This article will provide you with much useful advice on how to begin to love yourself and increase your level of self-esteem and self-acceptance, including tips from a number of self-help experts who have written special contributions.
To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance. [Oscar Wilde]
Why are most of us so desperate to be loved by someone else when all we need to do to be happy and fulfilled is learn to love ourselves? And why do most people find it so difficult to love themselves?
One obvious answer is that our society has developed a massive stigma around the idea of loving yourself. Most people are afraid to love themselves because they dread being told they are ‘up themselves’.
The good news is that we are able to unlearn all of this negative conditioning and replace it with new positive, healthy and loving mental and emotional programming. And, thankfully, there is now a strong trend towards making self-love cool. Many celebrities have been promoting self-love in recent years, including pop star Katy Perry, world number one tennis player Serena Williams and Aussie swimming superstar Leisel Jones.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that low self-esteem leads to low quality of life. For instance, Dr. Yellowlees (1996) states that low self-esteem seems to operate as a predisposing and contributory factor in the development of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, alcohol abuse and drug abuse.
On the other hand, high levels of self-esteem have repeatedly been shown to lead to life satisfaction, happiness, healthy behavioural practices, and academic success (Harter 1987, Rumberger 1995, Swenson & Prelow 2005).
While researching this article, I posed the following question to self-help experts: “What practical suggestion would you make for people to increase their level of self-love?” This is how they replied:
- Because it is easier to love someone else than oneself, try to treat yourself like someone you don’t know: be as kind to you as you would be to them. [Alain de Botton, author of The Consolations of Philosophy]
- Forgive yourself for everything from your past that is not pure joy. [Sondra Ray, author of I Deserve Love, and Markus Ray]
- Give yourself the advice you’d give a friend. Tell you how good you are. Tell yourself of your positives. Talk to yourself as a great friend would. When you do this, you start to shift outside of your box, and realize that things don’t quite hold the gravitas you attached to them! [Karl Moore, author of The 18 Rules of Happiness]
- To increase your level of self-love, you need to take time out, slow down, connect to your body, listen to its messages and apply the wisdom of your body. [Inna Segal, creator of Visionary Intuitive Healing®]
- Look at yourself in the mirror every morning, smile and say, “You look amazing and you’re going to have a wonderful day.” You can accompany this outrageous statement by punching the air, wiggling your hips or winking seductively – whatever takes your fancy! (Best done out of earshot of any potential detractors…) [Stella Woods, LivingNow magazine’s astrologer]
If this article strikes a chord for you, you will gain great benefits from reading one or more books on how to increase your level of self-love / self-esteem. The following books expand on some of the points raised in this article and also provide many more valuable insights and practical exercises:
- I Deserve Love by Sondra Ray
- You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
- Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
- Treasure Yourself by Miranda Kerr
The lyrics of the last song you heard often repeat in your head for a long time afterwards, acting as mental programming, which directly affects your mood. The cumulative effect of thousands or millions of songs during the course of your lifetime has a profound effect. Many beautiful songs have a very destructive effect because of lyrics such as “I can’t live if living is without you”, which promote low self-esteem. I cannot stress strongly enough the immense value of listening to positive songs that promote self-love and self-esteem, such as:
- The Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston (originally by George Benson)
- Firework by Katy Perry
- Born This Way by Lady Gaga
- Ridin’ Solo by Jason Derulo
Marc White! aka ‘The Inspirer’ is an inspirational singer / songwriter / author. He is the author of The New Age Book, based on the 22 ‘New Age Values’ affirmations, which summarise the beliefs and values of the people involved in the personal development movement.
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