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Self-love is a journey. It is something you learn by experiences  – both good and bad. It starts when you finally start seeing your worth. You decide that you would no longer deal with the things that you kept dealing with until this very moment.

Here are a few points that I learned in my self-love journey which I find worth sharing:

1) Listen to your intuition

Vibes never lie. If you don’t feel good around someone and you want to leave, then please do so. If you are waiting around for someone to treat you better and hoping for them to change – chances are that will rarely happen. But, in that process of waiting, you will lose yourself and your integrity. That someone could be your partner, your friends, family, and so on. Self-love is walking away when you are not receiving the respect that you think you deserve.

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2) Value your gifts

It means knowing what makes you different. Know about your talents and explore them. Do not try to copy people you meet online. If you cannot paint, it is okay. You could be a singer or a dancer, or anything else. So, if you want to love yourself, then appreciate what your unique talents are.

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To get you started, take exactly ten seconds right now and think about the first three things you like about yourself.

Okay, time up!

Were you able to list three things or more? Then imagine how much you can find about yourself when you sit down and give it time?

If you were not able to do so, then also it is good. It simply means that you have a lot more to know about yourself in your self-love journey.

3) Value your flaws

If you want to dive deep into loving yourself, then acknowledge your imperfections and accept them. Perfection is a perception. And perceptions can be wrong. So, embracing your quirks is the ideal step to approving yourself as you are. Even if you want to change something about yourself,  be grateful for what you already have. And change that – not with fear and force but with love.

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4) Don’t let other people decide who you are

Often, people close to us decide that we are good at this one thing, and we should only explore that. For instance, someone has always been a bright kid in school and college. People have such tendencies to label them as the future CEOs or something out of this world. Well, in reality, everyone evolves and changes more often than you think. Maybe now they don’t want to become a CEO. They might want to pursue something else. But the labels and expectations hold them back from doing what they want. If they don’t break those expectations, they keep wondering what it would have been like to pursue their dreams?

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Decide what you want for yourself, because self-love requires you to take charge of your life. Don’t worry if it is way different from what others imagined. You cannot live a life pleasing everyone.

5) Seeking validation is futile

I would like to share an example of one of the most loved characters of the show – Friends, and later a successful Hollywood star, Jennifer Aniston. Aniston and her mother had a very toxic mother-daughter bond while she was growing up. Her mother constantly insulted her by saying that she will not be able to become an actor with that face. That she is not good enough, she should strive for perfection. Her mother was always critical of her looks and appearance. But, in the 1990s, Jen decided to distance herself from her mother. After many years of separation, Jennifer and her mother worked things out in the end.

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Imagine now, if she would not have come out of that trap of whether her mother validates her or not, do you think she would have reached where she is now?

Seeking validation will take you nowhere in life. People have different opinions about different things. You might be the best and the most generous person, but there might be some people who think of you as a total nightmare, and it’s okay. Just be your authentic self and believe in your abilities. That’s what matters.

6) Come out of the comparison trap

I have expressed my views on this, and you can check it out in detail – Comparison Trap And How Not To Get Into It.

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Comparison leads to self-doubt, which in turn leads to low self-esteem. If you want to love yourself, know one thing- there’s always someone who is fitter, more beautiful/handsome, smarter, richer, fairer, tanner, skinnier, bulkier. So, you are not going to be at the top of the ladder ever. As soon as you understand that you don’t have a solid base for comparison, you set yourself free. You become content and happier than most people. Happiness and self-love come from within, and so no amount of outside negativity will be able to change your mood if you decide to be happy with who you are!

7) Heal your past wounds

Some people find it very challenging to heal what they have gone through. We will discuss this in detail in the next post.

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Past wounds can be anything- difficult childhood, bullying in school or college, rejection, and so on. You will not be able to love yourself completely if you didn’t forgive those who hurt you. Forgive even when nobody apologized to you for making you feel bad about yourself. When you do that, it feels like some weight has been lifted from your heart. Forgive and understand that how someone treats you is a reflection of how they were treated by others especially while growing up. So, if someone is or was judgmental of you, then it might be a possibility that they were judged by someone in the first place. When you think like this, you allow yourself to experience mental peace and calmness.

Always remember, it is easier said than done. So, you will have to work on yourself and your healing process. If you ignore it, it might haunt you again and again throughout your life. You don’t want that.

A detailed post on that is coming real soon.

8) You are unique, and that’s your power

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You can have multiple people who look similar to you on the outside, but there’s only one like you on the inside. Isn’t that crazy? You can be anything. But, if you choose to be yourself, you set yourself apart from almost the entire human race. We’re so busy pretending and looking good on the outside that we forget that what makes us stand out are our inner strengths and qualities. Everything else is just a part of some chasing perfection game that will never end.

9) You are worthy even without trying

You do not need to be the best in anything to feel worthy of something. We try to fit in with the high standards of society. You are worthy and lovable by simply existing. It may sound absurd to you, but it is the truth. You are worthy of everything right at this moment, right now. No special status or degree, or clothes are required to feel worthwhile and significant. Other people’s perception of you is a reflection of how you treat yourself. If you consider yourself less than anyone else, you encourage other people to treat you the same way. So, watch out for how you feel about yourself on the inside. Only then will you be able to see the change outside.

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Self-love is a product of your thoughts and feelings. Be mindful of your self-talk. How you feel about yourself defines how happy or sad you are. Your relationship with yourself is the only constant while everything else changes. Nurture that bond.

You can tune into a Podcast on A Lesson in Self Love w/ Kajal Pandey.

The next post will be on how to stop the negative self-talk and releasing your past. So, stay tuned.