The phrase ‘your true self’ is something that gets thrown around as part of neo-spiritual terminology for the soul, the spirit, the ether, whatever you want to call it, but it’s actually a little less spiritual than that. Your true self is the very core and fundamental tenant of your personality and your imprint as a human being.

However, actually bringing forth and loving your true self can be pretty darned hard, particularly when we’re being bombarded all the time by products that promise physical perfection and emotional serenity that is shallow deep. If you’re looking for a personal haul over and fancy getting in touch with your true self, here are six easy ways for loving your true self.

1. Forgive yourself.

We all do bad stuff, we all make mistakes – both big and small – and there’s no chance of going through life without making one. We’re human, we’re flawed, and the guilt we take on after making mistakes can stop you from loving your true self. The first step towards loving your true self is to accept the mistakes in your past and draw a line under the sand.

Simply, you cannot change what has happened in the past, but you can change how you feel about it and how you let it affect your day-to-day life. Think about your biggest regrets and mistakes and feel good in the knowledge that you’ve learned from them and you won’t make those same kind of mistakes in the future.

2. Love yourself.

It’s a bit of a trite sentiment, but it’s one largely rooted in both self-care and common sense: love yourself. In order for you to appreciate and reach the best version of your true self, then you have to love yourself, as you are, right now. In this very moment. It seems hard and a bit of an obstacle sometimes because people are generally so critical on themselves that it seems impossible, but have faith.

Loving yourself is the way of opening up your true self because your true self will never be ‘true’ when it’s under a situation of anger, hate, sadness and self-criticism that swamps you in a big cycle. Go look in the mirror and see the person in there, away from the faults, away from the human errors and failures, and see the human being within. Then go and say those three little words. I dare you.

3. Be kind to yourself.

Be kind to yourself, reader. There is something universal in the idea that we have to be kind to other people, kind to those of us who share this world we live in, and yet somehow we miss the point that we are supposed to be kind to ourselves. In a world where more and more pressure is put on people to be everything all at once – successful, kind, smart, confident, serene, strong, sensitive, and so forth, it’s absolutely impossible to be all of those things at once and to juggle all of our demands and expectations at once. Your true self can’t be there if you’re busy being incredibly harsh on yourself by strict, impossible standards.

If you wouldn’t say what you think about yourself to a friend, then don’t think it. Embrace your awkward, human faults because they’re yours and they’re what makes you unique. Kindness is something that needs to be practiced both outwards to your fellow beings and inwards to yourself. Your true self needs to flourish and become the best version it can be under compassion and kindness. Let’s all be kinder to ourselves. Deal?

4. Treat yourself.

I cannot relay how much I want people to treat themselves – life is too short, a blink in the eye of the universe, to be miserable and self-denying. That isn’t to say you should live beyond your means, but treating yourself a little and often is one of the best ways to nurture a compassionate relationship between you and your true self.

Whether it’s a book, a glass of wine or a sweet candy from your favorite store, go ahead and treat yourself now and then because being super-restrictive all the time will produce no real positive results.

5. Express yourself.

Don’t start feeling that your true self isn’t what your heart desires – it absolutely is and you should express yourself in whatever way you want, as long as it doesn’t hurt another person. Self-expression is one of the greatest things that you can do and it speaks absolutely from the heart. Expressing yourself also helps explore who your true self really is and isn’t.

Go paint, read, write, draw, dance, explore – do whatever it is that makes you happy.  Expressing yourself is one of the sure-fire ways to ensure that your true self is being explored and adhered to. Keep the fires of your curiosity blazing and it will help you with actualizing your true self.

6. Invest in your true self.

Keep working on your true self. It seems a little like a corny, like a tired New Year’s resolution cliche’, but investing in yourself is incredibly important because it shows that you are emotionally and spiritually entrenched in loving and honoring your true self to the best of your ability. Your true self needs investing in so it can grow, evolve and make you the best person you can be.

Think about those dreams you keep close to your heart and work on making them happen. Learn that language you’ve always wanted to learn, take that class, do that brave and scary activity you’ve always wanted to do. Invest in those things and by doing them, you will transform into the kind of well-rounded, healthy human being you’ve always wanted to be.  The kind of human being who is deeply in touch with their true self.

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