I sit in my room and play computer. I’m pretty tired because I woke up way too early this morning.
Actually, I wanted to do something for my business today, but I am absolutely unmotivated. When I play, my eyes almost fall shut.
I feel very strongly the bad conscience inside me that wants to tell me that I had other plans for today and still have to do some work. And on the other hand I just feel tired and exhausted.
The back and forth in my head does not make me happy and I lay down in bed for a nap.
After this nap, I force myself to my desk and work through it again consistently for 2.5 hours. Afterwards I turn on my computer game again.
And despite the work done I am dissatisfied with myself. I simply had more planned for this day. There is not much of love for myself in this moment.
With angry feelings about myself I fall asleep and the next day I transform this experience immediately. I sit at my desk early in the morning and work.
I am motivated and disciplined, and when I finish most of the tasks I set out to do by lunchtime, I wallow in a sense of pride and satisfaction. I love myself!
Why we do not love ourselves
This story exemplifies how it is for me personally. When do I love myself and when not?
And that’s what you get to find out for yourself. There will be more clues about this later.
But where does it actually come from that many people have difficulty loving themselves?
It has a lot to do with childhood.
After all, what do we often learn in early childhood??
Winning the love, approval and affection of others. This is perfectly normal. As a baby we depend on our parents and we learn very quickly behaviors to get what we need and want. And affection and love are part of it.
The fact that we can also give it to ourselves is something we often only come across later in life. In the best case! Often not at all.
And so many people live a life that is not oriented towards their true desires and needs, but towards pleasing other people.
Then a profession is taken up that is socially recognized. And a house is built and a nice car is driven, which is considered a symbol of wealth.
Nothing against having your own house or a nice car (everyone, as they like), but the underlying motivation is crucial here:
Do I want the car because I really want it or am I buying it to please others?
And so it goes with many things.
So the trick is:
"Living an authentic life, really knowing yourself and giving your own desires a higher priority than the expectations of others!"
I know how easy it is to say and write these things. And how difficult that sometimes is to implement in reality. But that’s exactly why you are here.
But how does it work now with self-love?
Let’s start on the other side:
The biggest enemies of self-love
I have just touched on this: There are things and behaviors that can get in the way of our love for ourselves.
1. Taking the opinion of others more important than one’s own opinion
There is nothing like the advice of a mentor or good friend. And there is nothing wrong with seeking help when you are stuck on something.
But it can be very damaging to one’s own self-esteem if one only pays attention to what other people think about one and if one makes all of one’s actions and thoughts dependent on the opinion of others.
If one has not yet developed the self-confidence for an independent life, then there is a danger that one will orientate oneself too much to other people and let them determine one’s own life to a great extent.
However, this does not lead to self-love, because one is preoccupied with pleasing others instead of looking for happiness in oneself.
If you expect yourself to always do things perfectly, then you can hardly meet your own demands and then it becomes difficult to love yourself as you are.
I think it makes a lot of sense to put effort into the things you do in life and pay attention to detail.
But that clearly has its limits. To learn where the transition to unattainable perfectionism is, is the task of the one who wants to learn to love himself.
I already mentioned this in the story above: Laziness can be a great "self-love killer".
Because if I have many beautiful things in my head that I would like to implement and achieve, but I just can’t get into action, then I am standing in my own way.
And to love myself in such moments is very difficult for me personally.
Again, nothing against a time out. As always, it’s the balance that does it. Not too much and not too little.
Learn to work exactly to the degree that is good for you.
4. Too high expectations
If you expect things from yourself that you simply can’t do, then you don’t have to be surprised if you are dissatisfied with yourself.
Some are lazy and therefore have a bad conscience and others work hard, but can never reach their ideal, because it is simply set much too high.
Nothing against big goals. On the contrary: absolutely big goals. But do not forget to give yourself the time it takes.
5. A negative self-image
How do you think about yourself?
What do you think of yourself as a person?
Would you like to be friends with you?
If not, then I recommend you to work on your self-image. Because with a negative self-image there is nothing to be done with self-love.
Learn to value yourself, focus on your positives and consciously deal with what is good about you. Promote your strengths and be good to yourself!
6. Don’t be a love yourself
When I’m in certain circles, I hear people around me blaspheming a lot about other people.
Complaining about how stupid colleague XY is and how stupid and unstructured the boss is, etc.
How do you want to be love if you stir up hate??
How do you want to love yourself if you are just looking for things in your mind that you don’t like in other people??
At this moment you are certainly not in a feeling of love!
Learning to love yourself
I’ll be quite honest now:
Why did I list "the enemies of self-love" here in the first place?
Very simple: Because you want to read this!
OK, maybe not you, but a lot of people. Many readers respond to the negative first. Look for the sensation, the bad news, the problems and the reasons why things are so bad for them or the world.
Just like in the newspaper or on TV.
If you feel caught now, then think carefully about how you really want to live your life. And if you want to love yourself, then put off the focus on negativity and look for love and positivity.
It is already there. It’s only up to you to see them and let them into your life.
And with the following tips it will be a little easier for you:
1. Balance expectation and reality
If a person weighs 120 kilos, has no job, lies on the couch in front of the TV all day and eats chips, and at the same time would like to be sporty, have a job that would fulfill him, be rich and weigh 80 kilos, then there is quite a big gap in between.
You can’t expect to reach such a goal in 2 weeks with such a starting position. And yet a great many people do.
Of course not to such an extreme degree as exaggeratedly described here, but they do it anyway. Often unconscious.
That’s why it’s true for you: Have goals, but give yourself the time you need to achieve them. Start where you are and work your way forward.
Accept yourself as you are.
And then make a clear picture of what you want and work towards it.
As always, continuity is more important than short-term overzealousness.
Change your habits little by little.
2. Learn to be good to yourself step by step
The same goes for the thoughts you have about yourself. Learn to be good to yourself. Forgive yourself, if it does not go so well for you sometimes.
Love yourself, even if everything is not perfect.
You are a unique person. Learn to appreciate that. As I said before: Focus on your goals and strengthen.
Talk positively in your head to yourself and about yourself. Acknowledge small successes and be grateful for what you have.
Practice this best consciously every day. A diary or daily meditation can help you to do this.
3. Listen to your needs
Find out what you really want.
Not what your parents want. Not what your partner wants. Not doing what your friends want. Not what society wants.
But what fulfills you and makes you happy.
No one says this is a quick and easy path. But it is the way that makes you happy and helps you to more self-love.
Here is an inspiration from me. That’s how you can approach the whole thing:
And finally a little video from my friend and colleague Tim. He, too, has done a lot of work on loving yourself and can give you one or two more pieces of advice.