How to Love Yourself and Why It's So Important


All about Self-Love

It’s Time to Love Yourself.  You Deserve It.

Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Today is a day we always think about showing or giving love to others.  I have a challenge for you though – what if we were to step back and think about showing that same love to ourselves?  How much happier might we be?  How much more capacity to love and give to others would we have?  Today my wish for you is that you show yourself as much loves as you do for others

Because we are human beings, we have all experienced self-hate in one form or another.  Sometimes it’s hating our physical bodies.  Sometimes it’s being harsh and judgmental of our own actions or thoughts.   To manage this hate and discontent, our brain searches desperately for ways to change our body or change who we are to fit a certain mold that might be more lovable. 

I often hear “If I just lost “x” number of pounds, then I could be happy” or “If I were better at “x” then I could be just as successful as this person”.  But what if we made a complete 180 with our thinking:  What if you started practicing accepting the person you are right now including the body you currently live in?  What if you decided to choose yourself instead of constantly wishing you were someone else or looked differently?   I know this sounds like a radical thought but hang with me.

The recent action by Weight Watchers to offer a free membership to teens this summer shows that the body and self-hate message starts EARLY.  This study found that 50% of the 3rd-6th graders interviewed wanted to WEIGH LESS.  70% had heard about dieting from family members.  Wow.  

I so desperately want to change this dissatisfaction trajectory for you.  I want to change it for every child out there who feels like they aren’t good enough.  Will you help me do that?

Today, instead of giving all our love to others while we secretly sit by and hold on to self-hatred and body dissatisfaction, let’s make the choice to think about all the reasons we are thankful for our body, for ourselves. 

I have a feeling that if we make the commitment to do this some INCREDIBLY POWERFUL things could happen.  When you love yourself, the world is yours for the taking. 

How to make an Active Choice to Love Yourself

Because I know this whole self-love thing doesn’t come easily for most of us, I have some ideas to get you started.  Remember that saying, Love is a verb?  It’s true and definitely true when it comes to loving yourself.  Its an active choice.  You will have days where you feel great about yourself and some where you don’t.  Finding ways to actively show yourself love will strengthen your inner compassionate self. 

1. Write a love letter to yourself

OK I know this sounds weird and mushy gushy, but I promise it can be powerful.  You might find you have trouble thinking of nice things to say about yourself.  I always tell my clients to develop their compassionate self, start with pretending it’s a close friend or loved one saying the nice things to you.  Or think about what you would say to someone you care about.  Here’s one I wrote to myself:

Dear Self,
Wow, what a year this has been! This year I'm more thankful for my body than ever before.  My body did some incredible things - it grew, nourished and birthed a beautiful baby boy.It's now continuing to sustain him through breast milk.  
It's amazing what this body is capable of.  I'm thankful my body is healing from that birth and that I'm able to run and play with my 2.5 year old again.  Physical and emotional change can be hard, and it feels good to focus on what my body can do, rather than compare myself to others, or try to measure up to impossible standards, created for postpartum women by our society.  There will be no "bouncing back" or crazy diets happening here!  
I'm also proud of myself.  I'm proud for the times this year when things felt impossible, and I kept putting one foot in front of the other.  I'm proud of myself for asking for help when I needed it.  I'm proud of the times when things didn't turn out how I expected, and I chose to acknowledge it for what it was, learn from it and move forward.  Thank you for choosing to be you!
Love, Nikki

2. Do something nice for yourself

What do you need?  What will make you feel human again?  It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.  Sometimes it’s curling up in bed and reading a good book.  Maybe it’s a new haircut, or a massage.  What brings you joy and happiness?  Go do that whatever it is!

3. Surround yourself with people who lift you up

The people around you can greatly impact your happiness.  Choose to spend your time with people who lift you up and support you.  If you don’t have people like that in your life, keep looking and don’t stop until you find your tribe!

4. Stand up for yourself when people put you down

Life is too short to wait to tell people how you feel.  If someone makes you feel bad, let them know.  If someone does something that puts you down, practice finding your voice and speaking out.  You are more powerful than you know.

5. Help me by letting Weight Watchers know that their free teen membership campaign is NOT OK.

I know that this campaign will be so tempting for teens who are feeling unsure of themselves and wanting a smaller body, not because they need a smaller body, but because someone told them they weren’t ok and now they are searching for a way to belong.  This is sending the wrong message to our teens.  They can belong in this world in the body they have right now.  We can talk about healthy behaviors if there are unhealthy ones present but let’s not pretend that this campaign is about health.  It is about them creating customers for life by making vulnerable teens feel the body they have is not ok.  Dietitian and blogger Julie Duffy Dillon just wrote this great post about it. If you want to speak out against weight watchers with me, consider signing this petition

Now it’s your turn – go do something to show yourself some love today!