How to love yourself

I used to wonder if it would ever be possible for me to love myself. In my early twenties I saw this as a place I would never be able to get to. Now, I chuckle as I am reminded of that time. This idea, this struggle of not being able to love myself, I remember it vividly though it’s inconceivable to me now. I’ve done a ton of work on my relationship with myself. A decades worth. It’s ongoing, in fact. And in this post I’ll share some nuggets I’ve learned for anyone who is struggling with how to love yourself.

How to love yourself

How to love yourself 

Loving yourself is not some place to get to, you can flip that switch today. At this very moment. That might tick you off and some of you reading this might want to kick me for saying this (but I’ll tell you how below): Loving yourself is a decision.

It’s a decision you alone can make. It’s a decision you don’t just make once but constantly. Today. Tomorrow. Forever.

This is really hard idea to understand, especially when you’re struggling with how to love yourself. So how do you flip the switch?

The first step to a better relationship with you…

Well, first you have to accept the struggle you’re in. Stop asking yourself “why can’t I love myself?” and stop getting caught up in the WHY of it all. Just accept that at this moment, right now, you don’t love yourself.

It’s easy for you to get caught up in trying to figure out why you don’t love yourself and how to get there. But this thinking will only lead you in circles and keep you stuck. So first stop asking why. It’s time to start asking yourself new questions. And commit this to memory: The quality of the questions you ask yourself is equal to the quality of the life you live.

If you ask yourself questions like “why can’t I love myself?” you’ll search for answers. The reason you come up with will only validate the struggle. It will stop you from changing the way you think and feel and how you treat yourself in future. So notice the why questions that you’re asking yourself that are negative and don’t work. Now, fill that space with a new question, like….

How can I learn to love myself?

How can I be kind to myself today?

What can I do – one simple action today – to change the way I feel about myself?

What qualities do I love and appreciate about myself?

These are better questions and they’ll help you to shift how you feel. And remember, you have to be willing to let the love in. Start small. Think of one quality you love about yourself and let that be your focus.

When you internally ask why questions, most of the time you’ll stay caught up in the past. That’ll never serve you to move forward. The why doesn’t matter. The what’s next does.

The only one who suffers from not loving yourself is you. And this negativity will permeate into all areas of your life and all the choices you make. You’ll choose partners that aren’t good for you or don’t treat you well. Your career will reflect the worth you give yourself and that will expand into the areas of finance and your lifestyle. It’s all connected.

Accept the way you feel and give yourself a moment to feel it

When you’re in a space of struggling and wondering how to love yourself. The best thing to do is stop everything and go be by yourself somewhere. Get quiet. Feel how you feel. Give yourself five or ten minutes to feel the negative emotions you have for yourself. If you’re mad about something you did in the past, allow yourself to feel the anger you have for yourself. If you hate you’re body, allow yourself a few moment to feel really sad, frustrated about your body.

Emotions are like the knots of tension you can get in your physical body. When you put pressure on a muscle from physically working it, the build up of lactic acid will cause an uncomfortable knot to occur. To release the knot you have to put pressure on it. You have to push into the knot for the tension to release. It’s the same with emotions. Feel them. Don’t suppress or avoid them, you have to feel them and then they dissolve. Your negative thoughts will literally weaken and dissolve.

So, right now, if you’re reading this and you’re feeling negatively towards yourself, take a moment to close your eyes. Take yourself back to a moment that triggers your feelings and allow yourself to feel them. It’s surprisingly a very calming and therapeutic experience to go through.

Fill the space with something positive, something new

After you feel and release the emotional tension, think of one thing you’re grateful for. Something simple. It could be your heart, a tree outside, the home you live in, or a person you love. Feel how grateful you are.

Then, when you’re feeling positive, think of one wonderful trait about yourself or a great thing you’ve accomplished in your life. Follow this with scheduling one nice thing you could do for yourself today. One small action that would help you to feel good about yourself.

Make this a ritual

Loving yourself involves training. If you’ve spent years having negative thoughts about yourself, it’s going to take a while for your relationship with you to change. So anytime you feel mad, sad, frustrated, angry at yourself or about yourself, stop and allow yourself to feel your negative emotions. Follow this with a thought of gratitude and recognize something great about yourself. Then, take one action that day to love yourself. Consider this your new regular – perhaps daily – ritual.

Any mindset shift requires emotional leverage

Even though you want to change, you’ll continue to be and think negatively about yourself until you get the impacts it’s causing on your life and behavior. If you really want to make a shift, if you really want to start loving yourself more, you need to really get what you’ve been missing out on by allowing yourself to think this way about yourself.

The best way to do this, is to take some time to write out a list of the all the impacts of you thinking this way. What are the impacts on you and your life? If you don’t love yourself, what are the impacts on other people? What are the impacts in your relationships? What are the global impacts? Seriously, what are the impacts on the world.

