How to Fall in Love With Yourself
A Five Step Guide
By Ashley Hutchinson
There are so many things that I wish I could do better. There are so many times I can recall where I wish I had been stronger, more intelligent, prettier. I’ve always been familiar with falling in love with other people. It takes a matter of seconds once you let it in, once you allow yourself to freefall into the love of another human being’s quirks and idiosyncrasies.
Falling in love with yourself, however, is a longer, more arduous process. And far less people have taken the time to do so.
The only person that will accompany you through everything, see you through the hard times, and get you through life, is yourself. So why is it so hard to cherish you?
This week has been the week from hell. I’ve never felt more frightened, weak, and alone. Without giving too many details, there have been a lot of changes, moving parts, and setbacks over the course of the last seven days.
After a good bit of cries, (at least two a day), I’ve come to fall in love with my soft parts and my rough edges, and my way of handling things. Looking back, this infatuation grew out of the adversity of outside forces. My own baby steps toward checking in and taking care of myself, have made me see the little ways in which I am enough.
1. Embrace your weaknesses.
What originally held me back and allowed my insecurities to plague my self esteem was my denial of my weaknesses. I didn’t allow myself to come to terms with the things I personally could not do.
I’m emotional. I get really attached to things.
These things were, to me, weaknesses that inhibited my ability to solve problems, to not get hurt, to handle bad situations.
But truly acknowledging these things about myself has made it clearer as to how to handle things my own way. Yes, I’m a softie. When the going gets tough, I have a good cry on the floor. But once I let myself let go and do this, I got back up, got on the phone, made my calls, armed myself with information and advocated for myself. I cried a little bit on the phone too. And you know what? That shit actually got me some favors.
YES. YOUR WEAKNESSES CAN BE YOUR ASSETS. So understand them. Get to know yourself. And fucking use it.
I get attached to things. It gets me hurt a lot, but I also fight for the things I love and the things that I want. I will never stop being loyal, and I will never stop fiercely protecting the things that I care about.
I’m a bulldozer when I want to be. And I use it.
The more I fell into my own insecurities, the more I realized that I’m stronger than I think.
2. Understand what you need physically.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. You’ll thank you for it. I find that the more I work out, eat right, and hydrate, the more it all feeds into my confidence. The more energy you have, the more energy you have to fight and protect yourself with. And the more you take care of yourself, the more you love yourself.
I think the mistake a lot of millennials make is that they treat themselves like a singular thing, alone in the world, or perhaps like a vehicle or machine to use; I have friends that take better care of their plants than they do themselves. Our bodies are ecosystems. And we do have a relationship with ourselves. The same things apply to your relationship with you and your relationship with a significant other: Listen, treat them with care, be sensitive, allow them to feel what they feel--no judgements.
Your relationship with you is the longest one you will ever have, so why wouldn’t you treat you like you would someone you love? If not better?
3. Stop saying SHOULD.
Stop it. Seriously. ‘Should’ is one of the judgey-est words in the English language. It implies that there is always something better you could be doing. ‘Better’ is also an unhelpful word--what does it even mean? Better than what?
You aren’t a “should,” you are a could. You could be anything. And it’s all up to you. Stop judging yourself for doing what you’re doing. If you’re unhappy and you’re on the wrong path, do something to change it, but if you are happy doing whatever it is you do, stop self sabotaging your happiness by making yourself feel inferior to a version of you that doesn’t even exist. You be you and be the fullest you you can muster. The more you go into that direction, the more you will love yourself and your life.
“Should” insinuates that you are not good enough. Stop it. You are good enough.
4. Enjoy Your Alone Time
This feeds into my earlier statement: you are your longest relationship. Cherish the moment when you get to do exactly what you want, by yourself. Go see a movie, read a book, watch TV, go for a run, take yourself out to a meal. Being able to be by yourself and enjoy it is perhaps the key to falling in love with you.
It may take some getting used to. You may feel restless, you may feel bored, you may feel lonely. Invite these emotions in. They’ll go away the less you fight them. Just keep doing it. Keep taking the long way home from work, walk along the river, maybe sit on a bench. BREATHE. Let yourself be lonely. The squeamishness of constantly looking for plans with other people will only foster your inability to be alone. Practice laughing at your own jokes, cultivating your sense of humor. Start to learn about how you see the world, what judgements you make, what scares you, what comforts you. This will help you cultivate a stronger sense of self, and in turn will create a sense of comfort and solace in your mind.
Your mind’s a weird place. Embrace it. Think. Chill for a bit.
5. Know what you deserve
After you’ve taken all of these steps, when looking for a mate, you’ll hopefully know better what you want, and better still, what you deserve. Know that you are worth getting to know, worth being loved, and worth happiness. If you find that you are unhappy a lot, get out. And I’m not just talking relationships, the same goes for career and for home. Know what you want, and know that you deserve exactly that.
Perhaps for us millennials, it’s more realistic to simply know what you don’t want. Narrow it all down. Keep trudging along and slowly but surely coming to understand what you need. Loving yourself comes down to a few simple questions: are you taking care of yourself? Are you allowing yourself to want things? Are you giving yourself what you need?
And I’m not saying just quit everything if you don’t like it at first. You have to pay rent, eat food, maybe drink from time to time, but look at the little things affecting your life and start there. Get rid of toxicity and go towards what makes you feel warm. It’s as simple as being able to be there for yourself and support yourself when others won’t; knowing that you got this.
You do. You got this.