5 Ways To Show Yourself The Love You Deserve

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5 Expert Tips On How To Love Yourself & Start Practicing Self-Respect

Many people get the wrong idea when it comes to understanding how to love yourself. Practicing self-respect should be a constant in your life — not just something you indulge in from time to time, like getting your nails or going to the spa.

In fact, in many cases, you might be treating everyone else in your life — and perhaps even certain beloved possessions — better than you're treating yourself!

For instance, I love my Tesla. In fact, I am obsessed with "My Handsome Beast" (you get to name your vehicle), and I treat him with great tenderness, respect and love ... or according to my kids, as a living being.

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But right now, I'm consumed by self-pity and shoving an entire Dove chocolate bar into my mouth, while blaming it on the full moon and a house filled of testosterone-driven, strong-willed teenage boys. They somehow manage to push every button in my tender, motherly heart. What got me so upset tonight, though, was the way they spoke to me: Rude and offensive — disrespectful.

But as the silky chocolate seduces my senses, a thought occurs: If I demand others to treat me with respect, how come I don’t do it to myself? Like right now, I'm imposing sugar on my innocent body.

We live in a world of psychology based on the universal law of physics called cause and effect, where our mentality (cause) evokes corresponding responses from people in our life (effect). Which means, if I don’t treat myself with respect, then others will not respect me, either. They simply can’t reflect back to me what I don’t feel inside. Ouch.

So basically, if I want my teens to regard me in a respectful manner, I’ve got to treat myself the same way I treat my car: With great tenderness, acceptance, and love.

“But the car is just a beautifully engineered piece of machinery,” my mind peeps, “and I am an imperfect human, messed up on so many levels. How can I love myself unconditionally when there are so many things wrong with me?”

Here is self-judgment, the worst form of self-betrayal. But then, what is respect anyway? Could it be connected to worthiness? Perhaps. And what if human worthiness is this innate state in each of us, and there is nothing you and I need to do to justify it? Like the air, it exists because it exists, despite our weaknesses and imperfections. So how come I don’t feel worthy?

A long time ago, when I was little, I created a handful of mental statements, or beliefs, suffocating my natural expression of self-love and respect, such as: I don’t matter; something is wrong with me; I am not good enough; I can’t do it; it’s not up to me because I’m not in control … something along those lines.

It’s great and horrible at the same time. Great because this awareness initiates healing, and horrible because self-directed hatred is the worst form of bullying — it brings the vilest suffering.

As this realization hits me, suddenly, the hand holding the chocolate freezes in mid-air. I realize how awful it sounds and put the candy down. I want to change, and assuming that you do too, let’s give it a try.

Find one thing or person that really matters to you — something or someone you fully accept and cherish. You notice yet dismiss its imperfections. It could be your car, your dog, your wedding band, your grandkid; it really doesn’t matter what it is — aim for the emotional response it triggers within you.

Now, focus on how this object of your attention makes you feel. Remember, there is no judgment; aim for an emotion of love. And now, once that’s ignited, shine it inward toward your imperfect, wounded self. Let the arms of love embrace you and hold you indefinitely, and let your mind attune you to this awareness, which will make you feel worthy.

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Here are 5 expert tips on how to love yourself a little more every day that will help you start practicing self-respect:

1. Recognize that you're a human with flaws.

Accept that you’re a human being and stop making yourself wrong for being one.

If I nit-pick about my car getting dirty, my golden retriever shedding or my backyard rose garden wilting, I will hate them, too. But instead, I see these imperfections and accept them. Do you know what I’m talking about? This is how you must treat yourself from now on. That’s what love is.

2. Be your own best friend.

Have mental conversations that inspire self-approval and empowerment. If you’re not on your side, then how can you expect others to be? Besides, no one knows and understands you better than you know and understand yourself. So always try to be your own best friend.

3. Take care of yourself.

Life is stressful, and prolonged stress can affect your nervous system and eventually weaken your immunity. Nourish your body with good nutrition, and your mind with meditation. Find ways to soothe yourself in times of distress, such as taking an Epsom salt bath, lighting a lavender scented candle, listening to a motivational speaker, or calling a positive friend.

Care for yourself in the same way you would for your most precious possession.

4. Become selfish — in a good way.

This means that your needs come first before you say yes to others. When you dedicate your life to pleasing others without checking in with yourself first, you will end up suffering and eventually resenting the ones you said yes to. That’s not about service and contribution, but more about needing other’s attention and approval — all signs of low self-esteem. And that’s not who you are.

5. Pick your battles wisely.

Walk away from unnecessary drama and negativity. But stand up for yourself when you must and set healthy boundaries. It’s your right to communicate your needs and preferences, and only you know what those are.

You’re not doing anything wrong by expressing how you feel, and you’re worthy of having your needs fully met and acknowledged.

And so, this morning, as I’m wiping the dirt off the creamy leather seats in my Tesla, I cleanse my mind of my childhood programming and ask myself, “What can I do for you? How can I love you more? How can I treat you better?”

Just asking these things in this way is so powerful, because it creates the habit of checking in with yourself and listening. It gives you an opportunity to learn how to love yourself and treat yourself right. And in time, this will help you create a happier,healthier lifestyle of self-respect and self-love.

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Katherine Agranovich, Ph.D., is a medical hypnotherapist, holistic consultant, and author of Tales of My Large, Loud, Spiritual Family. As the founder of the Achieve Health Center, she helps men and women attain mental-emotional alignment and close the gap between where they are and where they want to be.