Whether you believe that there are impacts on the world at large, there are. Every person on this planet has a gift to give. Are you contributing your gifts? Are you making a difference? Are you leaving this world better than the one you came into?

Hating yourself is like a doubled-edged sword. Whatever you think internally expresses itself externally. If you don’t love yourself it’ll be all over your life and the results you can produce.

You really want to get this. Getting the impacts will help you realize that you have to put in the effort to change. When you get the impacts the choice to love yourself becomes easy and critical.

What to do when you really can’t think anything positive about yourself

Find someone to hold you bigger than you hold yourself. Find someone to love you. Find someone to treat you well. A sibling. A friend. A parent. A relative. A colleague. A coach. A therapist. Find someone who will hold you to your greatness. Find someone to love and acknowledge you and who will tell you your great.

Then, it’s your job to listen.

And it’ll probably take you a long time to let the love in. But just keep trying.

I know this from experience. In my early twenties, I am grateful to have had a mentor that took me under his wing. He said to me: “you’re a beautiful gift to the world”. Every time he said it, it felt ridiculous to me. It felt wrong. I didn’t believe it. But the more he told this too me, the more I start to let this idea come into my own head.

Overtime, things shifted and I started to care more for myself. I started to treat myself kindly. I started to see how my negative chatter didn’t work. We all need other people to see us bigger than we see ourselves. Sometimes we need it more.

So find someone to hold you big until you can hold yourself.

One thing you can do today to start loving yourself more today…

Set a timer on your mobile device or computer. When it goes off acknowledge one great thing about yourself. Pat yourself on the back daily for something good you’ve done or a trait you love about yourself. Remind yourself to do this, until it becomes natural.

And don’t forget…loving yourself is a double edged sword. Put the love in and it’ll flow out. Your life will expand from simply loving yourself a little more each day.

I quit

I quit my job, built a business and never looked back – How you can too

The day I quit the last job I ever worked was, in hindsight, one of the best days of my life. I didn’t know it at the time but now having worked from home and for myself for 4 years I can tell you there is no way I’ll work for another company again. You can’t put a price on the freedom, balance and self expression that comes from creating and running your own business. It’s been tough. Becoming a entrepreneur and moving from a worker where someone tells you what to do to having to drive an enterprise you built requires a total mindset shift. It’s not easy but it’s worth it. Learn how I quit my job, built a business and never looked back and how you can too…

I quit

Should i quit? Is the entrepreneurship calling you?

I’ve always been a creator from a very young age. Always been spouting ideas and solving problems. But it took me years to get that what I believe now,  that I was meant to be an entrepreneur.

I went to college, graduated and got a corporate job like most people do. I never knew entrepreneurship was an option. Though looking back, for as long as I can remember, I had what I’d call the entrepreneurial “itch”. Maybe you’ve been feeling the same? Here’s how I felt…

When I worked for other people I would think: “you should be doing x,y,z this way”. I would get frustrated because the CEOs weren’t doing what I saw was best for the company. I always believed I had a better vision for what the company needed. I had a hard time just doing my job. I wanted to steer the ship. I hated to be controlled. I hated that I didn’t own my time. I hated that no matter how hard I worked their was a ceiling on what I was able to make financially.

Does this sound familiar? Do you hear your inner business leader self crying out while you work a 9-5 job every day?

These types of thoughts are often the first hints that building and launching your own business is what the authentic you wants and would lead to a life of more fulfillment. I truly believe that some people are better matched to be creating and running companies than working for other people. On the flip, some people are happier working without the headache of running a business. Where do you think you fall? Have you been wondering what it would be like to run your own operation? Is it time to quit your job?

What you need to know about shifting from working for a company to running your own operation – Things to consider before you say “I quit”

As an entrepreneur, your professional success rests on you

When you run your own business you control everything. This is both good and bad. When your business goes through ebbs and flows you will feel it. When you’re making tons of money you’ll be excited. You’ll feel good, you’ll be dreaming of more dollar signs. Then there are times when business isn’t booming though you’re working your tail off.

As an entrepreneur, you’ve gotta prepare for this. You have to have to techniques and tools to keep yourself in a good state of mind, a good mood. You have to be willing to eat cans of tuna sometimes as you wait for the next check to come in. Sometimes you may even have to take an odd job here or there to make some extra cash.

Many people quit their jobs and think they are going to build their first business and have it be a success in a year. This was certainly what I believed when I began and it didn’t happen. It might but more often it takes time. Make sure you have the financial ability to leave your job and start a business before you do this. You don’t want to end up with financial stress. It will ruin your ability to think strategically and create for your business.

