by Joanna Fanuko

Creating an energy for your life that nurtures self-love is not always an easy task. It can take a long time to heal the wounds that led us down the road to self-loathing. We blame ourselves for the wrongs done to us by others. We never let go of the mistakes we’ve made in the past. We continuously speak to our inner selves with negative self-talk.

Now, I want you to think about this: why are you continuing to fall into the hole of hate-for-yourself when you have the power to rise up and take back your love-of-self? I have been pondering this recently, and I am working on uplifting myself rather than dragging myself to the ground. Oh, how I love me; let me count the ways…

  1. Appreciate all the good things about you

Start simple and easy. Give yourself a healthy dose of snaps for the good things about yourself. What do you like the most about yourself? I find that I feel good when I give myself kudos for being smart, diligent, and kind. What are some of your favorite inner qualities? Make a list; it doesn’t have to be long. Just beginning to love myself, it can be tough to find all of the things that make me great. Every one of us has positive traits — make yourself aware of yours and familiarize yourself with the good that everyone else sees in you.

  1. Be grateful for the wonderful you

Feeling gratitude towards other people, places, and things is common. Those of us who are spiritual often pray for others and thank our Higher Powers. What we may not do as often is thank the Universe for ourselves. Say it out loud: I am grateful for myself, my life, my awesomeness. Don’t let the cheesiness fool you! It is liberating and soothing to thank God for the wonderful you.

  1. Manifest who you want to be

Now that you have familiarized yourself with the deliciously fabulous reasons that you are and always will be great, define who it is that you want to be in the future. You have a new power within you: the power of cherishing all that is good about yourself. Harness that radiant energy and let it guide you to who you wish to be from now on. Manifest the great things you want to gain in life: a better handle on your sensitivity; confidence in your intelligence; unveiling of your shyness. All of the things you want in your life can be obtained if you believe that you deserve them.

  1. Start with affirmations

This is something that I learned from Dialectical Behavior Therapy that makes me smile. Write yourself little post-it notes, stick them on your mirror, and read them while you get ready in the morning. “I am smart, beautiful, and brave.” “I have tenacity, a true sense of loyalty, and I can take on anything today.” “I will be loved by me.” These are the things that will get you back on track with believing what has ALWAYS been true: you deserve love just like we all do in this world, but it starts with you. You have to learn to love yourself before you can love another.

  1. Do what you love

Difficult, yes, but doable? Hell yes! You’ve come this far on the journey of appreciating yourself. You are starting to talk the positive self-talk; now walk the positive self-walk! Take time to do the things you love. When I was really hating on myself, I could barely remember the activities and interests that I loved to do. As I began to work on self love, I remembered those hobbies that made me happy like painting, reading, writing, running, yoga, and more. Doing what you love in life, in work, on weekends, in the day and at night takes the great things you know and love about the inner you and puts them into actionable motions that enrich your life. Keep going, girl!

  1. Listen to your heart, head, and gut

As you become aware of the all-around greatness that is you, make decisions based on the love you have for beautiful self. I find this to be the hardest thing to do because for so many years, I had lost and hated myself to the point of never saying “no” to the things I didn’t want to do, or not being heard when I did manage to say “no, I don’t want this.” Listen to your heart, head, and gut with every decision that you make. If something tells you that a decision you are about to make could hurt you, choose loving yourself first and run like the wind away from that choice!

  1. Take healthy risks

Not contradictory to #6. Rather, this is the point where you learn to grow the love of yourself. Nurturing new and exciting realms of enjoyment is a result of adoring everything about yourself. Explore things you’ve always wanted to try that better yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I started taking boxing classes in order to feel my outward strength reflect my inner strength. Visit a nearby destination you have always wanted to see. Check something off of your bucket list, like skydiving. Or apply for that job you dreamed of having. Take healthy risks.

  1. Praise your uniqueness

Circling back to your absolute favorite things about yourself, praise yourself for the things that make you unique! Anything left that used to make you cringe or say you wish you didn’t have, take it all and embrace it. I used to hate my laugh, thinking it was dorky. Well, f*** that! I began embracing it my hearty laughter and openly received compliment for it. Now, I feel amazingly proud it! Let your uniqueness shine and you will reap the benefits of your inner and outer imperfect beauties.

  1. Do it all, because why not?

Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation! Take all of that juicy love you have for the fantastic you and put the shiny gems together. How great is life when you love yourself?? It’s a work in progress for me, but the more I follow these steps, the better able I am at tackling whatever it is that the world hands me. There is no reason anyone should hold you back from the love you deserve and all the happiness in the world that is ripe for the taking. No more keeping yourself tucked away in the shadows. Take your passion, beauty, brilliance, and brawn and do everything you want to do in life, and more. With lots of love, of course!

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