“Why am I not enough?”
We often ask ourselves variations of this question: “Why am I not beautiful enough, smart enough, good enough to be loved?”
We are so hard on ourselves. We worry about our flaws, disregard our beauty, and refuse to recognize our worth. We find it so hard to love ourselves.
Yet we treat those we love in the opposite way. We find them beautiful, deserving of love, and we’re not afraid to tell them that every day.
So why do we have a hard time treating ourselves the same way?
Adam Roa’s video titled “How to Find the Perfect Relationship” beautifully captures our deep struggle to love ourselves. Watch the shiver-inducing spoken-word poetry below.
After some reflections on this beautiful spoken-word poetry, I’ll share 11 practical steps you can take to start loving yourself more deeply.
The most important relationship to cultivate is our relationship with ourselves
“We live in a consumerist society, which means they need you to buy stuff. And the easiest way to sell it is to tell you you’re not enough.”
Adam Roa delivers some hard-hitting truths about the way society programs us to believe we are not good enough.
Buy make-up to look pretty. Go to the gym to look manly. Have an ivy-league education to be considered intelligent.
No wonder it’s hard for us to see our worth. We think we need more to be accepted, to be loved.
But we don’t need anything more than how we already are.
What we need is already inside of us. Your self-worth is not determined by outside factors.
It’s how you feel about yourself. It’s recognizing the unique and amazing things about you. But more than that, it’s the humility to accept that you are not perfect and you don’t have to be.
CEO & Founder of MakeItHappen.Life, Henry Ammar, wrote about his struggles in finding and recognizing his worth.
“You may be walking through life thinking you’re common, that you have to fit in a box and be like someone else who the world or the media tells you that you should be. But the real truth is, the more you try to be like everyone else, the more you actually diminish your own self-worth and the more common or replaceable you become.”
For him, the secret to having a healthy sense of self-worth comes down to three things:
- Taking back your ownership of yourself. Decide your self-worth and stop other people’s opinion from validating you. Once you see what you are capable of, don’t let outside factors change your belief.
- Recognize and celebrate the unique things about you. Beauty is subjective. If you spend the rest of your life trying to conform to other people’s image of beauty, you’ll die unhappy. You have unique and amazing traits, choose to find those beautiful, and others will, too.
- Look at your strengths and weaknesses from the right perspective. Ammar says: “As you see yourself clearly, the secret is to lean into and maximize your strengths and not allow your weaknesses to define you. You can honor and benefit from both.”
“Treat yourself like someone you love”, because you are enough
Adam Roa urges you to treat yourself like someone you love.
Look at the mirror and choose to love yourself. Don’t spend any more time wondering how you could be better.
Love yourself as you are right now – flaws, scars, mistakes. And don’t forget to love your beauty, the parts of you that aren’t skin-deep – your wisdom, your capability to love, your kindness.
“Treat yourself like someone you love. I couldn’t believe that I had been letting myself keep forgetting that I was who I had been looking for. And deep in my core, I knew it was time to stop looking for more until I could look through all my fear and look into a mirror and see that the man looking back at me was the only one who can make me happy. And I am already enough.”
You are who you’ve been looking for
“You are already enough. And when you start to see that you will start to be that. Your world will get brighter, your load will get lighter, and you can see that with life you can be a lover not a fighter. And that life, you deserve it.”
You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be loved. But most importantly, you need to give it to yourself first.
We’ve been spending our whole lives looking for something, someone, to make us feel loved, to make us feel beautiful.
All along, we’ve been looking for ourselves.
Because you can decide that you’re good enough. You can decide that you’re worthy.
Now, you just have to believe it.
11 practical steps to truly love yourself
It’s always going to be a work in progress, but I found these 11 tips to be really powerful to keep reminding me how to love myself.
I hope you find them as inspiring as I have.
1) Stop judging, and appreciate the beauty within you
Judging yourself is different from being honest with yourself.
Judging yourself happens when you continually criticize yourself for what’s happening in your life. It’s possible to be honest about how you could have done better without needing to think negatively about yourself.
It’s much better to see your imperfections as beautiful and appreciate them for what they’re teaching you.
2) Treat yourself the way you want others to treat you
Think about the last time you did something and criticized yourself for it.
The chances are that you’re much harsher to yourself for doing this than if someone else did it.
We find it easier to love and accept other people around us than to offer ourselves the same level of support. When you’re truly comfortable in your own skin, you’ll be much kinder to yourself.
3) Care less about who you are to others
This has always been the toughest one for me. I lost sense of who I really was as I always worried so much how I was being perceived by others.
I had to learn that I was good enough just the way I was and that I didn’t need anyone’s approval for being myself.
4) Know your worth
We often accept the love we think we deserve. It makes no sense to be second in someone’s life, when you know you’re good enough to be first in someone else’s.
5) Don’t rush intimate relationships
Love is not about moving fast, but going slow and enjoy the moment together.
If you haven’t found love yet, don’t settle. There is someone out there who will love you unconditionally, even if it’s not the person you were initially hoping for.
6) Let go of those who aren’t really there
Some people have played a supportive role in your past but are no longer meant to fit into your life. That’s okay.
The ones who are truly worthy of your love will stick around through the hard times and laugh with you after the hard times pass.
There’s nothing wrong with the people who have moved on or who don’t fit anymore. Life is complex. We constantly change. Let them go, keep on loving yourself and the right people will remain with you on the journey.
7) Forgive yourself and others
Life begins where your fear and resentment end.
Just because someone hurt you yesterday, doesn’t mean you should keep on hating the world or live in constant fear of being hurt again.
When you learn to forgive yourself and others, you end up creating the life you love.
8) Focus on the positive
Don’t let negativity wear you down, even if you feel like you aren’t good at anything. Look at the brighter side of life. Change your thoughts and transform your reality.
Our thoughts create the perspective with which we interact with the world. Guiding your thoughts is the best way to live the life you want.
9) Believe in the person you are capable of being
The real purpose of your life is to evolve and grow into the whole person you are capable of being. Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing.
Change really is always possible – there is no ability that can’t be developed with experience. Don’t ever let your negative beliefs stand in the way of your own improvement.
10) Work on goals you believe in
Never put off or give up on a goal that’s important to you.
Not because you still have tomorrow to start or try again, but because you may not have tomorrow at all. Life is shorter than it sometimes seems. Follow your heart today.
11) Keep looking and moving straight forward
Moving on from things in your past doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten why they were important. It means you’ve accepted what’s happening in the present and you’re choosing to move forward with your life.
In the end, loving yourself is about enjoying your life, trusting your own feelings, taking chances, losing and finding happiness, valuing your memories and people in your past.
At some point, you just need to stop worrying about what could have been, and start loving yourself.
That’s when life really starts to change.
Ultimately, loving yourself is the most important thing you can do in life.
Not many people realize that we are in a relationship with ourselves. We have many characters within. Sometimes the character is one of being a failure. Other times it’s of being a mother, a brother, a wife.
At times we’re a professional building a career, other times we’re a joker, being quite playful with ourselves and the people we’re spending time with.
Do you accept all of these characters when you are playing them? Can you love these characters, even the failure who sometimes isn’t good enough?
The key to loving yourself is arriving at some kind of radical acceptance of who you really are.
If you’d like to find out how Ideapod teaches people how to love themselves, check out our online workshop, Out of the Box. There’s currently a waiting list but if you sign up, you’ll be the first to find out when it’s available.
Here are a few more articles I’ve put together on how to love yourself:
Living your purpose: An interview with Rudá Iandê
How to find yourself: An epic guide to finding the real you