It’s the mantra of every self-help guru out there. But most of us have a laundry list of reasons why we don’t. We’re not thin enough. We’re not smart enough. We’re not pretty enough. We’re not successful enough. We’ve made too many mistakes. We don’t make enough money. We’re not in a relationship. We get impatient and yell at our kids.
We focus on all the things we are NOT. And somehow we got the idea that we needed to be perfect in order to be loved, especially by ourselves. Those ideas are often rooted in our childhood, when we took everything around us so personally. The world revolved around us, and everything that happened in it, good or bad, was because of us. That’s how kids are wired. As we get older, we usually figure out that we are not the cause of everything around us, but we don’t necessarily unlearn those early perceptions about ourselves. And so, that idea that we are unlovable because we aren’t perfect lingers.
But let’s do a little exercise.
Think of someone, or several people, whom you love very much. Now, make a list of all the things you love most about them.
I’d be willing to bet that nowhere on that list is ‘she’s so thin’, or ‘he’s so intelligent’, or ‘she’s so beautiful’, or ‘he’s so successful’, or ‘she’s never made a mistake’, or ‘he has so much money’, or ‘she’s in a great relationship’, or ‘he never yells at his kids’. Any of these things might be true about this person, but those aren’t the reasons you love them! And chances are, you never think ‘I would love you more if you were thinner, or prettier, or smarter, or richer.’ NO! You love them exactly how they are!
So, if you can love those other people who don’t fit your ‘perfect’ mold, why not love you, too? Next time you catch your inner critic bashing you because of what you’re not, remind yourself of someone you love who isn’t that either. You’re not a perfect size 6? Neither is your best friend, but you love her anyway. You didn’t graduate from Harvard? Your grandma didn’t even finish High School, but you love her, too. You’re not in a relationship? Your favorite cousin isn’t either, but she’s still enjoying life!
Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting better for yourself. Who doesn’t have things they’d like to improve? It’s okay to want a more fulfilling career, or a nicer house, or to go back to school, or to get healthier. But don’t let the fact that you don’t have them yet stop you from loving yourself! These things don’t determine your value.
If you want a happier life, start by loving yourself. As you are. Just like you love other people like you!
Need help figuring out what makes YOU happy? Start Here!