 3: the next time you're thinking about yourself or seeing yourself in a mirror, think only positive thoughts. Focus on your strengths and positive qualities, no matter how insignificant you think they are. For example, "My hair looks nice today." Or "I've been a truly loyal and reliable friend." Or even "This is the best coffee I've made in a long time."
Step no. 4: when you're comfortable in highlighting your positive aspects, you can start analyzing the negative thoughts that come up. Try to figure out where they're coming from. More specifically, from whom! It is very likely that the negative image you hold of yourself is an introject of someone else's negative opinion of you.
Step no. 5: know that you are good enough even if you have some negative qualities. We all have them. Try to minimize their expression and do your best to boost the expression of positive qualities.
You will start loving yourself as soon as you accept your shadow side, your negative side. When you stop fearing that other people might discover all the "negatives" about you, you will stop feeling shame. Embrace your personality, all of it. Admit you have flaws, like everyone else. Minimize the less pleasant aspects of your behaviour and pledge to change them if they bother you. Change is the only constant thing in life, so even if you're currently not in love with yourself, know that it, too, can change soon. Just focus on the positive! You can do it!
“If we want to change the world, we need to talk about the elephant in the room. That is why I love real people who say what they mean and mean what they say. No fluff, no lies and no pretence.”