Many people restrain themselves from living their full potential because they are afraid of not being accepted and loved if they do it.
The fact is that we all tend to be hard on ourselves.
We might look at ourselves through a lens that amplifies the things we would like to improve, neglecting all the things that we have already achieved.
We might allow our imaginative mind to navigate the future spirally recreating unpleasant scenes from our past.
We might disregard our deepest dreams due to the belief that something is expected from us.
We might listen to a little voice inside our heads that creates elaborated stories about what other people might think or say about us.
We might think that other people’s behaviors are reactions to our actions or to the absence of them.
We might allow people, things and circumstances to vastly influence our lives and affect our inner world.
We might hide our true self deep inside of us, being afraid to shine our light in the world…
Deep inside my heart, I’ve found a valuable key that has allowed me to better embrace my true self. I’ve found that our greatest potential can only emerge when we acknowledge and embrace our uniqueness with appreciation. When we water the seed that resides deep inside of us with care. When we nurture ourselves with all our love!
If you have been holding you back from achieving your potential, you might want to explore some of the tools I’ve been using along my journey to Self-Love.
TOOLS TO DEVELOP SELF-LOVE:
1. BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND
When you get caught up criticizing yourself, you can ask yourself what you would tell your best friend if he/she was going through the same situation.
Would you criticize and judge him/her?
Would you say harsh words and make that person feel guilty?
Or would you help him/her to see the issue in a new perspective?
Would you encourage him/her to find effective solutions?
Would you inspire that person to follow his/her heart?
Having these questions in mind and heart, ask yourself how you can be your own best friend.
By treating yourself as your own best friend, you are increasing your self-love.
2. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS
You can only love yourself when you embrace who you are. The first step is to find out “who you really are”. Take some time to identify your core values, the things that are really important to you. Ask yourself if you have been aligned with those values, if you have been using them as the compass of your choices and actions. Be truthful and acknowledge your true feelings, needs and dreams. Realize that you, like everyone else, have the right to be just the way you are.
By accepting yourself, you can open your heart to let the people you love know what your dreams and yearnings are.
By living your truth, you are loving yourself for what you are.
3. FORGIVE YOURSELF
Forgiving yourself and letting go of guilt open the doors to greater levels of self-love.
Looking at your past as a neutral observer can be a powerful catalyst for self-forgiveness.
You can choose a situation which you wish would have never happened. Look back and see yourself at that moment. Acknowledge that you believed what you were doing was a good idea. What you thought would be a good idea didn’t go well. You were not aware of the consequences. You acted according to the information you had by then. You were doing your best.
This realization can help you better accept what you have done and forgive yourself.
By forgiving yourself you make room for self-love.
4. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AS A NURTURING PARENT
When you acknowledge you’re being hard on yourself, you can also evoke the nurturing love of a parent witnessing his/her baby taking the first steps. Being aware that falling down is part of the journey. Holding the space for the baby to take the steps. Taking care of the baby when he hurts himself. Encouraging him to keep going. Celebrating the small victories until walking becomes a natural skill. Loving the little baby all the way.
You have the power to choose taking good care of yourself as you would take care of this baby.
You love yourself by treating yourself as your own nurturing parent.
5. ACKNOWLEDGE AND FEEL YOUR VALUE
When you commit to work on yourself, you might focus on the rough edges you want to smooth, forgetting to acknowledge that you are a valuable gem.
By practicing this technique, you might find that you have been unconsciously neglecting your true value and restraining yourself from shining your light in the world.
Look at you as if you were seeing yourself through the eyes of some people who are part of your life: family, friends, partner, children, colleagues, coach, clients, acquaintances and others. Identify your positive character traits, qualities, strengths and skills. Acknowledge your true value and appreciate yourself from the heart.
By acknowledging your value, you boost your self-love.
6. VISUALIZE RECEIVING GRATITUDE
This is a powerful technique that allows you to experience the elevated emotions of appreciation and love. Start by identifying some people whose lives you have positively touched over the years. Realize how your presence, smile, care, support, love or simple acts of kindness have affected them. Next, choose a few people who immediately come to your mind and heart. Then, imagine them in front of you. One by one, see them thanking you for who you are and for what you have done for them, feeling their sincere appreciation and gratitude deep in your heart.
By opening your heart to receive the gratitude from others, you can increase the love for yourself.
Finally, it’s important to be aware that self-love fuels the love from others.
When we love ourselves more, we feel worthier of receiving love from others. This sense of worthiness creates the space for more love to be experienced.
By radiating self-love from our hearts, we allow our love to be reflected back to us.
Just like tuning in a radio station, we tune into the people and things that will allow us to experience more love.