We all want to do right by ourselves, but we may not reflect that desire in many of our priorities. Self-love isn’t always easy to give, especially when we let issues with relationships, work or even the state of the world interfere with our well-being.
Sometimes, we must take a step back and remind ourselves of what’s really important. So much can cloud our vision when outside elements take the forefront, and we can forget to look within for direction. Each of us must be true to ourselves if we want to know genuine happiness, but getting there often takes introspection, determination and a willingness to accept our gifts and flaws with perspective.
The first step toward establishing a healthy self-relationship is letting go of the issues that stand in the way of genuine self-love.
Embrace Your Uniqueness
I was teased a lot growing up. I was “weird,” and because of the resulting cruelty I endured, I spent much of my life believing my goal was to figure out how to fit in. I wanted to be just like everyone else; they all seemed so happy in their effortless “humaning.” Moreover, I believed there was something inherently wrong with me because I viewed the world so very differently than most other people did.
But eventually I realized that I wasn’t “weird” as much as I was “misunderstood.” I view the world through a unique lens, and perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. After all, it’s the unique people who change the world, right?
Let your passions drive you, no matter how lackluster they might seem to others. You never know what amazing contributions you have to offer until you step up and shine. Be you and delight in it; no one else can fill your shoes in the exact same way.
Cherish Your Body
It’s too easy to become more preoccupied with how we look rather than how we feel, and this pitfall can quickly skew our priorities. Media, particularly social media, has set all sorts of unrealistic standards for people to meet while downplaying the importance of physical strength and health. Many of us have been taught to hate our bodies, which is downright tragic.
Consider how many variations of “beauty” have existed throughout the history of the world. Up until the early 20th century, foot-binding was a standard of perfection in China. The ancient Greeks thought unibrows were breathtaking and dimples were abhorrent. Sixteenth-century Parisians saw double chins as the pinnacle of desirability. Elizabethan women were so obsessed with having pale skin that they smeared a white leaded paste on their faces and chests; hundreds of years later, a healthy bronze tone is the fashion.
The definition of beauty varies just as much between individuals. Why not flaunt your beauty regardless of what the current social agreement says you should look like? Why not love your body regardless of silly, ever-changing standards?
Ultimately, it’s all you have, it truly is a temple and the contents is precious.
Honor Your Divinity
Namaste—what a beautiful word. We English speakers don’t have an equivalent for the term, which roughly translates to, “I recognize and appreciate the Divinity in you.”
No matter what philosophy or religion you adhere to, whether you’re a spiritualist or a secularist, you must agree that there’s something beautiful and sacred about life in itself. Just as our hearts beat and we breathe air into our lungs, we move through this world as both individual forces and interactive parts of a greater entity.
And, just as each of us is composed of stardust and other timeless matter, we each also carry that magical spark—that breath of life that shares the gift of existence and experience.
Namaste. I recognize and appreciate the Divinity in you. Do you recognize and appreciate it? Go to a mirror and take a good look straight into your eyes. Do you see it? Offer it a moment of gratitude and love.
There is only one YOU in all the world, and that in itself is beautiful and special. Only you can offer your unique perspective, your gifts and your momentum toward greater realizations. Each of us plays a role in forging the reality we all share, and every one of us has the potential to effect change and raise our fellow humans.
But first, we each must honor ourselves.