Love Yourself: Learn How To Accept And Respect Your Entire Self

Unless you first love yourself, you may never be able to love others. Here is how you can love and respect yourself regardless of who you are

By Emmanuel Onitayo
Love Yourself: Learn How To Accept And Respect Your Entire Self

You didn't choose yourself

The more we kiss, the more we want to kiss.

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One of the decisions nature has placed beyond us is the choice of ourselves. Yes, you heard me right. You don't get to choose yourself. You only grow up to discover who you are. It's quite understandable while nature has pre-set us by itself. Come to think of it, if you had the opportunity of determining yourself, you probably would have made different decisions in regards your sex, height, color, shape, nationality, parents, size or several other things like that. Leaving this decision to us would have meant a lot of inequalities in life. Perhaps, many people would have chosen to be white and few or no human being would have chosen to be black. Again, it could mean extreme over-population in a place while others are barely up to hundreds. Furthermore, you can imagine a world where there'll only be tall people with no short ones and perhaps, all males and no female. It may be in order to forestall this that nature made the decision for us. Unfortunately, some of us grow up to dislike ourselves. We look at the mirror and wish there was no us. And for those who have not gone this far, carry with them a being that they are not proud of. It is not very clear why many get to this unfortunate level of self-dislike, but one can safely guess that the environment in which each of us is raised is most likely responsible for how we feel about ourselves.

This is how you know you don't like yourself

Are you in doubt as to whether you have come to accept and love yourself or not? Check out yourself with these few points. If one or two of the points mentioned here is/are true for you, you really do not like yourself: 1. You always want people to be by your side because you cannot stand the thought of being alone. 2. You are pre-occupied with pleasing others because you feel you don't have what it takes to live a life of your own. 3. When opinions are called for on issues, you keep quiet even though you have something to say. 4. You don't forgive yourself even when others you feel you have wronged have forgiven you. 5. You eat what you see and not what you need. You don't even care how you look. 6. Others may trust you but you do not trust yourself. 7. You don't want to take challenges because you feel you might fail. In most cases, you have what it takes to succeed. 8. You choose to bottle up when you have issues. Simply put, you distrust others. 9. You don't value your achievements. No, this is not about being humble. You just don't see your achievements as one. 10. You contemplate suicide. This is perhaps, the height of self-dislike.

You are a product of two things

You are a product of two things - nature and nurture. Nature determines who you are on the outside while nurture determines the real you on the inside. Nature is fixed but nurture is flexible. In most cases, it is possible to change how you look on the outside by changing how you feel from within. By the way, people do not hate themselves just because of how they look, they mostly do so because of the many invisible but real struggles that are going on within. You really need to start loving and respecting yourself. If you don't, you will not be able to fully love and respect others and you may end up being frustrated too. In fact, if you don't love and respect yourself, others cannot love and respect you either. Here are some iron principles you can lean on to help you start loving and respecting yourself.

#1. One way to love yourself is to accept who you are

It does not make sense struggling over what you cannot change. Self-denial is an awful thing because it negates the principle of common sense. If you are short, accept you are and if you are blue-eyed, do not deny it. The fact is, whether you accept or deny yourself, you are still who you are. It is only beneficial if you accept and admit the obvious. It brings inner peace and calmness. You will discover that before anyone can genuinely love you, they'll have to first accept you for who you are. And that entails them realizing that you are essentially a being with a uniqueness. They aren't going to embark on a mission to change you into someone else but rather, relate to you based on your individuality. That is the same way you also need to come to terms with yourself.

#2. Take things easy with yourself

Although almost incredible, yet it's true that we sometimes display maturity and understanding with others' emotion than we do for ourselves. A voice within us often brings to our remembrance our past faults which are terrible and this is capable of making us self-critical. When the feelings of disappointment and sorrow arise within us, we should rather accommodate them than allow such feelings to overpower or overwhelm us. You aren't a weak person by consciously preparing your mind for such situations, in fact, you are just being strong. It is when people shut up their possibility of failing or experiencing rejection and defeat perhaps in the name of "being a man," that they become disturbed when those experiences actually come. After all, you are still human. You are not immune to mistakes just like none of your predecessors was. Accept that you don't have answers to many questions and that you may just have to live with certain things in your life that you have no power over. This is the way to go rather than blaming yourself for everything.

