Like Yourself Better

Sometimes we find it so very hard to simply like ourselves. We try too hard to pretend to be someone other than our true selves, and we even try to convince ourselves that we are somebody else. We put up layers of defenses, and strongly need to be seen in a certain way. We feel that we cannot afford others to see our real selves. We fear that we may turn out to be inadequate in some way. We feel very vulnerable.

Sometimes we resort to bullying, or boasting, or shying away, or aggressiveness, or mistrust in order to cover up the fact that we don’t dare to show our true selves to anyone. This comes from a very deep-rooted lack of confidence in oneself, an inability to like ourselves just as we are.

It is very important to look in the mirror each day and tell ourselves that we are okay. Sometimes we forget to do this, sometimes we cannot truly believe it. We often let other people tell us that we are not okay. We don’t remember that everyone, at some point or the other, had to face experiences that involved others telling or implying that they were inadequate. Yet, the happy ones knew that it didn’t matter. They knew that they were okay – their past, their looks, their achievements, their relatives, their possessions, their ambitions, their education, their talents were all secondary things that didn’t matter. Only we matter, only our values matter.

So how can we truly learn to like ourselves? How can we get past decades of learning that tells us that we need to do, be or have something in order to be lovable? How can we look into our inner self, the one that we had ever since we were babies, and accept it as it is? Here are five tips to try.

                                      Give Love:
The strongest technique to love ourselves is to love others. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it is true. When we give love to our family, friends, colleagues or strangers, expecting nothing in return, and brighten their day, we immediately tune in to our real self. Try volunteering for someone less fortunate than ourselves, for instance. We feel blissful and accomplished. It doesn’t need to be something expensive or time-consuming – just thoughtful. Let someone know you care. Give out love. And you will begin to plant seeds of self-esteem. We were born to give love, and it is always more important and more rewarding to give love rather than receive it.

          Do something you love:

Be it cooking or reading or playing a musical instrument, take a few moments to do what you enjoy doing. It is very important to spend at least a few moments a day on something you are passionate about – it is medicine for your soul. It will heal you and make you happier. It is easier to love yourself when you are happy. So do what makes you happy; and make sure it is something positive and enriching to your body or mind or soul, or all three of them.

         Stop complaining for a day:

Avoid making any complaints for a whole day, even to yourself. Just bite your tongue when you feel the urge to criticize, and try to rephrase it in a more constructive way if you must say it. If the weather is bad, let it be. If your child is late in the morning again, let it go. If your boss is being a jerk, ignore it. If everything seems to be going wrong for you, create something positive in your life and be thankful for it. A day of non-complaining acceptance of others and yourself can pour in a well of fresh energy to you. You will feel better about yourself for it.

            Accept your past:

Sure, you had a miserable past, thanks to others or circumstances or yourself. But it is not going to earn you any popularity points with yourself if you brood over it. Accept that some things went wrong. Accept that you made some errors in judgment. Accept that others may seem to have it easier. We all make mistakes, even the most accomplished among us. Allowing feelings of self-pity or guilt to enter us will only poison our soul and make us bitter. It is important to let yourself know that it is okay to have made mistakes, and that you are strong enough now to realize your errors and perform better from now on.

          Dare to try something:

Have you always wanted to do something, but let your fears stop you? Take a little risk, and do it anyway. As the saying goes, “do it trembling if you must, but do it.” You may not achieve what you set out to do, but your self-esteem and confidence will go up just because you dared to confront your fears and do it anyway.