I believe we are born naturally loving ourselves. Then, a panoply of various circumstances and experiences compound over the years, providing fertile ground for our egos to collaborate with those past mistakes and unfavorable experiences to condition us otherwise.
It then becomes our job to keep our egos in check and teach them how to use the wisdom gained from past experiences for our own benefit, rather than twisting it into (invalid) reasons for beating ourselves up.
When we learn to make truly loving ourselves an integral part of our lives, we live in a way that naturally attracts amazing things.
Try these three simple steps to loving yourself more:
1. Treat your body, mind, and spirit like they belong to someone you love deeply.
Have you ever heard the saying that if we treated our friends the way we treat ourselves, we wouldn't have any friends? Kind of funny, I know -- but also eye-opening. Treat yourself with love, kindness, and compassion like you are your very best friend in the world -- like you are the hero of your life. Because you are.
2. Start consciously seeing even the smallest acts of self-care as acts of self-love.
The more you link taking care of yourself and doing things you enjoy to loving yourself, the more you'll see that love grow, and the more you'll find it showing up. Whenever you do what you love to do or take good care of yourself, make a habit of tuning in to feel in your bones how much you deserve this loving treatment. Allow those feelings to grow and be present within you.
Here's another thing that goes along with this: Begin to see saying yes to what others offer to do for you as an act of self-love. So often we tend to be overly self-sufficient, saying "Thanks, I'm good" when people offer to help us out. Begin to catch yourself turning down offers of help and then reprogram your mind to say, "Yes! Thank you! (Because I love myself and I deserve help.)" You'll not only feel less frazzled and overwhelmed, you'll also begin to feel more loved -- by yourself and others. Receive. It's awesome!
3. Know what a magnificent miracle you are. Truly! One of the things that will really crack open your heart to loving yourself fully is to really take the time to ponder what an incredible, amazing miracle you are (that we all are). Did you know you are literally made of stardust? Our bodies (and about everything else on earth) are made up of certain elements (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, etc.), and most of the elements on earth originated from within the center of a star. How amazing is that when you really think about it? We are connected with all things -- physically and energetically part of the vastness of the universe.
Our bodies are vehicles for our souls. Just like our bodies, our souls are who we truly are, and they are beautiful miracles here to learn, grow, and serve. You are a soul, residing within an incredible vessel, here to live the human experience. Everything you've gone through, every victory and every mistake, is part of that experience and was there to guide you in your journey and to your purpose.
Each of us deserves infinite love, and part of our purpose is to receive this love. We can honor this life we've been gifted by embracing that purpose through truly loving ourselves.
* Adapted from Operation Happiness - The 3-Step Plan to Creating a Life of Lasting Joy, Abundant Energy, and Radical Bliss (Rodale Books)