This is why it’s incredibly important that you LOVE the business you’re building. This will keep you going when times get tough. Don’t start a business you aren’t passionate about.

You may feel lost, alone confused and totally nuts at times

Building a business requires a leadership mindset. There’s no waiting around for someone else to give you an assignment, a work project or tell you what to do. You have to come up with that yourself. In the beginning this may scare the crap out of you. You may find yourself feeling lost and thinking “am I doing what I should be?”.

Building a business can feel kind of like throwing darts at a dartboard in a dark room. There are times where you’ll be confident as to where the board is and that you’re going to hit the bullseye. Other times you’ll be throwing darts and thinking “what the heck am I doing? How was this ever a good idea?”

Working from home can be an adjustment

If you’re making a move from working in an office to working from home, in the beginning it can be a tough transition. You may go from loving that you can work in your pjs and that you don’t have to sit in traffic to hating the lack of human contact. It’s different for everyone. If your work fulfilled part of your needs for social interaction you’ll certainly need to look for new ways to get that.

When you work from home it’s incredibly important to have strategies to maintain your motivation. Remember, you don’t have to sit at your desk from 9-5. When you work from home you can stop and go for a 30-minute run to get your mood up if you need to. Do what you need to to stay excited about your work. Don’t feel bad if you need to take a nap mid-day or go for lunch with a friend. You’ve been conditioned to work from 9-5 with a one hour lunch break so you may feel guilty if you start to do things other than that. But that is one major perk of running your own business. You set your schedule. So, do what you gotta do to keep yourself motivated and fulfill on what your business needs.

Where to start if you’re working for a company but you want to transition to running a business 

Do you know what type of business you’d like to start? Depending where you’re at, the best thing to do while you’re working for someone else is to train yourself, research your options and learn about your marketplace. Slowly start to build a concept and build your skills. Do this while you have the financial stability of a job.

Start training right away in the primary skills you need to be a successful entrepreneur. While you may need specialized skills depending on your industry, all entrepreneurs need to have the following skills to make it. They are:

Digital marketing – you need to know how to create and sell online. You need to understand why you need a website and how to built a strategic one. You need to understand why you need social media and email marketing and how they work. You need to have technical know-how. The better you at in digital marketing the more quickly you can advance and achieve success.

When I quit my full-time job I went to work for a digital marketing agency so I could learn how to sell online. This was the best thing I ever did for my business career.

Copywriting – you need to know how to write. All businesses need to communicate their offerings to their market. More and more this done primarily online. You need to know how to write great content from blogs to the content on your web site, to landing pages and emails. If you don’t know how to write effectively and with influence, you need to train yourself.

In-person communication skills – you still need to be a people magnet. While most business interactions are done online these days it helps to have great people skills. Learn how to be likable. You will get ahead in all areas of your life.

Techniques for managing your own well-being and mood – this is super important and often overlooked. Many entrepreneurs fail because they can’t stay motivated, or don’t know how to deal with failure, or hate the loneliness of working from home. The best way to train yourself to be an incredible entrepreneur is to acquire mental toughness training. Learn how to overcome your fears. Deal with your personal barriers. Whatever blocks you have will come up when you try and build a bring a business to the world.

Whether you work for a company or have started to build your own business, you can start today in training yourself in these skills. It helps to schedule training to time to learn new skills.

If this article didn’t scare you and you’re still aching to start your own business, what you need to know that this way of life is fast becoming a necessity. Automated systems are fast replacing the middle class. Soon you won’t be able to get a degree and a job like you used to because no one will need you.

So need yourself! Build a incredible business that solves a problem in this world. The world needs you.

I hate my life

I hate my life – How to free yourself when you feel this way

Have you been thinking "I hate my life" right now? Take a moment to to first breathe and know that you're not alone. 100% of people will have this thought at least once in their life. That doesn't mean that feeling this way doesn't suck. This is especially true when that thought seems to stick around for a long time. You're in the right place. If you've been thinking "I hate my life", here's how to free yourself when you feel this way...

Why you're having "I hate my life" thoughts

The first question to ask yourself is: Do you hate all aspects of your life? Or, is it just one aspect or a few? It's important you first pinpoint what you hate. Do you hate your body? Do you hate your job? Or, do you hate the environment where you live? Is there anything you do love and want to salvage and keep? Or, do you feel like your life needs a complete overhaul?

If you're having I hate my life thoughts the first thing to do is GET SPECIFIC on what exactly it is about your life that you hate. Noticing that you hate your life, and specifically what exactly you hate about it, is the first step to making serious, lasting changes. It can feel terrible to notice that you hate one or more aspects of your life. Still, the good news is that this is the first step to turning things around for the better. All change starts with the realization that change needs to happen. When you have "I hate my life" thoughts, it's a sign you need to listen to you and make some serious changes. The sooner you make changes the sooner you'll feel better. This doesn't mean doing anything drastic. Sometimes taking very simple actions can improve the quality of your life almost immediately.

