Many of us don’t love ourselves enough. And it would seem that it is not such a big deal, ‘So what I don’t love the way I look’. But this simple act has huge consequences. What it does is it hinders us in our lives, in our businesses, and it stops us from achieving our personal and life goals. I know this from personal experience.
When I was 6 or 7 years old, I was put in a class to form a new school choir. I loved signing so that sounded like fun. But what it did was created a class of 36 kids and 32 of them were girls, only 4 boys. Boy, that was a rough crowd. The girls were mean, they felt like a privileged group, and they were mean to anyone or anything who was not a part of their crowd. Well, guess what? I grew up with having copper-red hair, so that put me on the outside. Needless to say, the next 4 years were quite interesting. My parents ended up putting me into another class in a school next door just to change the scenery because they saw what that group of kids was doing to my child’s personality.
I was traumatized. I was bullied. I felt like I am not good enough, not loved enough, not pretty enough, and when someone even raised their voice at me, it made me jump and I instantly started crying thinking I’d done something wrong. It took me a long time to get over that. And I mean a long time. But slowly I recovered and started to love myself maybe for the first time ever.
So, how does one do that? If you have gone through anything even remotely similar, you are probably wondering, how do you get to the point when you loved yourself enough to put yourself first? Let’s talk about that.
Step 1: Open Your Heart
The first step is to sit down, open up your heart, and admit to yourself everything that happened. Write it down if that works for you, I am not a journal-kind of a person but I find that writing down my thoughts helps me to connect with the inner me. Or tell someone who will not judge you, tell it to your cat or a dog if you have one, or say it to yourself in the mirror.
The trick is to open up all the way. Don’t leave anything out. This will start the process of forgiveness because admitting what happened is the first step to that. Without this, you will never heal. If you feel that you’d like to get a professional to help you, then do that. I happened to date at the time someone who was trained to be a counselor although he did not have an on-going practice, so he helped me a great deal to ask the right questions so I could start to realize that I am not a fault. Which brings me to the next step.
Step 2: Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a huge thing. If you were the one to have done something that caused you to lose confidence in yourself, or if it was done to you, forgiveness is very important either way.
After you have opened up your heart and re-lived all the difficult moments, the next step is to forgive yourself for putting yourself through that – however small your part was, then forgive the universe for putting you in that situation – because most likely it was trying to teach you something, then forgive anyone who was involved and was the culprit.
In my case, I have long since forgiven those who were mean to me. I have forgiven myself for being the silly naive little girl, I have forgiven the universe for having to teach me this lesson. In actuality, without that lesson, I would not have become the person I am today so in actuality, I am extremely grateful.
Step 3: Look at the Bright Side
Give this a try. When you look in the mirror, and you look at yourself, usually what happens is that you see first the things that you don’t like, right? Admit it, I know it’s true. I used to say, I have big hair, a big nose, a small mouth, … the list goes on. But try this for me. The next time you look at yourself in the mirror, think only of the good things, the things that others love the most about you, the things that make you special.
I’ll give an example. For a long time, I used to hate my smile. As a matter of fact, anytime I’d see myself smiling with teeth open I would close my mouth. I guess I was not overly confident of my teeth, or I was thinking I looked too silly, I am not sure. But, one day I saw a picture of me someone captured when I wasn’t looking, and they captured me laughing. In this photo I am laughing from the bottom of my stomach, my mouth is wide, and for the first time, I saw something different. I actually loved the way I looked in that photo. I was free, relaxed, and I LOVED MY SMILE.
So, guess what? Now I smile all the time and especially in photos. I learned how to smile when someone points a camera at me – or I point it at myself which is quite often since I am a portrait photographer :-), I will do another post on this topic so you can learn how to do it too, but the point of the story is, don’t be too harsh. Love yourself, even the things that you now consider your faults.
Did you see the movie Good Will Hunting? There is a scene where … actually, let’s watch it together. It proves my point exactly.
What did you think of the scene? Isn’t it special? And better yet, aren’t you special? Well, of course, you are. You are not perfect, no one is. And it is time you accepted who you are, forgive yourself, and begin to love yourself for exactly who you are.
In my next blog article, I will tell you the steps you can take to take your uniqueness, those things you hate about yourself now and turn it into one of your best features.
Until then, bye for now. And remember, Love yourself because You Are Extraordinary 🙂