Most people postpone fully loving themselves until they lose weight, get the job they want or marry the man or woman of their dreams.
Because we humans by nature are never content. You buy a new car, drive around happily for a month and then you´re already dreaming about the next one.
You start working out, make great improvements and start feeling happy in your own skin until someone fitter than you crosses your path and you think to yourself:
“If I could be as fit as that guy/girl, I´d be the happiest person alive.”
When you´re not able to love yourself for who you are you can´t do good for other people, your negativity will spread into all your relationships.
But let me tell you that no matter how you look, how successful you are or how much approval you get from other people, you can love yourself for who you are at this very instant, all it takes is a little shift in your mindset.
The attention flashlight
Your attention is like a flashlight, you choose in which direction you want to point it and what it is you want to illuminate.
Whatever you light up, you nurture. If you´re focusing on your imperfections all day long, you allow them to become the protagonist of your life.
And what do people pay most attention to in a movie? That´s right, the protagonist.
It´s already bad enough that you focus on your flaws all the time, but if others start pointing them out, the light illuminating them will get brighter and make them even more visible and leave all of your positive traits in the dark.
Do you see the vicious circle you can get caught into only by choosing in which direction you point your flashlight?
Now imagine what would happen if you chose to point it towards the aspects of yourself you´re proud of.
People don´t usually post pictures of themselves when they´re feeling depressed or unhappy. You always see the positive aspects of their lives and start comparing it to yours.
Do you think your neighbor who just bought a Ferrari and always posts pics of his incredible vacations is 100% happy with his life and himself?
Realize that all these happy people on social media experience the same problems and insecurities as you and me.
The more personal the wound, the more universal it is. Truly understanding this makes you remember that we´re all in the same boat.
View yourself as your own child
When asking how to love yourself, there is no better example to emulate than a mother and father who love their child unconditionally, no matter what. It is the most sincere expression of love you will find.
Often we are way too harsh with ourselves. Whenever you feel like you´re being your own worst critic, stop and think if you would treat your son or daughter the same way.
Chances are you would never want your child to be treated the way you treat yourself.
The paradox of self help
The concept of self help can be confusing, on one side you have to accept yourself as you are and on the other side you should also develop yourself and grow, which in turn reinforces the idea that you´re not good enough already.
After much time being caught up in having to choose either being happy with myself or trying to improve myself, I understood that, as in everything in life, there is no black or white.
If you´re into self help, which you probably are as you´re reading this, you may have often come across advice from videos, courses or books that contradict each other. It´s not that one of them must be wrong. Self help is a very delicate and personal topic. What works for one person might not work for you.
The solution to this is to realize that there is no right or wrong, everything is right for a certain person. The best thing you can do is to merge the concepts together and use what you need.
If you stop trying to separate right from wrong, you will realize that it is indeed possible to love yourself as you are and keep on improving without getting caught up in searching happiness in your ideal self.
As I already said above, no matter at which point in life you are, you can and deserve to fully accept and love yourself for who you are.
If you found the tips in this post helpful, I would very much appreciate if you´d share it so that the people who need it the most get a chance to improve their lives too.