How to love yourself: That day I was lying on the couch, carefully studying the ceiling, having neither the desire nor the strength to do something else. I was broken and completely devastated, and the world around me suddenly stopped playing with the usual variety of colors, offering in return only gray shades. And even the rays of the sun, intrusively looking out the window, could not influence the situation.
Shortly before these events, my business collapsed, I was abandoned by a girl with whom we had been together for several years, leaving for another. I lost a very large amount of money, lost time and a loved one.
Life seemed to push me away many years ago. I was sure that this was the point of no return.
But the worst thing is that I lost myself, and I only felt hatred for what was left of me.
The future scared me. I was afraid that further pain awaited me, even more loss and suffering.
I don’t remember how much time passed, but I slipped out of the embrace of my bed and went to the mirror. And suddenly a thought flashed through my mind: if I ever want to get back on my feet, I need to love myself again …
Negative focus shift and perception filters
Imagine that two articles have been published in the media about you and your talents. The first claims that you are the owner of God’s gift, a genius which can’t be found, and all those around you must follow your example.
The second article says that you are a complete idiot and an absolute lack of talent. What you do is absolute rubbish, nonsense and bad taste, and does anyone need or like.
Which of these two articles will get wider distribution and attract more attention?
Of course, the negative article will be much more effective than written in a positive context. And this is the normal order of things.
The shift of focus on the negative
A shift in the focus of attention to negative means that if there are two factors of the same strength, but with opposite values, the negative will attract more attention.
From an evolutionary point of view, shifting the focus of attention to negativity was a huge advantage for our ancestors.
Imagine that you are a hunter who went on the trail of a wild boar.
Suddenly, you notice that a poisonous snake is approaching you, and at the same time, a wild boar is rushing towards you, which can become a source of food for your family for several weeks.
Your subconscious mind has milliseconds left to decide which animal to switch attention to.
If you select options and your choice falls on a wild boar, you will become vulnerable to a snake and will probably be bitten. If you focus your attention on the dangers in order to protect yourself from the snake, you will avoid a bite, but the boar will leave.
All our ancestors, who paid attention to positive incentives (wild boar), became extinct because they could not identify the threat that appeared next to them (snake).
In the past, shifting the focus of attention to negativity was a useful adaptive response. Today it makes you pay too much attention to the negative factors that apply to you or the world at large.
At every moment of time, you are subjected to an intense bombardment of an endless stream of information, the volume of which exceeds the capacity of your brain to process it.
To function in a data-saturated environment, your brain filters out almost all of the information surrounding you. This is called attention or perception filtering.
A side effect of perception filters is that the world ultimately looks like you are focused only on it.
For example, when you started reading this sentence, you did not pay attention to how you feel the socks with your toes. However, now that your attention was directed to your fingers, you began to consciously feel socks. This is a filter of perception in action.
The mind is not particularly skilled in interpreting reality.
First, your mind is much more likely to pay attention to what is worse than what is good (shifting the focus of attention to the negative). Secondly, your mind is forced to filter out almost all the information in each situation (perception filters).
Because of this, your mind tends to see you as much less intelligent, capable, beautiful, charming and, ultimately, worthy of love.
This is further compounded by a media culture that seeks to make you feel like an insignificant person if you are not up to date with all the latest trends.
Simply put, if you are having difficulty loving yourself, you’re fine. You just fell under the influence of a side effect of our time.
Fortunately, loving yourself is a skill that you can learn and master. The first step is to realize the truth about your significance.
You are the main person in your life
Everything in your life stems from your attitude to yourself. Learn to treat yourself as a person worthy of love, respect and compassion, and your life will flow more easily and more joyfully than you can imagine.
If you treat yourself as a person worthy only of contempt and indifference, each new day will become a struggle for you to at least somehow keep your head above the surface of life.
Unfortunately, most people never put enough energy into a positive attitude toward themselves. They drift through life, acting like a personal worst critic, obstructing their own potential, and keeping their heart and mind under full control.
If you would treat your friends the way you conduct an internal dialogue with yourself, how many friends do you have left?
Have you ever felt completely loved by yourself or by someone else? You will be surprised at how common people’s response is “No.” The thing is that it’s very difficult to love yourself.
