February 14th is here and some of us are set to receive Valentine's cards from others. But if nothing arrives in our mailbox this year we don't need to feel like sad rejects. Instead, we should be focussing on boosting our self-love, for increasing the amount we love ourselves will make us more attractive and lovable to others.
According to the song, learning to love yourself is the greatest gift of all, but it isn’t something that comes naturally to most of us. People who can’t find a multitude of things wrong with themselves are in the minority. You know the old story – your hair is the wrong colour, or it’s curly instead of straight or vice versa. Your nose is too long, your eyes too small and your figure is completely the wrong shape. You haven’t got as much character as your friends and you’re not as clever and so it goes on. But unless you like yourself you don’t stand much of a chance of being in really good shape. Show me someone who is happy with their life and their shape and I pretty much guarantee that they have good self-esteem and like who they are.
No one is perfect
The truth is that no one is perfect, and many of us will probably never be entirely satisfied with our lot, but we can get close to it. However, while there is always room for improvement, it is important we recognise the good things about ourselves that make us who we are. Take my quiz to find out if you love yourself enough and if you don’t, discover what to do get you back on the self-love track.
Answer Yes or No to the following questions:
- Do you love yourself?
- Do you always think everyone is better looking than you?
- Do you dislike your shape?
- Do you think you are too fat?
- Do you think you are too thin?
- Do you avoid looking at yourself in the mirror?
- Are you embarrassed to undress in front of others?
- Do you shy away from wearing figure-hugging clothes?
- Do you skip meals in order to lose weight?
- Are you constantly on a diet?
- Do you ever make yourself sick after eating?
- Do you always concentrate on your bad points rather than your good points?
- Do you take no pride in your appearance?
- Are you embarrassed to make love with the lights on?
- Do you always think your partner is looking at others?
- Do you tend to dwell on the failures in your life rather than all the good things that have happened?
- Do you smoke or drink alcohol to make you feel better about yourself?
- Do you often doubt your ability to succeed?
- Are you afraid to ask questions in public for fear that you will be laughed at?
- Do you wish you were someone else?
- Are you unhappy with what you have achieved in life?
If you answered Yes to more than three questions it’s time to learn how to feel more positive about yourself.
Take five minutes
Take five minutes out and find a comfortable place to sit and relax. Now make a list of five things you like about yourself and another five you like about your body. Read the list through, add to It and remind yourself every day.
How to be positive
Being outgoing and optimistic is more likely to bring success than spending time introspecting. There is plenty of evidence that those who believe they will be successful usually are. So if you are short on confidence make a point of indulging in some positive thinking for ten minutes every morning when you wake up and before you go to sleep at night. Get a vivid picture of your attractive self going through life being incredibly positive and see things through those positive eyes.
Spend time imagining yourself in ideal physical shape, looking and feeling great with good things happening to you. Maybe you are indulging in passionate encounters or enjoying the company of new friends.
Perhaps your daydreams will centre round success in your studies or at work, or you want to look and feel attractive to others. Whatever you decide to focus on, make the images in your mind so realistic that you can actually feel you are the experiencing the situation. It may take some practice, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes like watching a movie. Remember, unless you feel positive about yourself it's much harder for others to love you.
Pat yourself on the back
Keeping a note of your daily achievements, however small, will help you to feel satisfied. It is too easy to move on to the next thing, or even the next day, without acknowledging what you have actually accomplished. Again, we tend to fixate on the negative, our mistakes and things that perhaps we later regret. Making time to review your successes helps to build your self-esteem. Get yourself a notebook, and write in it on a daily basis as you would a diary. Review it regularly so that you can congratulate yourself.
Make yourself proud
Life can be so demanding that it’s all too easy to go from day to day fulfilling your own needs without stopping to consider the needs of others. A big part of liking yourself is the reward that comes from helping to make other people’s lives more pleasant. Take time out each day to do one Random Act of Kindness. You might be surprised how much of a buzz it will give you.
Living your dream
We don’t always get what we dare to dream without putting in a little effort. If you talk to six different people, you will probably find six quite different views on how to succeed in life and fulfil dreams. Some may even suggest that there is no point to dreaming, for fate will take charge of your destiny. We are each perfectly entitled to our own view, but there is now significant evidence to suggest that you can get much of what you wish for by applying specific techniques. Positive thinking and visualisation, when channeled correctly, can go a long way to getting you where you’d like to be, in the shape that you would like to be in.
It is worth taking time out each day to visualise yourself just the way you would like to be. Experts believe we are at our most suggestive first thing in the morning when we wake and last thing at night just before going to sleep. So start and finish the day with a five- or ten-minute visualisation of yourself just the way you would like to be, slim, attractive, fit, successful, on a beach, with the partner of your dreams or whatever takes your fancy, and imagine living life as your ideal self. Visualising is an acquired skill, so if it doesn’t happen in full Technicolor and your mind keeps wandering at first, stick at it, as you will eventually get the hang of it and hopefully start living your dreams. You have nothing to lose and it’s a positive, fun and therapeutic way to begin and end the day. Regular visualisation of your ideal scene will help you feel great and love yourself a whole lot more.
Plan to fall in love with yourself this Valentine's as it will make your heart sing!