“Something has to give!”
Those were my words to a friend who told me about another young person who attempted suicide last year. “Why is this happening?” he asked. The answer isn’t easy, but the conversation is necessary. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that in 2019 1.4 million people attempted suicide, with an average of 149 Americans dying by suicide daily. While this is staggering, it feels about right with the high rate of “RIP” posts on social media.
Why Is It So Hard To Love Yourself
It’s easy to love something new. The newborn baby in the crib, the brand-new car in the driveway, and the new relationship all receive our full attention and admiration. There is a perfection that is attached to newness. What’s new is unscathed, with a purity that leaves us fascinated yet doubtful.
We are skeptical of something pure because we know that anything can get damaged, tainted, and stained. Looking in the mirror, we see too many faults and flaws in our lives to love ourselves fully. We are cynical about “true” love, even for ourselves. Our doubt limits us from loving ourselves with a full embrace. “How could I love something so flawed?”
Something has to give! Even Beyonce acknowledged she needs love with her “Flaws and All”. So, here are 6 ways to shake off your insecurity, wash away your unworthiness, and dust off your depression. It’s time to fall in love with YOU.
Step 1: Accept What You Are.
This is the simplest and–sometimes–hardest step to embrace. You are a creation. You were made with love and intention. You were formed by a force greater than you at this moment in history. You are not an accident. In fact, you were planned. Schematics were drafted and approved before you were born.
Loving yourself begins with the belief that you were born with love in mind.
Step 2: Accept Where You’ve Been.
You’ve been hurt. People have disappointed you. Your childhood was traumatic. The relationship left you with emotional and (maybe) physical scars. These scars may appear healed, but underneath they can be as raw as the day they occurred. You need to find a guide that can navigate you into a place of healing and acceptance: a mentor, therapist, pastor or trusted friend. You don’t want to do this work alone.
Step 3: Accept Who You Are.
It happened, and you are the person it happened to. That can be hard to embrace. It’s a part of your storyline. It doesn’t change your purpose. It doesn’t devalue your existence. Don’t fall into the trap of pretending you are okay. Be okay. Accept what has been so you can embrace who you are.
This step requires truth with yourself. Cherish your quirks. Admire your nuisances. Celebrate your uniqueness. Being who you were intended to be is the best gift you can give your Creator.
Step 4: Accept Where You Are.
Pause. This moment right now is purposeful. Out of all the people that could read this article, you are! Acknowledge that there is a reason you want and need to love yourself more. There have been roadblocks and challenges to living with authentic self-love.
You are not where you’ve been. You are who you decide to be right now. At this moment, you can be more loving. You can open your heart to the love of others. With no thought of what is ahead, accept that you are capable and worthy.
Repeat this: “I am worthy of the love I seek.”
Step 5: Accept Who Loves You.
Unconditional love isn’t supposed to be lonely. We were made to have healthy long-lasting relationships. Surround yourself with the people who reflect the love you see in yourself. You already acknowledge your own limitations of love. So, why do you push people away who want to love you? Are you still feeling inadequate? Do you feel you can’t open your heart and trust again?
How we love others is a mirror of how we love ourselves. Allowing people to be your mirror is giving yourself the ability to assess your love journey. It won’t be perfect. Life never is. But it will be worth it because you are worth it.
Step 6: Accept the Challenge of Loving and Being Loved
So you want to love yourself more this year? Great. Get ready for the challenge of your life. You can master every step only to realize it isn’t a one-time thing. This is a love cycle. You will continue to find flaws that restart these steps. New relationships will bring up things from your past that need to be addressed.
If you do the work, everything you buried will find its way to the surface. You need to remind yourself that you are still worthy of love from others and yourself.
The Simple Truth
This is the time to set a plan to love yourself more. You don’t have to wait for love to find you. Start by accepting your entire journey, from your birth to right now. All of it is lovable. All of it is worthy of love. None of it disqualifies you or devalues who you are. This is the fight of your life, and it’s a fight you can win!
If you have lost anyone to suicide, list their name below. Let’s honor their lives and legacy by loving ourselves more in this new year.