An easy way to create the illusion of a solution to the problem is to distract yourself with drugs, alcohol, stress, flattery, employment, bad relationships, external confirmation and the pretense of happiness.
But it makes you colder and insensitive than a living and happy person.
Your personal mission should be to realize how amazing, strong and beautiful you are.
How to love yourself. 4 levels of love
Level 1. Treat yourself as an object of love
One of the secrets of human behavior is that our emotions and behavior are interconnected. In other words, if you treat yourself like shit, you will feel like shit. If you treat yourself as a wonderful person, you will feel that way.
Take an inventory of your actions that you do during the day. Are they the actions that a person who really seeks to love himself takes?
For most people, the answer is no. Many suffer from chronic lack of sleep and do not exercise, use dubious diets, work at work that they hate, and communicate with people uninteresting to them.
Changing your behavior, which corresponds to the behavior of a beautiful person, you will notice that you will begin to feel like such a person.
There are no strictly regulated rules of conduct that will correspond to each person. However, the recommendations below are extremely effective and deserve your attention.
Do not reject these recommendations simply because you have heard of them before. Put some of them into your life and see what happens.
- The importance of sleep. Try to sleep so that when you wake up, you feel rested. The easiest way to do this is to get up at the same time every day and go to bed when you are tired.
- Physical exercise. Take at least 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week, doing exercise. It can be running, bodybuilding, team sports, anything.
- Meditation. Systematic meditation (conscious breathing) will allow you to calm your mind, establish control over emotions and negative thoughts. You will learn to manage your attention by increasing your overall level of awareness.
- Express your gratitude. Share your sincere gratitude to the people around you or write down those things for which you are grateful for each new day.
- Proper nutrition. Eat healthy foods full of nutrients.
- Define the boundaries. Are there negative people or habits in your life? If so, dispose of them immediately.
- Have fun. Do you have fun and enjoy every day? If not, have more fun.
- Enjoy yourself during the day. Treat yourself to a cup of coffee. Watch some of your favorite video clips. Go for a walk. Put on your favorite shirt. These pleasant activities throughout the day signal that you are an amazing person worthy of a wonderful life.
The more you perform the actions that a loving person performs, the, accordingly, you will quickly fall in love with yourself.
Level 2. Accept Your Dark Side
Once I had a friend who pretended to bring inspiration to her every day. She said that she loves God, loves life and feels gratitude for the mere opportunity to exist on this planet.
At the same time, she drank quite a lot, constantly sat on obscure diets, complained that she did not have a permanent guy (there were plenty of non-permanent ones) and hated her work.
There was a huge difference between her life stories and her reality. She wanted every day to be bright, sunny and joyful.
Only one small problem: it is impossible to make every day beautiful. Most likely, this is also undesirable.
Look at nature: even the most beautiful, ancient forests are sometimes struck by lightning and they burn to the ground. At first glance, such an event seems to be tragic destruction, but in fact, it is part of the natural cycle of life.
Fire destroys the forest, ash nourishes the soil, which in turn provides a stronger and more favorable environment, and as a result, the new forest grows more radiant than before.
Under the mask of pain, darkness and destruction lie the seed of growth, love and beauty. This is true both for the forest and for man.
You need to take your dark side. It is important for you to face your fears.
At the highest level, this means awareness of one’s death. At a lower level, this means understanding that suffering is an inevitable part of human life. To deny their suffering is to deny human nature.
To pretend that you are in perfect order when you are broken, that you are not afraid when you are scared, or that you are calm when you are furious, means to deny the true state of things.
You are a man, so you are completely different and in no other way. And that is wonderful.
If you can improve yourself, act now. But you should love yourself right now, the way you are at the moment.
How to take your dark side
- Forgive yourself for the mistakes you made. You are a person, not a computer, and no matter how you would like otherwise, from time to time you will definitely make mistakes. You can become free only if you free yourself from guilty feelings for acts committed in the past. Stop hoping you can be perfect. Instead, enjoy your imperfection, which gives you traits of individuality and originality. If you have problems with forgiveness, start by forgiving other people.
- It is normal from time to time to be disgusting, lazy, jealous and aggressive. It is natural to have negative thoughts and feelings. You can work on these emotions while you find a way to eliminate the causes of their occurrence, so as not to harm yourself or others. You can release rage by spewing outbursts of anger alone at home.
