How often do you put yourself down? Talk to yourself in negative way? Tell yourself that you’re not good enough?

Really think about how often you do this to yourself.

I’ve been there, and I am constantly critical of myself and what I achieve. Keyword: achieve. I measure myself by my successes, and when I fail, I take it as a self-reflection of my whole being — that I’m not good enough and I don’t have what it takes.

I realized that learning to accept yourself is crucial to self-love. Because at the end of the day, you have to spend a lot of time with yourself and your thoughts, and you should probably learn how to like yourself. Now, this sounds obvious, but if you take a step back and really analyze how you talk to yourself, you might be surprised.

While definitely a journey, self-acceptance is like building any other skill. You constantly have to work on it deliberately. At times, you are your own worst enemy, comparing yourself to others, especially in a society of production and consumption, you are thought to be only as good as what you produce or what you achieve. But rarely, you are judged by who you are, your emotional capacity and intelligence, your ability to love and be loved.

Furthermore, you constantly have to keep yourself in check about promoting positive and action-oriented feedback so you can do better. It’s not about having a fixed mindset, but rather having a growth mindset. Allow yourself to make mistakes and fail — which is really scary — but necessary in order for us to grow. Having a growth mindset allows us to be critical of our weaknesses and shortcomings, but also allows us to recognize our strengths and assets, and that everything is a process. While we tend to be oriented around big aspirations, being present in the period we are at in our journey and seeing how far we’ve come is encouraging and essential to fully accepting our process of self-acceptance and self-love.

How can we expect others to like and love us if we can’t even do it ourselves? Once you find that inner harmony within yourself, others will recognize it and give you the respect of who you are because you respect yourself. They recognize that you treat and talk to yourself with value and worth, and will give the same to you — and maybe subconsciously recognize that and try to do it for themselves. Because of all the noise within society today, and so many external forces, it’s hard to differentiate your self-worth compared to others — but you have to find that silence and peace within yourself.

Once you do find a balance between self-acceptance and self-love, you can spread that to others. This is key, because finding that inner harmony allows us to become more empathetic and giving of the “feels,” love and so much more. This in turn, helps us infuse that spirit to other people. To help them if they are beating themselves up, or feeling down.

If self-love may seem too far-fetched for you, start by liking yourself maybe even just a little. How can you do this? Treat yo’self. Stop putting energy into degrading yourself and confining yourself, because you’re only limiting your full potential. Stop that voice in the back of your head that you’re not good enough, and actively work on telling yourself that you are, and you are trying your best. Recognize the talents you have and compliment yourself, laugh at your own jokes, meditate, breath, go to that dance class, buy that piece of pizza, or break out into random song and dance like you’re in a musical. Whatever that looks like for you, do it!

My journey for self-acceptance and self-love has been a process. Don’t quantify your love through capitalizing it this Valentine’s season, and focus on the energy you give to yourself, which you can then give to others. Take the time to assess yourself so you can give to others all the feels, emotions, and love that you have. You are a unique human being with the ability and capacity to feel and love and connect. So I challenge you to learn how to fully accept yourself, because your relationship with yourself is one of the most important in your life, isn’t it?

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