Loving yourself can be hard: Here's how and why to do it

Loving yourself can be hard: Here’s how to do it

Far from being the stuff of schoolyard sledges ("You're up yourself") knowing why and how to love yourself is a recipe for life success. Here's the simple tip to switch up your mindset.

Loving yourself can be hard. Years and even decades of conditioning mean it's tricky to not think you might be 'up yourself' if you have a healthy degree of self-love. Even for the most adept, it would be at least socially awkward to announce "I love myself" at your next party.

Well, I'm happy to take one for the team. I love myself. And I want you to know how to love yourself.

So here's how to do it.

Quick clarification: being humble isn't mutually exclusive from being confident. We're not talking bragging and boasting and madly blowing your own trumpet when we talk loving yourself. It's a much more gentle and important internal process than having what my nanna would call tickets on yourself.

First, you need to understand self love isn't about having a relationship with yourself where you think you think you’re better than anyone else.

Self love is how you relate to other people. Because how we relate to others is a really great window into whether or not we are loving ourselves.

(I'll be talking about ideas like this during TCI's live global 'How to Become a Relationship Coach' virtual training on November 7.)

Before I tell you how to fall in love with yourself, know that self love isn’t self care. It’s not spa treatments and cashmere socks and afternoon naps.

And it doesn’t come with a switch. You can’t hear the words ‘I should love myself’ and presto, you got it.

That’s not what it’s like. Because just like being able to get off a moving ski lift or knowing how to breastfeed, it takes practise.

Truth is, it is a practice.

I practise loving myself every day because it feels great, and you can learn to do it daily as well.

The relationships you'll have with yourself and others will be better. So ... here's how to fall in love with yourself:

PLAY NICE

Become aware of your judgement of others. This is a super reliable way to check how we’re starting to relate to ourselves.

If I’m getting really negative on the world and pointing out the things I think are wrong with everyone else, I’m going to notice everything that’s wrong with me.

So one of the beautiful practices we can bring into our life to deepen our own relationships with our self acceptance and self love is forgiveness.

LET IT GO!

Forgiveness is another thing I used to get wrong.

I used to think it was something to use only when someone had done the wrong thing ... borrowed my car and crashed it, stood me up a couple of times.

But forgiveness is the opposite of acceptance. If I don’t forgive someone, what I’m doing it withholding love not just from them but from me too.

And that means I’m the one who loses out. I’m not open to receiving my own love.

This is a frame you can use to love yourself. Think of a person in your life and ask, ‘Is my heart open or closed to this person?’

When I first learned this I became very aware of the weight of resentment and grudges I was carrying around. I was holding onto how everyone had let me down.

It was heavy. And walking around with these massive burdens of withholding love from people meant I wasn’t giving myself love.

Here’s how I let it back in: I simply started using forgiveness. I said, ‘I forgive this person. I forgive this person. I forgive this person.’

And I let it go.

I practice this daily. I pay attention to what it feels like when my heart is open: warm, connected to other people, not overly worried about things.

When we have an open heart we see the greatness and potential in other people. And that means we see it in ourselves as well.

Loving yourself might be tricky to start with. It will move from being a challenge to a gift.

It's one I'll be handing over to anyone who books a free spot here for 'How to Become a Relationship Coach' virtual training on November 7. It's all about how we can takes these ideas and use them as tools to help people deepen their relationships with themselves and others.

I'd love to see you there!

Matt Lavars is one of Australia's leading coaches, trainers and speakers, and head facilitator at The Coaching Institute. In between mentoring thousands of coaches and leaders all around Australasia and helping others build incredible culture, Matt is passionate about fitness and music. His healthy office lunches whipped up in five minutes are the stuff of legend.

Matt Lavars
Matt LavarsThe Coaching Institute