#3. Love yourself by nourishing your mind

You are what you think and every thought, however reflexive they appear, proceeds from the mind. This position is true and incontrovertible. If you think you are a nobody, regardless of how others may esteem you, you will still be a complete nobody to yourself. Because of this, you have to make conscious effort to guard against the avenues of the heart. Exercise your mind regularly by taking on new challenges. Read books that would add value to you. Don't allow your mind to believe any junk idea or philosophy. Cultivate the habit of challenging every stand or position by giving it a serious thought. If you must love yourself, your mind must be trained to do so. Typically, it is generally agreed that we all came with a "blank" mind and the things that eventually become the bulk of what we have there are things that we allow. Don't allow any teaching or talk that'll make you not to be at peace with yourself. Don't allow anyone to make you believe you are inferior. Train your mind to love yourself because you are special.

#4. Look good so you can love yourself

Just like love and confidence for oneself can spring from within, so also they can spring from without. Remember your being is housed in a physical body. And if this "physical house" is not well-groomed, it may spill over to the "unseen body" where you begin to define yourself based on how you look. Eat and exercise well. There are foods you must abstain from just as there are those that must constitute the large chunk of your diet. Get to know these ones by seeking appropriate dietary counsel. Also, wear clothes that make you look good and comfortable. When you look good and healthy from the outside, you are less likely to dislike yourself.

#5. To love yourself, you have to surround yourself with people of like minds

The people you move with determine to a large extent, the kind of image you would have concerning yourself. When they say "Show me your friend and I will tell you who you are," it's no mistake at all. Over times, our friends get to shapen our self-perception. Imagine if all the those you move with are people who do not value, love or respect themselves, you will soon turn to be one. And if you are already one, your chances of having a better self-perception would become slimmer. Stated differently, mind those you move with. Identify and relate with individuals who have found reasons to live rather than mingle with plain pessimists.

#6. If you have to weep over past errors, do.

Grieving or weeping is therapeutic! Don't miss its dose. Have you awfully fumbled and you feel like tearing up? Go ahead and cry your eyes out! Mourn your dead to your satisfaction. Curse the day of your birth if it has gotten to that level. Whichever way you want to do it, don't hold back your emotions. It is dangerous. Rich and powerful people also cry. Crying and grieving are sometimes blessings. If you show any of the symptoms that you hate yourself as highlighted earlier, chances are that you have bottled up some emotions you ought to have poured out. You cannot come to terms with yourself unless you push all these feelings out.

#7. By giving, you can get to accept and love yourself

Are you wondering how giving can lead to self-acceptance? It's not difficult. Self-dislike says you are a nobody, giving says you are somebody. When you give, you benefit more than those who receive the gifts from you. Self-dislike is like obesity. It arises in the first place because you don't shed some weight. The weight in this sense does not have to be financial alone. It could be moral and psychological. Nature has made it such that when we reach out to others, we ourselves are helped. Regardless of your self-perception, consider reaching out to the poor and needy. Put smiles on people's face. Encourage someone to be at his/her best and if you have enough cash, share with people. You will realize that the appreciation springing up from these quarters would make you discover you're worth more than how you see yourself.

Bottom line

Self-love isn't narcissism. It is not an obsession with one's own self. It isn't selfishness or pride either. That is far from it. It is coming to terms with who we are and developing a positive self-perception in that line. It is far better to appreciate your uniqueness than trying to deny it our wishing you were someone else. Loving and respecting others entail that you first love and respect yourself. Similarly, people only get to respect and love us when they see that we love and respect ourselves. And as already pointed out here, all of these have to do more with what goes on within than what's obtainable without.