Loving Yourself Now is Essential For Success
When we’re working toward personal wellness goals like weight loss, many of us find ourselves wishing and longing to change. Change is amazing! I believe that “becoming” is the whole reason we’re here!
But in that quest to become, sometimes we lose our vision of the beauty and value of who we are today. We become critical and hateful, and ultimately discouraged.
Loving ourselves today combats that discouragement and gives us the support and encouragement we need to accomplish our goals. We know that making healthy lifestyle changes takes courage – so that difference is striking. But if you need a bit more convincing, here are three reasons you need to love yourself now.
1. We Take Better Care of Things We love
We value and cherish the things we love, taking time and effort to care for them properly. We’re not quite so careful with the things we dislike. Your favorite dress is hung carefully in the closet, while your old cleaning sweats are crumpled on the floor somewhere.
Children who are loved and cherished are usually better cared for as well. They get plenty of fruits and vegetables, whether they like it or not. They’re warned away from too much candy, so that they don’t get ill, and so they have room for more nourishing meals. They’re encouraged to go out and play in the fresh air when they’ve been sitting indoors too long. They don’t get everything they want, because we know they deserve better.
We could all use a bit more of this kind of care, couldn’t we?
2. Hate is a Hard Habit to Break
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that we will be able to love ourselves when we reach certain goals or milestones. We think that the thing that we hate about ourselves is keeping us from being able to truly love who we are. It’s a lie, and it’s dangerous.
The truth is, hating ourselves, or even things about ourselves, is a habit, and it doesn’t just go away when we’ve reached our goals. It just transfers itself to something else. If we don’t break the habit now, the happiness, peace, and contentment we think we’re reaching for as we strive for our goals will remain forever just out of reach. We won’t ever have learned how to embrace it.
In a marriage and family relations class in college a professor told us that when you start focusing on things that bother you about someone, pretty soon, everything about that person will bother you. But the opposite is also true. When you start focusing on the things you love about someone, pretty soon you love everything about them.
I’ve found this to be true. And I’ve found that it’s true even of myself. I can still look in the mirror, and even over 120 lbs lighter, find things to criticize if I want. But that’s a really exhausting way to live.
So what can you do to refocus when you’re trapped by this habit of self-criticism?
Make a list of lovable things about you. If you need help getting started, ask for a few ideas from people who love you. Maybe you’re kind, funny, observant, or trustworthy. Maybe, like me, you’re punctual, creative, and grateful. Make a list, and then make another list tomorrow. Make an impromptu list every time you catch yourself being critical. Pretty soon, you’ll love you too. And that’s a very inspiring way to live.
3. Kindness is More Motivational Than Criticism
And that thought brings me to my last point. For some strange reason, our tendency is to punish ourselves into good behavior. We think that if we accept and love ourselves, we won’t feel motivated to make the changes we need to make. We think the more we criticize ourselves, the more motivated we will be.
We believe this lie without thinking about it very deeply.
It’s true that criticism makes me want to change, but with it comes feelings of discouragement and hopelessness. It creates doubt and fear. Lack of hope and courage are a very poor foundation for making lasting changes.
Consider the times in your life you’ve felt most motivated and encouraged. For me, it has always been when someone believes in me and my abilities. It’s been a result of positive support and encouragement. Being your own best cheerleader is a powerful tool in achieving your goals.
No matter where you go, there you are.
You have the power to lift and inspire and support others around you. And as your own constant companion, you have even more power to encourage and strengthen and motivate yourself.
As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with love and kindness to whatever might come our way.
—President Thomas S. Monson
Loving ourselves isn’t just a feel-good mantra. It’s an essential step toward happiness, freeing us to love others more deeply (Matthew 22:39) and helping us to develop step-by-step into our best selves. “Becoming” is one of the most beautiful parts of life, so lets pursue our possibilities with all of the power that acknowledging our own value and strength brings.