The First Step To A Better You, Is Respecting Yourself
It’s a winter afternoon as I am writing this. At least Delhi is cold now. I celebrated my birthday 3 days back. My school friend flew down from Kolkata and it was a beautiful affair. She left yesterday, and today, I sit to take a stalk of my life.
As you grow older, the meanings of things in life change. Life teaches you. You mellow down. At least I did. Birthdays now mean gratitude and appreciations. For me, it is a time where I appreciate and acknowledge my journey. No, it was not always like this. This appreciation came after my struggles with self hate. Yes, there was a time, I hated everything about myself. I remember walking to a therapist one day, all of 22 and deeply miserable. She asked me what was that I was looking forward to. The first thing I ever uttered was that I don’t want to be who I was. I wanted my therapist to change me to someone else, through therapy. Imagine the kind of self-rejection/hatred I lived with. Now that I look back at that 22-year-old, I can almost hug her and say, “Hey, there is nothing wrong with you.”
The greatest agony is that of not wanting to live with who you are.
Neither our education system nor our social system equips us to love and accept ourselves. No child is born with self-rejection. We learn to love or hate ourselves the way our parents/guardians/caregivers treat us as children. If we were neglected or criticized too much, we start believing that we are not worthy of love or acceptance. And in adulthood, we repeat all our childhood patterns, consciously or unconsciously.
It’s like the first dance we learn - when the music plays, we repeat the steps we have been taught. The partners we choose in our lives or the people who show up in our lives reflect who we are within; they’re like mirrors. And sometimes the reflection is ugly. Most of the time, we blame the people and we have no idea why the same kind of people come in our lives. Here is the truth. The people around you are just reflecting the relationship that you have with yourself. I have spent years looking for the elephant in the room, until one day I realized - I was the elephant in the room. That moment was life-altering.
What do you do, when you are in a bad place in life? What do you do, when you meet with pain and rejection? These are the moments the Universe is sending you signals that there are other ways to live a better life. Your pain is a note from the Universe that you deserve better. Let me remind you, that pain is not natural. It is a call for you to look at things you never did. Pain is a reminder, not a natural state.
What Is Self Love?
You are your lifelong companion. Self-care should be of utmost importance to you. It is about having the courage to look into your own darkness and opening the door to light - that light is self-love. Self-love is the gift you give yourself that protects you in the darkest nights. It is the tenderness you offer yourself when the world is harsh on you. But the million dollar question is how does one love oneself?
How To Practice Self-Love
Everything around us tells us to reject ourselves. We are always too fat or too thin or too successful or too lazy. The conversations with ourselves are mostly the same words our parents/guardians told us when we were children. Our culture tells us that we need to be disciplined and from womb to womb, we carry those patterns. Until we cannot take it anymore. Self-negation is the root that creates disharmony in an individual which comes out as hatred to the outer world. People who love and accept themselves, don’t hurt others. Hatred is a vicious circle.
The good news about self-love is that the brain can be rewired and reprogrammed. You can always change the story. You can always wake up to new choices. That is the gateway to a new life. Here are a few steps that you can follow:
Self Parenting: This is vital to change your story. We can go on and on about how we were hurt. There is always that parent/teacher/guardian who scared us. But will it benefit us today? There is a child within each one of us. No matter how grown up or intelligent we become, that child within us runs the bigger picture. That child shows up mostly in intimate relationships. That child is what I call, ‘our personal holy grail’. Once you tend to that child, the game changes.
Imagine yourself to be that child and talk to it. Tell her that you love her and that you will forever support her. It might tell you things long forgotten. Listen. You might exactly do what your parents/guardians did. Get angry. But that’s okay. Go back to loving and supporting that child. Every night tell yourself that you love yourself. It might look like a lie first. Still, do it. One day you will believe it. The brain will accept it. This is your first step towards healing, towards acceptance. Do, this twice a day. Tell that child all the things you wanted to hear. Use all praises. You have my word, your world will blossom.
