We all have an ideal in our minds of what we should be. We often find that we don’t live up to this ideal. This can cause us to dislike ourselves. In fact, it’s amazing how many people simply don’t like themselves at all. The good news is, I believe there are some very simple ways to learn to love who you are. Practicing these has helped me to enjoy being who I am, and I believe they will help you.
- Write a list of 10 things you appreciate about who you are. This sounds cheesy, but it really does make a difference. As you write, you will get a better sense of who you are and what makes you special and important. If you don’t believe me, try it and see. Doing this changed my life.
- Learn to replace your shame with guilt. The difference between guilt and shame is described by researcher Brené Brown in her book, Daring Greatly. When you do something wrong, guilt says, “you did something wrong”. Shame, however, says, “you are wrong”. Learning to think differently about the mistakes you make can change your whole life. This is one of the hardest mentality shifts you can make. I’ve found counselors very helpful in this regard.
- Learn to appreciate things about other people. It’s an odd truth that we treat others the way we treat ourselves. If we are hard on ourselves, we will be hard on other people. Fortunately, this works in inverse as well. When we learn to appreciate things about other people (even when they don’t live up to our ideals), we become more appreciative of the things that make us unique. Try making a list of things you appreciate about 5 other people (including people you don’t like).
- Be thankful for the life you have. In a world of stress, deadlines, goals, aspirations, challenges, and brokenness, it can be difficult to remember how good we really have it. If you think about it, the life you’ve been given is a beautiful gift. It’s worth taking the time every day to breathe deep, relax, and think about the things that make you smile. Being more appreciative of the life you live can help you love yourself and love being you.
It’s worth taking the time to learn to love yourself. After all, you will spend the rest of your life with yourself—you couldn’t be more worth it.