My 21-day journey toward loving myself more
I’ve noticed that the quality of my relationships improved when I tried to love myself more. Indeed, it has drastically increased throughout these years.
I guess that’s one of our main problems, or should I say, the source of many of our frustrations. The inability to love ourselves enough. And more often than not, whenever we fail to do so, we play the blame game with everyone. We blame our boyfriends, we blame our best friends, we blame our parents, we blame the country, we even blame our dog! And that blame game would lead us nowhere. It certainly wouldn’t lead us to better relationships with other people.
If we expect to be loved, if we expect to be special, we should learn to love ourselves first and treat ourselves as special. People respond to how we treat ourselves. If we believe we are not important, guess how they would treat us?
When You Don’t Love Yourself Enough
Years of mistreatment and abuse from the very people who should have protected you may have done it. Countless arrows of harsh criticisms may have played its part. And wrong religious beliefs in a harsh and vengeful God who could never be pleased may have made the final straw that finally crippled you and prevented you from loving yourself enough.
Love your neighbors as you love yourself. God spoke with the presumption that you already know how to love yourself. But how about for people who do not even know how to love themselves? What happens when you don’t love yourself enough?
When you don’t love yourself enough:
- you allow people to mistreat you and to continue to mistreat you
- you try to please other people feeling it’s your obligation, not because you want to
- you feel guilty when good things come your way
- you feel that God doesn’t want you to be happy and that He cannot forgive your imperfections
- you feel suspicious when people treat you well
- you feel that it’s your fault when things go wrong
- you pity yourself easily when someone criticizes you
- you don’t feel comfortable when you look at yourself in the mirror
At first glance, it might seem that this lack of love isn’t so harmful to our relationship with others. But how could we even have a basis for loving other people when we can’t even love ourselves? By which standards are we going to treat them when we can’t even treat ourselves well?
When we don’t love ourselves enough, we also lose the capacity to love other people.
Following are some more of the consequences of not loving ourselves enough:
- we allow others to think that it is tolerable to abuse other people
- we find it hard to receive love
- we become prone to depression and hopelessness
- we sabotage our own success because we believe we don’t deserve it
- subconsciously, we even reject God’s blessings thinking God could never really be concerned with our happiness
21 Days to Love Myself More
I’ve decided that I would like to change the way I treated myself. It is said that it can take as little as 21 days to form a habit. So why not make it a habit to love ourselves?
The First Day — The Beginning
Today, I begin the habit of loving myself. I’ve been more conscious on the way I treat myself, even in small things. For instance, I usually don’t mind the heat of the sun damaging my skin and drying my hair. Now I’ve used an umbrella and protected myself, the way I wish my boyfriend would have done so if he were here. I also treated myself to good lunch, bought make-up that I liked and even chose the best seat in a cafe.
Hmm… it was not as easy as I thought. But practice makes perfect they say. And how could we expect others to do these things for us when we couldn’t care doing it for ourselves?
I guess I just have to carry on for the next 20 days. If you think you could also benefit from this, why don’t you begin today as well?
The Second Day — Already Feeling Guilty
It’s only the second day of my challenge to love myself more and I’m already feeling a bit guilty.
I’ve made quite a few purchases — expenses spent to pamper myself. In the evening, I’ve also continued applying a moisturizing lotion to my face. I wasn’t used to doing that before.
Now back to the “guilty” part. I wonder if we also feel guilty when we are being pampered or showered with gifts by our loved ones. Should we feel guilty?
How about if we are the ones giving gifts to our loved ones? Do we feel guilty spending and buying things for them?
For me, this feeling of guilt explains a lot. If we feel guilty being loved, then in a way, we’re saying its not right to be treated that way — to be special and to be showered with all the affection we seem to be craving for and yet guilty of giving the same to ourselves. In a way, we’re saying we don’t deserve it.
As to loving other people, maybe we should check our reasons for all the favors we do them. Is it because we’re just happy doing so? Or is it because we feel it’s our obligation?
Come to think of it, however, don’t you feel guilty of making yourself suffer? You may not admit it, but it will slowly show one way or the other.
It will show in your frustrated expectations, when you don’t get back anything in return. It will show in your anger. It will show in you blaming other people for your own unhappiness and for your inability to love yourself.
Do you feel guilty loving yourself?
The Third Day — Diet and Loving Yourself
It’s my third day of being conscious of the way I treat myself. I overslept a little but noticed a good effect of sleep in my skin. I also chose the best towel today when I washed my face.
Today, I’ve noticed how our diets are greatly related to our relationship with ourselves.
For instance, imagine for a moment being in charge of the food of your loved ones. Will you be happy if your loved ones almost starve themselves to death and deprive themselves of food that they enjoy? On the other hand, would you rather that they overeat or eat foods that will make them sick later on? Of course not!
You’d want them to eat healthy foods and observe discipline in their diets. At the same time, you’d want them to enjoy their favorite foods once in a while.
The same should be the way we treat ourselves. The key to loving yourself is balance.
What Do I Love About Me?
When I first started my 21 days of loving myself, I thought it would be easy. But as the days went on, the more I realized how much reprogramming has to be made. It took years building my current relationship with myself, and it will not easily be rebuilt in a matter of days. It can start from here though. Growth has to start somewhere, and it is good to start right and strong.
During this time of reflection, I’ve learned that I not only lacked love for myself. I’ve learned a shocking truth — that I’ve hated myself all these years!
That was the reason I’ve found it easier to love other people. Because they were not as unlovable as me. But if I were to start out as a person apart from my current self, how do I become a friend to this person? What are the things I would appreciate in her? What do I love about me?
I tried to list down some of the things I could love about me:
1. Her love for coffee
Coffee is a passion to her. She even put up a coffee shop, got net loss from the business and yet carries with her only good memories of her passion. Coffee is a symbol of home for her, of friendship, of good yet practical ideas shared by people who care for each other. I’d love her love for coffee.
2. Her being childlike
Up to now, she still enjoys toys and enjoys receiving and unwrapping gifts. It wouldn’t take much to make her happy. Yet few people realize this, how easy it would have been to put a big smile on her face.
3. Her love for books
Books give her a tremendous amount of understanding and exposure to things and places she has never been to in the physical plane. Being like a sponge, however, she is able to absorb all her experiences reading as though it were real.
4. Her simplicity
Given the chance, she wouldn’t wear anything but a white shirt and a pair of jeans. She doesn’t like uniforms. She isn’t even fond of gowns, though she could definitely carry one when the occasion calls for it. She’s a homey person, you wouldn’t feel out of place in her presence.
5. Her empathy
It may not look like it, but she is crying with you within in your hour of sadness. She can reach your darkest darkness, feel your pain and listen to you as no other friend ever could.
6. Her fiery spirit
Sometimes she has quite a temper that would just burst if she feel she or someone else she loves is being taken advantage of.
7. Her love for gadgets
Gadgets and tools are definitely her thing. She can tinker on things here and there and come up with the next great invention to make life easier for all of us.
8. Her thoughtfulness
If you think everybody else has forgotten you, think again because she remembers. She will greet you on your birthday and give you a surprise gift. She would make you feel important, that you belong. You are being thought of, and that is very important these days when people are just too busy to care.
Start Your Own Journey
It is never too late to start your own journey of loving yourself more. When you love yourself, you become more capable of loving other people. When you love yourself, you radiate a certain happiness that can make this world a better place to live in.
It is not loving ourselves we should be guilty about but not loving ourselves enough. It is not taking care of our needs we should be guilty about but not attending to our needs and then demanding the same from others who could never give it to us.
Be not afraid of your own beauty. Shine forth your light and forget not who you really are.