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Last Updated on April 22, 2020

17 Ways to Learn to Love Yourself and Be Happy

17 Ways to Learn to Love Yourself and Be Happy

Self love and happiness aren’t found, they are created. It isn’t a switch that is flicked one day and you are in love with yourself and your life; it is discovered, learned and practiced daily.

Loving yourself is the most productive thing you can do for you life because all that doubt, self hate and underestimating is holding you back from reaching your full potential and of course, true happiness.

You can’t truly be happy if you don’t love yourself because no matter how happy everything else in your life is, you will always feel unworthy, like you don’t deserve happiness. To love yourself isn’t arrogant or grandiose, from a young age we have been taught that to love yourself is to be selfish, wrong, arrogant, patronizing, unattractive and unproductive.

Self hate has been a motivator for self improvement for so long and we have been shaming ourselves for showing ourselves even a little bit of love. We shame our peers for being confident and happy by calling them arrogant, conceited, delusional and wrong because they have what we want.

To love yourself is to experience happiness and security on a whole new level. We search for love outwardly because that is how as children, we found love and security. It was rewarded to us when we did good things. But we didn’t grow out of this, we continue to look for love in other people but the truth of it is, the love you are looking for can only come from within. That is why someone else’s love is never enough for you to be truly happy and you can never feel safe if you are not comfortable with your own capabilities.

But how to be more confident and love yourself?

Well, learning to love yourself is a journey, these are short fire lessons you have to learn, activities you should to improve your self love and increase genuine happiness in your life.

Here’re 17 ways to learn to love yourself and be happy:

1. Cast out of the Idea That You Have to Be Perfect

Perfect body, life, IQ… All of it. Perfection doesn’t exist and when you think it does on social media, it is often masking crippling mental health issues.

You are never going to be perfect. But the good news is, you already are perfect, in your imperfection.

2. Understand That Societies’ Expectations of You Are an Unrealistic Standard That Can Never Be Met

It is our human nature to always be hungry for more, even if you hit that unrealistic standard, you will always be unhappy because you want more.

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Don’t compare yourself or your life to that unrealistic standard, it only leads to self hate and depression: The More We Compare, the More We Lose Ourselves

3. Live in the Moment, Just for a Moment Every Day

Take a moment to stop the endless pursuit and just look into yourself. See where you have come from and appreciate the beauty of the moment that YOU ARE ALIVE — Living, breathing, functioning human being and how much of a luxury that is.

4. Daily Gratitude

That is the key to happiness.

Start a gratitude journal, an Instagram channel, a blog or just spend 3 minutes each day, thinking of all the things you are grateful for — Your body, your life, your friends, your country, M&Ms, how great that old pan has lasted you, how that person on the bus let you off first…

When we get comfortable, we get ungrateful. Change that, show gratitude everyday.

5. Embrace the Fact That You Can’t Control Everything

The only thing you can control are things within your control and your reactions. Understand that you can’t control other people, their choices, their behavior just like you can’t control the weather.

Life isn’t about trying to control everything, it is about how you react to it. Instead of trying to control everything and everyone, do the best you can do and then put your hands up and say ” it is in the hands of the God’s now” and leave it to work itself out. Everything works itself out eventually.

6. Self-Care

Society has taught us that self care is selfish and god forbid, our greatest fear is being called selfish. In response, we work ourselves to death so everyone knows how Good we are.

But there is a cost to be “Good” in the eyes of society and that cost is your happiness. Get over trying to be “Good” and take care of yourself. Self care = Happiness.

Start to take up these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

7. Check in with Yourself Emotionally

Find a chair, grab a coffee and ask what is going on with you today. How are you feeling? Feel that feeling.

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Learning to actually feel your feelings instead of brushing them under the rug is the best way forward.

8. Face Your Negative Thoughts

Ask them: Are they true? Are they helpful? Are they kind? Before you say anything negative, ask yourself, does this thought benefit me in any way? Does this thought make me better in some way? Or is it just rude, belittling and cruel.