Self Appreciation: Say ‘thank you’ to yourself for being here, now. We are so obsessed with criticizing ourselves that over the years we almost forget the good we have done, the kindness we have manifested. Without which, the world would be lesser. Self-appreciation means acknowledging the good that is within you. This self acknowledgement brings wonder to your life and what you acknowledge, you manifest more. Make it a habit every day to acknowledge your own good.
Honor Your Calling: Within you lies the roadmap to greatness. The source that created the Universe, created you. You are embedded in all that is kind, good and beautiful. Honor that gift. Each one of us has a gift. For me, it is writing. For you, it can be mountaineering. Or maybe gardening. There is something within you that excites you. That excitement is the roadmap to your calling. Your calling might not be your profession. Still, honor it. Hone it. That is your legacy to the world. The world needs that gift. That gift will bring wholeness to your soul. Take the first step. Do what excites you. The Universe will bless you beyond your imagination.
Talk Good About Your Life: Every word that you speak has energy. That energy lives and creates more of it and finally comes back to you. Stop complaining. Complaining just brings more things to complain about. Use that same energy to create what you love. The energy that you put out, comes back. Call it karma or justice. It always does. The curses you put out or the blessings you put out comes back.
Speak well of others and yourself. Stop beginning a conversation that says how your life/work sucks. You don’t need to lie about life for sure. You also don’t need to put out so much of negativity out in the Universe. You are the messenger of your life, what you put out, you attract. Speak well. These small changes in life come back as a fertile ground to create an abundant life.
Practice Gratitude: I cannot emphasize enough, how practicing gratitude changed bitterness into forgiveness. Gratitude is the energy that opens doors to abundance. Right now, say a thank you to the Universe for bringing you here. At first, when you start thanking, it might sound weird. But nothing attracts well in life like gratitude does. Each hour, or at least before going to bed, thank the Universe for everything it provided you today.
I remember after my brief hospitalization, I was home recovering. That morning I was lying upset in my bed. That day, I decided to practice gratitude. I started thanking the Universe for sending the sunlight through the window, that fell on my bed. It might sound or feel weird, but practice it. Feel it. Nothing can change the quality of life as gratitude can. The Universe loves grateful hearts. If nothing, thank the Universe for the breaths. You have my word - the Universe will send you more experiences to be grateful about. Personally whenever I can in the day, I offer my gratitude. It keeps me so high in spirit that I can’t stop but express more of it. Gratitude can take you to places where the high and mighty cannot.
Use Affirmations: Say what you want in the present. Say, “I am abundant,” “I am loved.” “I am safe,” and so on. Say any good that you want in the present. The Universe does not understand time. What you say, the energy manifests in the present. Keep using as many positive affirmations you want. Most importantly say, “I love myself.” Fake it till you genuinely feel it. Whatever you say repeatedly, becomes your personal story. Say good to and about yourself. You will end up manifesting it.
These simple changes changed my life. I was the girl who hated herself once and today, I am sharing my story of how things changed. True, self-love is a lifelong journey, but this journey has the power to bring you a fulfilled abundant life. Also, do read Louise Hay’s book, “You can heal your life.” That book helped me a lot on this journey of self-love. Hear her out on YouTube.
Commit to personal change. The Universe changes the moment you change. You are the truth the Universe loves and honors. God is within you. If you do not honor and nurture you, how can a battered God bless you? Nurture all that is good within you. A nurtured woman attracts everything that nurtures her back. You are the center of your Universe, money/relationships/health are the byproduct of what you hold you. If you nurture yourself with love, the Universe will rush to bring you all that is loving.
How did you like this article? Do you agree with Paromita?
This article is written in response to the comments in one of our articles titled, Chances Are You're Looking At The Wrong Places For A Soulmate by Paromita. We were asked by our members on how to invest in ourselves and Paromita penned down this for the lovely ladies on SHEROES. Keep believing in yourself!
Pragati Prajapati: “That's good but can you please tell me how you did it? What kind of investment in yourself
Madhura Kelkar: But I don't know how to love myself.”
P*****Loved this article. This is exactly what I was thinking this am :)
R*****Oh yes very much. In a push over hurried westernised and industrial culture the relationships are economics driven and lead to serious alienation and illness for humans. Healthy self respect is a must.