Editors Note: Melissa is an amazing person. I have gone through some of the things she has and her blog really helps out. It helps me see that I am not the only one that goes through what I am going through. This post today funny enough is something I need to hear and yet I just asked her to write about whatever she wanted to write about. I invited her to post once a week if she feels up to it so this is her first post! I hope you all enjoy her as much as I do!
Since this is my first time guest posting over here, I thought I would introduce myself. My name is Melissa Mashburn and I blog over at Sugar Filled Emotions. I am very excited about Margaret giving me the opportunity to guest post on her site. I have gotten to know her on Twitter and my life is that much more blessed by having her in it.
“Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others.”
The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. Most of us have heard something similar to this at some point in our lives. Yet, how seriously did we actually take it? I know I gave little to no thought to the notion of loving myself for most of my life.
What does it actually mean to love yourself? I believe that loving yourself is not really so much of a feeling as it is a decrease in self doubt, self loathing, and unforgiveness of yourself. Loving yourself means that you take your well being seriously. Doing the necessary and practical things that you need to do to take care of yourself.
It seems simple. Yet, so many of us find it so difficult. We are hard on ourselves. We dislike who we are. We do not think we are worthy of anything good, and we find it impossible to forgive ourselves, even when we have done nothing wrong. When we have a poor relationship with ourselves it taints our other relationships.
People who have a healthy amount of love for themselves usually have certain characteristics:
- They tend to focus on feeling good.
- They allow themselves to feel happy and enjoy sharing it with other people
- They treat themselves well.
- They do not allow others to mistreat them.
- They are caring and supportive of others, because it makes them feel good too.
- They put themselves first so they can better take care of family and friends.
- They find a quote, motto or thought that resonates with them and practice it. (I made my own personal motto)
- They allow themselves to succeed.
Developing love for yourself can start with something as simple as having the intention (desire) to love yourself more. However, at some point after you gain that desire, it will become necessary to follow it up with some action. It does not have to be anything big or drastic. In my opinion, baby steps work the best, especially if you are anything like me and have spent the better part of your life not loving yourself.
One of the first things I did when I was learning how to love myself was to take some pictures of myself to share with others. For the last few years, I have hated how I looked. I disliked having any pictures taken of me, and there was no way I would post an accurate picture of myself even on Facebook. I thought I was clever in the way I got around having to do it. I would just post old childhood pictures. The time came when I decided to take a chance and let everyone “see” the real me. I knew that it would be impossible for me to like any serious picture of me, so my daughter and I worked together to create the silliest pictures we could. Being silly with my daughter allowed me to be more comfortable with the whole picture taking process, and also put me more at ease when it came to choosing one to show the world. It made me feel good to accomplish that.
Some suggestions for you to try when learning how to love yourself are:
- Acknowledge when you accomplish something, even something small, and praise yourself for it.
- Write yourself “love notes”. These can be notes to yourself, inspiration quotes, anything that makes you feel good. Put them in places where you will see them and read them throughout the day. My favorite places are my bathroom mirror and the front door.
- Take some time for you. Even if it is only 15 minutes, make clear that this is time for you. Read, take a bath, talk to yourself, thinking about nothing….
- Find ways to reward yourself daily.
- Nurture yourself.
- Focus on solutions rather than worrying about the problem. Being proactive in solving your own problems really does make you feel good about yourself.
- Replace any negative thoughts with positives ones. Or at the very least, when you have a negative thought, immediately follow it with a positive thought. I try and find at least three positive things about every situation.
- Allow yourself to succeed.
Who you are is more important than what you are. You are valuable and nothing can change that.