“Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Be true to yourself. How you treat yourself sets the standard for how others will treat you.” ― Steve Maraboli
It’s been a while since we made our New Year’s resolutions, and all our vows are quite well-intended. Exercise more. Pick up a long-lost hobby. Reconnect with friends. Maybe you’ve been sticking to your resolution, or maybe you’re disappointed that you haven’t gotten things quite off the ground yet. But no matter how things are going, I urge you to tack on one additional resolution this year:
Love yourself as you are right now.
I’m a very self-critical and goal-oriented person. I hold these traits dear because they made me who I am today. But being driven comes with its own set of problems. I am hard to satisfy, and I find there’s a fine line between self-criticism and self-doubt, even self-loathing. I want so much to become a future version of myself that I often forget I’m a pretty great person today.
If you find yourself in the same boat, here are a few tricks I’ve taught myself to keeping loving the current me:
Know when you’re being overly critical of yourself.
A good rule of thumb is, if criticism helps you become a better person, then it works. If criticism only succeeds in making you feel bad, give yourself a break. Stop criticizing yourself and instead focus on what makes you a good person now (even if it’s only that you’ve recognized you want to change, which is a huge first step). Once you can find something good about yourself, break down criticism into small actionable goals you can achieve.
Keep a list of your good qualities.
It’s easy to be lost in all the things that are “wrong” with you. We keep this mental list at the forefront of our minds. Make sure you cultivate a list of all the things that you are good at. Write it down if that helps and refer to it as often as you need it. There’s nothing arrogant about recognizing the ways in which you rock.
Make time to love yourself.
Praise yourself the way you would compliment others. Give yourself a smile in the mirror on your way out the door. Notice how you make time to help others even when there’s nothing in it for you. Make sure you’re giving yourself a daily pat on your own back, even (or perhaps especially) if you’re having a rough day.
Celebrate past victories.
The current version of yourself was once a “future you.” Think of all the times you worked hard and succeeded in the past. For example, if someone praises you at work, remind yourself that you earned it through past efforts. Knowing that you worked hard in the past can make it easier for you to love the current you.
Remind yourself that happiness is relative.
You may think that in order to be happy, you need X, Y, and Z. But in reality, people living the hardest lives can come out smiling while others with all the wealth and luck in the world remain unhappy. It is possible to love yourself right now, no matter the circumstances. If you can’t do it on your own, don’t be afraid to find help in loved ones, counselors, or support groups.
Loving yourself has all sorts of positive benefits, so if you need any more motivation, know that you can’t become a better person if you don’t love your own potential. And here’s to a great 2015!