Want to learn how to love yourself? Think you can’t? You can — even if you believe you’re too much of a work in progress.
You can do this by learning how to practice healthy self-care a little every day.
Loving yourself is not about looking better than your social media friends or keeping up with the Jones. It’s not about accomplishing great feats or accumulating massive wealth and material things. These are illusions of happiness.
And happiness doesn’t have a timeline. You can’t say, “I’ll be happy with myself when I lose 20 pounds, or when the kids get through school, or when I start earning a decent living.”
Happiness comes from the inside, from showing yourself respect, compassion, and acceptance.
Being happy with yourself and your life is more often about the little things: Small, straightforward actions that you take every day to feel good about yourself and your place in the world.
But when you’re a busy person and your mind is full of all the things you haven’t yet done, you can easily and mistakenly lead yourself to believe that you aren’t enough. You tell yourself that you’re missing out, and instead, you’re overlooking all that you have and the beautiful person you are.
So, how do you learn to appreciate yourself more?
You pay attention. Block out the noise and reconnect with yourself throughout the day, and you’ll notice a lightness in your being and a pep in your step.
Here are 10 simple ways to love yourself a little more and bring joy into your life when you feel inadequate.
1. Set Smaller Goals.
Sometimes you can reach too high too fast, and become discouraged when you don’t meet your goals.
Strive to be one percent better. Take baby steps forward, and you’ll gain confidence as you gain momentum.
2. Practice Saying “No.”
Put up boundaries, so you can give your best and feel happier every day. Say, “not right now” to your family, “this is what I can do” to your coworkers and say “no” to taking on somebody else’s problems.
Say “yes” to healthier habits and say “good-bye” to psychic vampires who steal your joy and self-esteem. Block and unfollow.
3. Let Loose.
Laugh more. Better yet, laugh at yourself.
Being perfect is overrated. Goof off. Sing, dance, and don’t care who’s watching. Feel the exhilaration of being yourself and loving it.
4. Practice Gratitude.
Give thanks. Yes, a gratitude journal will increase your odds, but a simple morning and evening routine of reflecting on the things and people in your life that you’re grateful for will make you happier (and bring more joyful situations into your life).
5. Honor Your Feelings.
Happy people are not content all the time, but rather express themselves in the most authentic way possible.
Own your emotions. It’s okay not to be okay.
Bottling up your feelings will eventually lead to an explosion. Productively deal with conflict head on, then extend forgiveness so you can put messy situations behind you.
6. Nourish Your Body.
So much of self-image is wrapped around how someone looks on the outside. But it’s the inside that counts the most: your personality and your well-being.
Take good care of yourself with adequate sleep, exercise, and nutrition. To feel your best, it’s essential to eat healthy foods that lift your mood and drink water to stay hydrated, too.
Nourish your body, mind, and soul.
7. Embrace Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the act of being fully present, connecting to your breath and your senses, and inviting curiosity without judgment.
Not only does a mindfulness practice ground you physically, but it also awakens you spiritually and emotionally. You notice things that you might otherwise miss, and gratitude and compassion fill your heart.
The good thing is you can be mindful in small spurts; it doesn’t have to take up a lot of time or effort to produce positive effects.
8. Talk to Yourself With Loving Kindness.
How do you speak to a friend who’s feeling down about herself? With gentleness and consideration!
You’d list off all her fabulous qualities and tell her she can do anything she sets her heart to do.
So, give yourself the same pep talk. Use encouraging affirmations. If you’re at a loss, reach out to a friend, mentor, or coach to shine a light on your superpowers so you can confidently use them.
9. Give Yourself a Break. Literally.
Take three minutes, three hours, or three days — whatever it takes to recharge. If you’re busy, put your feet up, close your eyes, take a nap, or zone out for a few minutes.
Protect your energy — put an imaginary force field around yourself if you need to, and do what works for you to recharge. You’ll feel more relaxed, focused, and energetic. Plus, you’ll be able to meet life’s demands with greater success and optimism.
10. Know Your Worth.
Feeling good about yourself means recognizing your value. Take stock of what you bring to your relationships, work, and community. Everyone has a unique set of talents they bring to each situation.
Find your gifts and honor your contributions. You deserve happiness every moment of the day, and you deserve to shine. Surround yourself with positive people who encourage you and lift you up.
To be happy, you need to fall in love with yourself. That means intentionally focusing on self-care and bringing more joy to every day.
Even if it seems hard, it doesn’t have to be. Plus, the payoffs are high.
With these essential yet straightforward strategies, you will learn to love yourself and your life a lot more.
This guest article was first published at Lisa Petsinis and on YourTango.com: 10 Ways To Love Yourself & Be Happier Every Day (Even When Self-Care Seems Impossible).