I used to hate my own reflection. In fact, I didn’t even have to see myself. I was my own worst critic and I never felt like I was enough.
I suffered clinical depression for a decade, but then I slowly learned to love myself again.
Here are 7 practices that have help me to find self-love
#1 – Staying in the ‘Now’
I couldn’t see it when I was stuck in the depression that plagued my life for a decade, but the feelings that pulled me under were always about the past or the future.
They were never about the very moment I was in.
I would be depressed about things that had already happened. I would be anxious or fearful of things I thought would happen in the future. But, none of these emotions were based on the here and now.
Learning to ‘be in the moment’ or ‘keep it in the day’ has been a key component of feeling comfortable in my own skin.
#2 – Saying ‘Thank You’
‘Thank you’ is perhaps the easiest way to expressed gratitude, regardless of whether anyone is listening or not.
In fact, it is not so much saying thank you as it is recognising the things to be thankful for.
You may have heard the phrase ‘attitude of gratitude’, for me gratitude is more than that… It is a PRACTICE.
The more time you spend focused on the things to be grateful for, the more things you will see and the more gratitude you will feel.
#3 – Meditation
An essential part of my daily morning routine is having some quiet time alone. This is time without the distractions of TV or social media.
I’ve heard it said that prayer is how we speak to a higher power and meditation is how we listen. Regardless of your spiritual or religious beliefs, I believe that quiet time with yourself is the best way to find calm and experience that, sometimes elusive, feeling of true success, serenity.
Even a short 5 to 10 minute period of stillness can be enough to change the entire direction of your day.
#4 – Keeping a Journal
I write a LOT. As a bare minimum, I write a daily gratitude journal with at least 3 things each day that I am grateful for.
Often, I will write a lot more. I find that when we put our thoughts and feelings on paper it helps to clarify them and to process any related emotions.
#5 – Practicing Acceptance
Just as gratitude is a practice, so is acceptance. For me, acceptance is rooted in self-honesty. I have to see things as they ACTUALLY ARE, not how I want them to be or how I fear they may turn out.
I have to see the reality. If I don’t like the reality and I am able to do something about it then I can choose to take that action, but sometimes things are out of my control. When I have no control over the situation, there is no point me worrying about the things I cannot change. Learning to accept them is one of life’s greatest gifts.
#6 – Reading
The day I think I know it all is the day I realise I know so little. In other words, there is always more I can learn and understand.
I make it a habit to read daily, even if it is just 1 or 2 pages. The more I learn about the world I live in, the more I also learn about myself.
I believe that every single person has a need to learn and grow. Reading helps me to fulfil this need and often gives me something to reflect on in my meditation.
#7 – Helping Other People
One of the easiest ways to feel good about yourself, is to do something for someone else. Even if they don’t express their gratitude (or never know it was you they need to thank).
What random act of kindness can you do today?
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