Self love and happiness aren’t found, they are created. It isn’t a switch that is flicked one day and you are in love with yourself and your life; it is discovered, learned and practiced daily.
Loving yourself is the most productive thing you can do for you life because all that doubt, self hate and underestimating is holding you back from reaching your full potential and of course, true happiness.
You can’t truly be happy if you don’t love yourself because no matter how happy everything else in your life is, you will always feel unworthy, like you don’t deserve happiness. To love yourself isn’t arrogant or grandiose, from a young age we have been taught that to love yourself is to be selfish, wrong, arrogant, patronizing, unattractive and unproductive.
Self hate has been a motivator for self improvement for so long and we have been shaming ourselves for showing ourselves even a little bit of love. We shame our peers for being confident and happy by calling them arrogant, conceited, delusional and wrong because they have what we want.
To love yourself is to experience happiness and security on a whole new level. We search for love outwardly because that is how as children, we found love and security. It was rewarded to us when we did good things. But we didn’t grow out of this, we continue to look for love in other people but the truth of it is, the love you are looking for can only come from within. That is why someone else’s love is never enough for you to be truly happy and you can never feel safe if you are not comfortable with your own capabilities.
But how to be more confident and love yourself?
Well, learning to love yourself is a journey, these are short fire lessons you have to learn, activities you should to improve your self love and increase genuine happiness in your life.
Here’re 17 ways to learn to love yourself and be happy:
1. Cast out of the Idea That You Have to Be Perfect
Perfect body, life, IQ… All of it. Perfection doesn’t exist and when you think it does on social media, it is often masking crippling mental health issues.
You are never going to be perfect. But the good news is, you already are perfect, in your imperfection.
2. Understand That Societies’ Expectations of You Are an Unrealistic Standard That Can Never Be Met
It is our human nature to always be hungry for more, even if you hit that unrealistic standard, you will always be unhappy because you want more.
Don’t compare yourself or your life to that unrealistic standard, it only leads to self hate and depression: The More We Compare, the More We Lose Ourselves
3. Live in the Moment, Just for a Moment Every Day
Take a moment to stop the endless pursuit and just look into yourself. See where you have come from and appreciate the beauty of the moment that YOU ARE ALIVE — Living, breathing, functioning human being and how much of a luxury that is.
4. Daily Gratitude
That is the key to happiness.
Start a gratitude journal, an Instagram channel, a blog or just spend 3 minutes each day, thinking of all the things you are grateful for — Your body, your life, your friends, your country, M&Ms, how great that old pan has lasted you, how that person on the bus let you off first…
When we get comfortable, we get ungrateful. Change that, show gratitude everyday.
5. Embrace the Fact That You Can’t Control Everything
The only thing you can control are things within your control and your reactions. Understand that you can’t control other people, their choices, their behavior just like you can’t control the weather.
Life isn’t about trying to control everything, it is about how you react to it. Instead of trying to control everything and everyone, do the best you can do and then put your hands up and say ” it is in the hands of the God’s now” and leave it to work itself out. Everything works itself out eventually.
Society has taught us that self care is selfish and god forbid, our greatest fear is being called selfish. In response, we work ourselves to death so everyone knows how Good we are.
But there is a cost to be “Good” in the eyes of society and that cost is your happiness. Get over trying to be “Good” and take care of yourself. Self care = Happiness.
Start to take up these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.
7. Check in with Yourself Emotionally
Find a chair, grab a coffee and ask what is going on with you today. How are you feeling? Feel that feeling.
Learning to actually feel your feelings instead of brushing them under the rug is the best way forward.
8. Face Your Negative Thoughts
Ask them: Are they true? Are they helpful? Are they kind? Before you say anything negative, ask yourself, does this thought benefit me in any way? Does this thought make me better in some way? Or is it just rude, belittling and cruel.
We are often most abusive towards ourselves mentally, which means one of the most important keys to happiness is to stop with the internal torture. The endless insults, belittling, the “you’re so this and you’re such a that”. Only use supportive and positive language in your head.
Try these 7 Powerful Ways to Stop Negative Thinking.
9. Tighten Your Circle
Your social circle affects your whole life. Learn about The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You.
You are an accumulation of the 5 people you hang out with, so have a look at who that is. Who are they? Are they positive? Loving? Supportive? Or are they negative, rude and abusive?
You don’t owe anyone anything so if someone is dragging you down like a really negative friend, an insulting boyfriend or a rather opinionated overbearing Aunt. You don’t owe them your time. Ditch, Avoid, Move On. It is your life.
10. Eat Healthier
What you put in your body affects your mental health. Not just biologically but if you eat something you consider bad, you sit and shame yourself.
Don’t shame yourself, life is too short to shame yourself for eating food. Take off the restriction on eating, stop dieting and eat like a human. Eat foods you like and eat natural foods. Your body will thank you.
11. Get to Moving!
Don’t just sign up to a gym and never go. Try out a new form of physical activity, find one you enjoy, that makes you laugh and you have fun. Then do that!
Dancerize, Zumba, spin, mermaid swimming… There is almost unlimited types of sports out there. Go try them and watch your happiness bloom!
12. Remember Who You Are
You have been through a lot and you have come through it, getting stronger and stronger every time.
I ask you to remember who you are. Adversity is your friend, it challenges you to make life interesting so you can get to the place you really want to go!
13. Give Yourself Permission to Love Your Body
Your body is a beautiful and wonderful tool for adventure. Your body isn’t designed to just be an aesthetic to please other people and society. It isn’t a fancy Vase. It is a tool so that you can do all the things you want to do in this life.
Climb, eat, travel, work, knit… Treat your body as if it was your child. With nothing but love and the understanding that it is perfect as it is.
14. Stop Finding Happiness in a Body Type
We are taught that we will be happy if we conform to the Ideal Body. You know that type, it changes every decade, an impossible beauty standard that is often airbrushed over.
No matter how much weight you lose, plastic surgery you get and many products you buy. Happiness cannot be found in a body because there isn’t where happiness live.
Happiness comes from self acceptance. From realizing that the reason you want a body is to feel safe, accepted and successful, so that you feel like you can do all the things you want to do.
Well, you can do anything you want no matter what your body looks like, so stop wasting time trying to conform to a diet type and actually Go Get Happiness. It is found within.
15. Try Minimalism
True happiness and love isn’t found in stuff, it is found in appreciating what you have and experiences. At the end of your life, you want someone to say how great your life was, how you did everything you ever wanted!
Not that you had a huge collection of stuff and you were a hoarder. Shopping for happiness is like having a McDonalds, appreciating what you have is a homemade wholesome meal.
Here’s an inspiring read recommended for you: If Money Can’t Buy Happiness, What Can?
16. Learn Continuously
Learn, read, experiment… Find what works for you.
Try. Don’t just read this and go, well I guess that is interesting and walk off. Pick one of these things and practice them.
Happiness isn’t a switch, it is a daily practice.
17. Clear up Your Environment
Clear out all those negative people on social media. All of those relatable memes about underachieving alcoholics.
What you put in your mind becomes your life, therefore it is only logical that you fill your mind with positive information, and you will have a positive life.
These are the quick fire lessons you need to learn to be happy. As I said, these are for daily practice, it is quite a few so start at the one you find most drawn too and practice that everyday for a month. Once incorporated into habit, your life will improve and happiness has the opportunity to flourish.
Happiness is right in front of you, if only you choose to find it and practice it.
More on Self-Love
Read more: lifehack.org