Hello, reader! If you are here reading this article, I assume you are exactly where I have been a several times — wanting desperately to be in a sweet, fulfilling relationship with this wonderful, moody, insatiable person that is yourself. Well, just the fact that you clicked on this link is proof that you are a step closer to getting there. (Or you are my sister religiously reading all my articles. Hi, Bee!) Now you should know that I will be making no promises about changing your life, creating unbelievable miracles or leading you to ultimate nirvana; I am fairly sure that you have an idea that I am not a voodoo magician, but only an optimistic girl, trying to make the world a better place one person at a time, by starting with my own self. So here it is ― a very simple, step by step representation to make you fall in love with yourself.
STEP 1 ― You need to honestly want it.
Do you REALLY want to fall in complete love and acceptance with yourself, or do you just like the idea of it? It is an acquired skill to go about life with a mediocre and pessimistic, “I hate myself and will deal with it by subtly self-sabotaging” mindset.
I first felt the desperate need for love when I was tired of how much society fuelled the idea of me hating every part of myself. I had grown up being told I needed to be attractive and was not good enough. So, I got my hair straightened at 14 years old, had rashes from using hair-removal creams at 15, refused to look at myself in the shower because I believed I was fat and ugly, hated my anxious self so I would punish myself by making reckless decisions and constantly tried to change myself, ending up still unhappy and starting the cycle over again. I was utterly miserable because no matter what I did, I just felt ugly, incomplete, chaotic and unhappy.
I first felt the desperate need for self-love when I was tired of how much society fuelled the idea of me hating every part of myself.
Then one evening after I had cried for an hour because my arms looked bulky in all my clothes, I put on a sleeveless dress and went out. Of course I felt self-conscious and hated it, but even though it seems like a totally insignificant thing to do, in a weird way I also felt liberated, and I knew that it was the start of something. Ask yourself ― “Am I in dire need of loving myself?” If yes, then keep reading.
STEP 2 ― Start with friendship.
I hope you are aware that your relationship with yourself is probably, merely that of an acquaintance. Imagine you have a roommate named <insert your name>. You are always around but hardly talk to them and when you do, you are highly judgemental, unkind and say things like “You’re such a big failure.“. Do you see how toxic this relationship is? Once you let that awareness sink in, take a deep breath and start over. Friendship is easy to build; you just slowly stir together likeness, kindness and thoughtfulness. Take time to brew yourself the perfect cup of tea when you are at home; add milk and sugar just how you like it. Notice and appreciate the collection of music that you have on your phone, and what that says about you. Do you like how your hair looks today? Say it out loud! I believe kindness is the solution to most problems in the world. Try it.
STEP 3 ― Do something special to express yourself.
It is high time you make yourself a priority. If you decide that you are the most important person to yourself, you will naturally choose your peace over anything in the world. When your friends or coworkers are insisting on going to that bar nearby and you really do not want to go, say no. Give yourself more alone time and do things that you actually enjoy. Some days when I am really stressed, I slow down and make room for a long shower. I then make myself a cup of coffee, light a couple scented candles and read Ruskin Bond. After all, I have been with myself for so long that I know exactly what’s special to me. So have you!
STEP 4 ― Take it slow.
I have been practicing self-love for a long time now and it has been a beautiful journey, but I still have days when I’m low and unhappy about myself. Do not lose heart if you are struggling to feel content, or to constantly love yourself – it is very, very natural and has to happen. To rush into a relationship or love is always a mistake. It takes time to get to know a person and their ways. You need to make a map out of yourself with complete awareness. Learn what you absolutely love and what triggers your deepest emotions. Notice how you flinch at that word, loathe that colour or how adorably, silly that milkshake-moustache looks at your upper lip. There is no rush to fall in love. You have to make space for hatred, sadness, empathy and adoration. All are welcome; all are home!
There is no rush to fall in love.
STEP 5 ― You need to have your back.
Have you ever been in a situation where someone says to you something like, “You would look so good if you lost some weight.” Or “Darling, honestly that haircut looks hideous!” Or “You just need to be a little less emotional.” And you know you feel hurt, but instead you respond with “Haha, I know!”
I cannot tell you how many times I have been there. I felt so sad and stupid when I eventually learnt what a mean and toxic behaviour that is; it is pretty obvious really. Every time you agree with someone commenting rudely on a part of you, you are in turn fuelling your insecurities. Stop doing that to yourself. From now onwards, make it certain to speak up for yourself often. No one tells you what you should or should not do. No one decides what you like or when you look good, other than your own self. Practice having your back.
STEP 6 ― When you’re comfortable, ease into commitment.
Like any other relationship, this too is a constant stream of highs and lows. But by now you will be in a place of awareness, understanding and sublime love for yourself. I hope you realize that we are conditioned to be unsatisfied with ourselves, so that a part of society benefits from our insecurities. Only by peacefully accepting our authentic self will we be able to accept the people around us as well. As soon as your realize that reality is only limited to your perspective, you will find that the world you are looking at is actually, yourself. You are the world. And for a better world, you need to find the peace within you. Now here you are. I hope you have a great journey onwards, dear reader!
Featured Image Credit: Lori Portka