Pretending that you do not feel strong feelings and constantly control yourself is not the most sensible idea. Instead, face it and accept yourself with all your emotional outbursts. When you do this, you will notice that you can love yourself more sincerely. You do not blame the cat for not behaving like a dog. Therefore, do not blame yourself for being human.
- Spend time in solitude and silence. Most people fill their lives with white noise. They use music, television, talking on the phone, their employment, the Internet and a million other things, so as not to feel loneliness, being alone with themselves. The main reason, according to people, is that they hate boredom. In fact, they are afraid of what they can see when they are alone with themselves in a quiet and calm atmosphere.
To fully know yourself, you need to spend time in silence. Turn off your phone and laptop and find yourself face to face with yourself. Do not be afraid of what comes. If negative thoughts visit you, they will go away with time.
You may be surprised to find a forgotten sense of joy and compassion that reside deep inside, waiting for you will create the conditions for their release.
Level 3. Destroy the walls around your heart
Let’s go back to one of the questions that have already been asked: have you ever felt completely loved?
This is not the easiest question, and do not share the answer with anyone else, but pause for a moment and think deeply about your life. Have you ever felt completely loved?
Many more people than you can imagine have never felt love in their lives. Understand: this is not your fault.
We live in a world in which the mind is valued far more than the heart. The only way you can protect your heart is to protect it by erecting strong walls.
Therefore, the third and most difficult step is to identify, accept and destroy the walls that protect your heart.
Start by telling your life story
The easiest way to do this is to create a space in which you will be able to freely express yourself. You can keep a diary, or start a verbal monologue aloud to yourself. Your task is to tell your life story from beginning to end.
Find your child’s photo while you are doing this exercise because it’s easier to love an innocent child than an adult wise by experience. A photograph will help confirm your belief that, despite your life experience, you are still worthy of the love and compassion that you so much desire.
Highlight moments in your story
- When you were cruel to yourself.
- When you did the wrong thing.
- Parental abuse. Many people are victims of emotional abuse, although they are not aware of this because they confuse emotional abuse with love. A useful exercise is to identify the negative aspects of your upbringing by your parents.
- Any psychological trauma, both obvious and hidden.
- Your feelings during especially emotional episodes of your life. Ask yourself: “What did you feel at that moment?”
We all have experienced the above. We were all mistaken, mistaken, and victims of the wrong decisions of our loved ones.
Injuries and pain can be caused by obvious things, such as parenting or an abusive word. But pain is not a reflection of your strengths or weaknesses, your inner strength or your abilities. When you accept this, you will become freer.
To love yourself, you need to put on your personality a bright spotlight of the truth about the events that happened in your past. It’s time to stop lying to yourself, and this is very important. It is not your fault, and you should stop blaming yourself.
Pain is just pain.
Level 4. The highest form of love. Acceptance and gift exchange
I’m tempted to submit to you a fully formed, loving person who lives in absolute bliss. He is always happy, and love himself is so strong that only one realization of his presence relieves the suffering. All the people admire you and seek to learn your secrets.
Did you believe in the described picture? In vain, because this is complete nonsense. If such a creature would have appeared in this world, it would not have been human.
To be human means to be different: both quick-tempered and balanced, and self-confident and in doubt.
There will be times in your life when you come across and accept your negative side. There will be situations when you fully feel your inner strength and will be able to influence the flow of the world around you.
Perhaps events will come when you become depressed, and your loved one will betray you. You will feel completely overwhelmed for an extended period of time.
And this is normal.
The practice of love involves working on yourself, wherever you are and whatever you feel. Today was a bad day? All right, accept it. A beautiful day has to come, excellent, rejoice at you.
We appreciate your understanding of yourself in hard times and receive sincere pleasure when everything is fine in your life.
As soon as you become closer to yourself, you will begin to notice what are the dominant personality. Your ultimate goal is simple: use everything we have in service to self and service to others. Share your gift.
No matter what happened in your life and what you have for your own person at the moment. Loving yourself is not something you can or can not, it is your bounden duty.
Only through loving yourself can you love others. You have no idea how many people need you and your help.
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