We are often most abusive towards ourselves mentally, which means one of the most important keys to happiness is to stop with the internal torture. The endless insults, belittling, the “you’re so this and you’re such a that”. Only use supportive and positive language in your head.

Try these 7 Powerful Ways to Stop Negative Thinking.

9. Tighten Your Circle

Your social circle affects your whole life. Learn about The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You.

You are an accumulation of the 5 people you hang out with, so have a look at who that is. Who are they? Are they positive? Loving? Supportive? Or are they negative, rude and abusive?

You don’t owe anyone anything so if someone is dragging you down like a really negative friend, an insulting boyfriend or a rather opinionated overbearing Aunt. You don’t owe them your time. Ditch, Avoid, Move On. It is your life.

10. Eat Healthier

What you put in your body affects your mental health. Not just biologically but if you eat something you consider bad,  you sit and shame yourself.

Don’t shame yourself, life is too short to shame yourself for eating food. Take off the restriction on eating, stop dieting and eat like a human. Eat foods you like and eat natural foods. Your body will thank you.

11. Get to Moving!

Don’t just sign up to a gym and never go. Try out a new form of physical activity, find one you enjoy, that makes you laugh and you have fun. Then do that!

Dancerize, Zumba, spin, mermaid swimming… There is almost unlimited types of sports out there. Go try them and watch your happiness bloom!

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12. Remember Who You Are

You have been through a lot and you have come through it, getting stronger and stronger every time.

I ask you to remember who you are. Adversity is your friend, it challenges you to make life interesting so you can get to the place you really want to go!

13. Give Yourself Permission to Love Your Body

Your body is a beautiful and wonderful tool for adventure. Your body isn’t designed to just be an aesthetic to please other people and society. It isn’t a fancy Vase. It is a tool so that you can do all the things you want to do in this life.

Climb, eat, travel, work, knit… Treat your body as if it was your child. With nothing but love and the understanding that it is perfect as it is.

14. Stop Finding Happiness in a Body Type

We are taught that we will be happy if we conform to the Ideal Body. You know that type, it changes every decade, an impossible beauty standard that is often airbrushed over.

No matter how much weight you lose, plastic surgery you get and many products you buy. Happiness cannot be found in a body because there isn’t where happiness live.

Happiness comes from self acceptance. From realizing that the reason you want a body is to feel safe, accepted and successful, so that you feel like you can do all the things you want to do.

Well, you can do anything you want no matter what your body looks like, so stop wasting time trying to conform to a diet type and actually Go Get Happiness. It is found within.

15. Try Minimalism

True happiness and love isn’t found in stuff, it is found in appreciating what you have and experiences. At the end of your life, you want someone to say how great your life was, how you did everything you ever wanted!

Not that you had a huge collection of stuff and you were a hoarder. Shopping for happiness is like having a McDonalds, appreciating what you have is a homemade wholesome meal.

Here’s an inspiring read recommended for you: If Money Can’t Buy Happiness, What Can?

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16. Learn Continuously

Learn, read, experiment… Find what works for you.

Try. Don’t just read this and go, well I guess that is interesting and walk off. Pick one of these things and practice them.

Happiness isn’t a switch, it is a daily practice.

17. Clear up Your Environment

Clear out all those negative people on social media. All of those relatable memes about underachieving alcoholics.

What you put in your mind becomes your life, therefore it is only logical that you fill your mind with positive information, and you will have a positive life.

Try these tips: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

Final Thoughts

These are the quick fire lessons you need to learn to be happy. As I said, these are for daily practice, it is quite a few so start at the one you find most drawn too and practice that everyday for a month. Once incorporated into habit, your life will improve and happiness has the opportunity to flourish.

Happiness is right in front of you, if only you choose to find it and practice it.

More Tips About Self-Love

Featured photo credit: Giulia Bertelli via unsplash.com

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Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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