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  • Writer's pictureTracy Dixon

Four steps in learning to love yourself.

We may feel that we love ourselves but often our actions say otherwise. We beat ourselves up over mistakes that we make and we work every available hour to try and prove that we are 'good enough'. We people please in order to gain approval from others. If we love and accept ourselves we don't need to seek acceptance from others.

These four practical steps can really help to develop love and compassion for yourself.

1 Develop an understanding of yourself and your life history.

Often we are hard on ourselves for events that have happened in the past. We wish that things had been different and we may regret the choices we made. You could start by drawing a timeline of your life and plotting on this timeline any events which are important to you. You could talk through these events with someone you trust or you could journal about them privately. This exploration can help to gain a different perspective on your past and help to break down negative beliefs that you may have about yourself.

2 Connect with your inner child.

We all carry our inner child with us, in simple terms our inner child is just a younger version of ourselves. Your inner child may suddenly make an appearance when you least expect it. When we lose our temper, feel frightened or have a tantrum, this is often our inner child resurfacing because something has triggered a reaction from the past. Our inner child can also appear when we play. My inner child always come out at the beach or when playing in the snow! Sadly we get very little snow in Plymouth......Counselling can help you to connect with your inner child and develop a deep, compassionate understanding of yourself. You may start to connect your current difficulties with the past and finally feel free to live the life that you want to live. I will write in a later post about some of the exercises that help you to connect with your inner child.

3 Forgive yourself.

Making mistakes does not make you a bad person. This is all a part of being human. We can even learn valuable lessons from our mistakes which can build our resilience and help us to grow as a person. Use your new understanding of yourself and your connection with your inner child to start to forgive yourself for any mistakes that you made or choices that you regret. This is not always easy and requires some work but the results can include decreased depression and anxiety and an increase in self esteem.

4 Find fulfillment in your life.

Being fulfilled is about more than just 'feeling' happy. Happiness is fleeting and will come and go. Fulfillment comes from being happy with the person that you are. It comes from feeling pride in what you do and the actions that you take. If you can be proud of yourself this can become deep rooted and will fill your heart and soul with joy that can be long lasting. Fulfillment is a very personal thing - a good place to start is to think about what motivates you or what gives you a sense of belonging. My own sense of fullfillment comes from caring about others but also from valuing and accepting myself, my achievements and my mistakes.

Learning to love yourself can be one of the hardest things you will ever do but it can also be the most rewarding.

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