We will love many people throughout our lives.  In all that time, the most important person you must learn to love is yourself – a good thing since you are the one person that is with YOU all time. That’s a lot of time spent with yourself to never learn how to love yourself.

Sometimes we might feel as if any time spent learning to love ourselves is in a way a selfish act – especially to some of us who were taught or made to feel that it’s not totally kosher to just want something for ourselves. Good girls look after other people and make them happy! In fact, the guilt trips  from others you might have experienced when trying to carve out time for yourself or sometimes, just saying no can be terrible and very unloving!

But in fact it is the greatest way to ensure that you have what you need in order to love others more fully. As you grow in your love for yourself, you learn to accept who you are, flaws and all, and eventually reach a place of inner peace and contentment. You become less concerned about someone else’s thought of you and accept your own opinion of your goodness and value.

These new positive feelings spill over into other areas of your life and you are moved to share and show even more love and acceptance toward others around you.  You might also find that it draws more positive people to your life who love you and want you to be happy – instead of the people who are taking, asking, and demanding something from you at YOUR expense.

What’s the best way to accomplish this in your life?

Find Your Definition of Happiness.  Ask one hundred people what it means to be happy, and you will get one hundred different answers. No two people have exactly the same definition of happiness. Each one of us has different goals and desires. Ponder the word happiness and think about what it truly means to you. What is the essence of that word in your life? When you have figured it out and the meaning has become clear, decide what you need to do in order to get there.

Don’t Rely on Others to Make You Happy. Other people can do things to make you happy.  You cannot, however, think that others are going to be enough to be your sole source of happiness. This will only lead to unmet expectations and disappointment and it is really not fair to put that burden on their shoulders.  Find happiness within yourself, and any happiness that comes from others will simply be a wonderful extra.

Stop Caring What Others Think About You. I consider this one, one of the most heinous reasons why we struggle with self love.  We look for and need the approval of others.  We make different decisions when we spend too much time caring about what someone will think of us and it almost always leads to shame and despair. Listen carefully – there is no way on this green earth that you will ever please everyone and you MUST stop trying. You cannot please everyone, you cannot!!  The only person who needs to be happy with you is you, so start living as though you believe it.

Martyr’s Die on the Stake. Take care of yourself. Don’t fall prey to the martyr mentality that insists on putting others first to the harm of your own health and wellbeing. While it is natural to want to put others first and there is nothing wrong with it, don’t neglect yourself in the process. As the saying goes, put on your own oxygen mask before attempting to put on anyone else’s.

Appreciate the Little Things. Realize that life is all about the small moments. They say that life is what happens while you are waiting for life to happen. It is true. Appreciate the little things and never take any small joy for granted. Take time to do the things that bring you those feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment, no matter how tiny they may be.

Give of Yourself. When you love yourself, you will naturally want to extend that love to others. Happiness is contagious, and when you care for yourself there will be plenty more to share with everyone around you. Find opportunities to bring joy into someone else’s day. This will only increase your own joy.

Loving yourself isn’t always something that comes naturally. Just the opposite – most of the time we spend most of our lives focusing on all that’s wrong with us and never appreciate what we bring to the world.

Well no more! Decide today to change your life for the better (and those around you in the process) by learning to love yourself and working on your own happiness. In the process, what we will give to the world is a better, more positive and happier version of ourselves – and that’s going to make life happier for everyone.

To your Beauty and Balance.