Get specific. This is critical because it's easy to let the hatred of one area of your life color all areas. For instance, if you hate your body, the negative thoughts around your body might be coloring how you experience your relationships. It's important to separate your life into components. Get clear on what you love and what you hate before you do anything else.

Get to the root of what's causing your discomfort

After you pinpoint the area or areas you hate about your life ask yourself WHY. Why do you hate this area or areas?

Then, reflect on what you do want. Get specific on that too. Because once you have an idea about what you do want then you can ask yourself the most important question: What's preventing me from having what I want? The reasons you come up with are really what's stopping you. Those are the things to go to work on.  You can either go to work on solving your reasons or work on changing your mindset around that reason so the reason loses it's value.

For instance, if you hate your body and the reason you don't have what you want is that you hate exercise, then you know you need to find a way to enjoy exercise. Or, you need to work on shifting your beliefs around exercise. If your challenge is that your business isn't successful, and what's in the way is a lack of time, then you need to go to work on new ways to manage your time. Or, you need to optimize your businesses processes in a new way.

Either way, whenever you're thinking "I hate my life" there are only two variables in the way of you being able to say "I love my life": 1) You're missing a piece of KNOWLEDGE and you don't know what to do or, 2) You haven't taken the right ACTION. So ask yourself, what's missing? Do you not know what to do? Or do you need to come up with a new strategy (new actions) to get you what you want?

Switch things up

The simplest way to start to improve your life and gain momentum is to do something new. Take a new action. Try a new technique, a new approach. Go learn something new about the area you're struggling with. This will help you to start thinking differently and seeing things differently. If you hate your body and you know you need to eat better or exercise more, a place to start might be to explore new forms of fitness or different foods. Take at least one simple and new action. This will help you start to gain traction in the area or areas of life that you hate right now.

Here's the other challenge most people are met with...you think you need to feel like doing something to do it. This is a big misconception and it stops you from getting what you want. You don't need to feel like taking an action that's good for you to take that action. Think about it, have you ever been woken up by your alarm clock and not wanted to get out of bed but you put your feet on the floor and stood up anyway?  You don't need to feel like taking action to take the action. This is a concept to commit to memory. Sometimes an action is good for you and your life but doesn't necessarily feel that way. You don't need to be motivated to take action, you can take action regardless.

Beware of overusing external remedies to fix your life

Most people have been conditioned to use means of external gratification to solve problems. This can be a problem as it can cause you more long term pain than pleasure. For instance, you're unsatisfied with your relationship but instead of dealing with your feelings or talking it out you turn to food. Or to destress after a day at a job you don't love, you tune out of life by throwing yourself into tv and drinking half a bottle of wine. Sometimes you need to eat that piece of cake or drink some wine or watch a show but sometimes you start to use external forces as crutches. All things are good in moderation but they can also develop into bad habits.  For instance, if you turn to food when you're stressed you might incur long term health issues.

If you feel yourself getting out of balance and looking outward for external fixes to your life challenges it's a clue you need to start taking some new actions. It's a clue you are feeling unsatisfied. You need to take a new action and you also may need to develop some new and more positive habits to replace the ones that aren't good for you. What habits are not serving you in the long-term? How could you replace them with better habits?

Remember that the future you're living into is everything

What makes you feel happy now is the future you're heading into. Think about it. If you're heading on a trip to Jamaica for two weeks and you're leaving tomorrow, today you'll feel pretty excited. What this means is if you're looking ahead to your future and seeing more of what you hate now, you will feel terrible about your life. You'll gain immediate power when you decide what you want to achieve in the near future. Then, take at least one simple action to move towards that future.

Lastly, it's up to you

If you are saying to yourself "I hate my life" or "I love my life" the question is...who is the "I" in that statement? It's you. You are the only person that can ultimately decide what you want in life and what you are willing to do to get it. It's up to you. No one can live your life for you. The power to have what you want rests on your shoulders. And it's 100% possible. You can have your dream life. You can turn the tables from hating your life to loving it quickly but you have to decide you want to and commit to it. Commit to your happiness. You can do that by following the guidance in this article. Here's a recap:

  1. Pinpoint the area or areas you're dissatisfied with and GET SPECIFIC on what it is you hate
  2. Consider what you DO WANT and WHY you want it
  3. Ask yourself what's preventing you from getting it
  4. Learn or take new actions to forward what you do want. Start with one simple action. Incremental progress is key

So, you got this. Your dream life is not as far as it may seem. It's time to start loving your life. Soon your "I hate my life" thoughts will be a distant memory.

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