By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
It is hard to love others when you are starving for self-love.
You grow love in your life by daily creating small actions that nurture that love, for yourself and for others. If you don’t love yourself no matter how much others love you it will never be enough. Enlarge your feeling of being loved by working on the ability to love yourself. Below are some tips on how to feel better about yourself and develop that self-love.
Give yourself a round of applause. Recognize your accomplishments.
In order to feel better about yourself, you need to recognize the things you do well. Learn to praise yourself. You do not need to do great things to feel well about yourself. If you pay attention to the small things that you accomplish each day, over time this will add up to large accomplishments.
Unfortunately, many people were taught to be suspicious of recognition for their accomplishments. People used to think that the way to get better behavior from children was to constantly point out all their flaws. The result of this practice was to create non-affirming homes. If you grew up that way you are likely to find it difficult to recognize when you do things well. There’s no evidence that beating yourself up will make you a better person. There’s plenty of evidence that recognizing positive qualities improves your ability to feel good about yourself and raises your self-esteem.
Invest in your support system.
Having a team of people who support you will make you feel better about yourself. Developing that support system requires the investment of time and effort. Make sure that each day you spend some time calling or talking to a friend. Good friendships revolve around shared activities. Get out there and make friends.
Humans need other humans. When you don’t feel good about yourself, it is hard to be around others. Developing friendships requires an investment of time and effort. Make that investment in developing friends and creating a support system and it will pay dividends in the form of you feeling better about yourself. People who spend time socializing with other people feel more loved.
Make friends with your feelings.
Learn to make your feelings useful friends. Feelings provide you with information, don’t try to ignore those feelings. Somewhere along the line people got the idea that to have feelings was a bad thing. If you do not acknowledge what you feel when you feel it, then it becomes very difficult to recognize the feelings of love when you have it.
Sometimes in life, bad things happen and we need to be sad. Just because you feel badly does not mean that something terrible will happen. Accept that feelings change. Learn to surf those feelings and wait for the next round of happy, loving feelings.
Plan a better future.
Don’t get stuck in the belief that the way things are, or the way they have been in the past, is the way they must always be. Envisioned a better future for yourself and begin to work on creating it. Design plans for where you want to go in life and begin to do the work to get there. Set goals. As you make progress towards those goals give yourself credit for the successes you have created. Creating, planning and working toward a better future are ways to love yourself and to feel more loved.
Invest in yourself.
It’s hard to understand someone who loves a partner but is unwilling to ever give them a gift or spend time with them. To increase that feeling of love make it a priority to invest in yourself. Invest by spending time with yourself. Also, invest in things that make you feel good or meet your needs.
Make developing skills and continuing education a part of your ongoing investment in yourself. Developing interests and hobbies is not a waste of time, but an investment in creating a better quality of life.
Allow yourself to enjoy life.
All work and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy, it makes him a very unhappy and unloved person. Doing things to make yourself happy is not being selfish. Life is not all pleasure sometimes there’s work to do. But if all you ever do is work and can never enjoy yourself, life loses its meaning. Look for ways within your budget that you can make your life a more enjoyable experience.
Recharge your batteries. Rest and food.
Being overtired, hungry or thirsty creates feelings that will interfere with feeling good about yourself and with your self-love. You wouldn’t think someone loved you if they were unwilling to ever let you rest or to allow you time to eat and drink. Treat yourself the way you would like others to treat you.
Look for the good parts in every challenge.
If you approach everything in life as a terrible chore, all the pleasure goes out of your existence. Look for the good parts in every challenge. What strengths is this difficulty producing? What lessons do you need to learn from this? Practice spotting hidden happiness.
Talk nicely to yourself – Self-talk.
People in love talk nicely to their beloved. To feel more love by yourself and by others practicing saying the kinds of loving things to yourself that you wish others would say to you. Negative, critical self-talk decreases your self-esteem. Positive, loving self-talk increases your self-esteem. What you tell yourself becomes the way you feel. Feed your mind healthy thoughts.
Develop positive habits.
Get into the habit of doing positive things for yourself. Take the view that you deserve the best in life. Treat yourself in the best possible way to increase your feelings of self-esteem and make you feel loved.
Budget some time for fun.
Fun is not a waste of time. Sometimes even hard work can be fun. Make sure that you are including in your schedule things that are enjoyable or will recharge your batteries and make you feel good about yourself. It is important to include some time for having fun in each day’s activities.
Let yourself feel good by doing for others.
One secret that people who are happy and loving have discovered is that doing for others is not an inconvenience. It is a great way to make you feel good about your life. Don’t cheat yourself out of the opportunity to do little things for those you love. Practice loving yourself by doing random acts of kindness for others, even those you don’t know. Filling your life with loving gestures for yourself and others increases that loving feeling.
Do what you love – love what you do.
It’s been said and repeated often, but it’s still true if you do something you love, it is not work. Make it a point to do things that bring you joy.
Think about these ways that you might increase your ability to love yourself and how that might make you feel more loved by others. Which of these loving expressions will you practice?
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.