Love Yourself in 10 steps

Not long ago I had a major downturn in my life. I kept it a secret to the most important people in life. I was quite lost. I felt that I was begging for attention, time, and affection from other people. I was expecting people to show some empathy and take responsibility of making me feel well. Think about that. The consequences of that was domino of further self-destruction strategies and dysfunctional coping skills that superficially covered the intensity of how my problems impacted my life, not never really addressed the main problem – I was not loving myself as I should. Looking back, I could somehow reflect on the stages I went through to love myself. And, this is the focus of this blogpost

1. Make mistakes

Do not be afraid to make mistakes. This is the most dangerous point, when one aspiring change is on a trial-and-error mode. Because the consequence could be worse. People go further downward, and some people self-destruct and lose identity in the process. I did this. Actually, I laugh when I get to remember what I did. It was an adventure. Well, I realized I am not a boring person after all.

2. Take time.

One must accept that bad situations do not get better at an instant. Take time and be patient. One should have time for two things: for sorrow and coping. Expose yourself to things that make you realize your mistakes. Grief, once you got to know the reasons, and take time. Then start moving on gradually. Do not haste things.

3. Focus on what you can do tomorrow.

This is what most people forget. Ask yourself, what you would do tomorrow? Be specific. Plan and keep yourself busy and developing yourself simultaneously. I worked almost every day fulltime, more than the average. I was attending master’s degree, and then I realized one master’s degree is not enough, so I decided to start another one. Quite a self-torture, but I want to keep the balance. Go hard at work, so I should go hard outside work. I went to all kinds of courses: cooking, ceramic, swimming, ski, and painting. I did all those things, simultaneously going to theater, learning new languages, and traveling. What a life!

4. Look at your strengths.

This took time as well. I want to convince myself that I have indeed strengths. However, it backfired. I failed many times, but I kept being resilient and wanted to focus more on my strengths. Personally, I took Mensa exam, just to convince myself I am not dumb. I am not dumb based on that exam, better than 91% of the world population actually. That did not help. I felt still I was not enough. I failed to get 98%. I failed several times, then suddenly, I realized my greatest strength is resilience. I stand up again and again after failing several times. What a realization!

5. Know what you want.

When you reach this phase, this means you have experienced a variety of things. After making mistakes, and meeting individuals coming from various background. One can create an idea of the things to avoid. When you see people experiencing life in a negative way, somehow one gets an idea that there are still things that can be done in our own lives. Then suddenly, you know what you want. What a eureka moment!

6. Never be afraid to cut people in your life.

Once you had a eureka moment, you realized you are not perfect, but can choose the people who you would like to be with. One’s imperfection is not a hindrance to feel good. No other person also can make one feel good, except oneself. In the process, one could distinguish a toxic relationship from not. However, the best of this part is when one start using logic and feelings in a balanced way and cutting people who are just exuding negativity. Suddenly, you realize you are independent, but not lonely. You are never dependent to anyone, and that you need not tolerate being in a toxic relationship just to get some recognition. You become tired of the drama of comparing oneself with another and pleasing anyone. Cut what does not work and keep that works for you – a simple logical life rule.

7. Never settle for less.

All the individuals we met in our life are imperfect, and yes everyone has its own standards as well. This gives us the reason not to settle for anything less than the standards we have set for ourselves. Keep and be faithful to your core standards. However, do not keep your list of criteria long. Perhaps, trim down your core standards to three. Personally, I realized that being accepted is uncompromisable. If one does not accept my background, past mistakes, values, and decisions, then I would say thanks anyway right way than waste my time. Secondly, I do not want to be treated like a toy that can be manipulated and be put aside once not wanted. Never again. Once you see the first sign of manipulation, move on. You have other options you have just never seen before. Lastly, keep people who value time with you. Time is a currency. The more time, the richer relationships become. This is seen in actions, not through words. Those are my standards. Quite basic but I keep them.

8. Set goals for yourself.

This eighth step is something I somehow underestimated. I am very goal-oriented person, but when I lost my self-worth, I forgot setting goals for myself. I literally stopped dreaming. I just want to be better primarily for others, not for myself. It is understandable that when one is in a downward spiral in life, so things get darker and vaguer. One loses focus, but for me it started with a question, how would I want to see myself when I am at 60. That was indeed the turning point. I remembered the people I met, both good and bad, strong and weak, old and young, cool and anxious. My imagination was limitless. Then one at a time, I made a clear picture of who I will be based on the real me. Then I did not just set goals, I literally made these goals more obvious in my day-to-day activities, decision-making and most importantly, my monthly budget. I was becoming more specific and getting closer to my goals every day.

9. Open for new possibilities.

Be open-minded. Your goals today do not reflect your entire life. Your standards change as well through time. The people who belong to your inner circle are not entirely the list of individuals who will remain in that circle forever. Go out. Be brave and accept new people in your life. Make yourself available to those who matter to you, but do not limit yourself to them. In case, you make mistake again, it will be fine. Talk to people including acquaintances, workmates, and friends, both old and new. You will be amazed how beautiful and rich the society you belong in.

10. Chill.

Relax and seek for tranquility. Regardless of what happens, do not be anxious. If things are not progressing as fast as you want, relax. Repeat the process and chill. Experience more and be stronger. Moreover, there is no need to tell others about yourself or your progress, when not necessary. People need not to know everything or a significant part of your life because in the first place, your primary responsibility is towards yourself, not others.

Personally, the first three steps took several months. I was going back and forth. I was ambivalent, and at the same time I was losing self-confidence. I was feeling bad to be myself and was never really making any progress. I was regretting my decisions, and I was going astray. I was feeling lost, and I accepted people manipulating me. That was the worse feeling. I was waiting a major turnaround and wake-up call to focus on myself. In addition, I was anxious and living one day at a time.

My sister once told me that I should be in good company with myself. I understood what that mean, but I really do not know how. My situation went worse. I isolated and abused myself to the worst possible way. I was literally in the dark. I was surrounded by two sets of people: those who I could possibly trust, and those who I can not trust. There were two versions of myself: the weak façade and dark side. There were people who saw both versions, but most never appreciated that there were seeing a side of myself, that no one ever saw, even my close friends and family.

Well, that is life. However, I moved on and became braver. Now, I feel better. I can say I done with bullshit. I realized that if people could not accept my past and mistakes, and would play around me, then there is no reason to take a chance. I realized there is only one option: to love myself. I am doing that now, and I vow to continue with that in the future.


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