Love always begins with you! You must love yourself first in order to love others. Love is a two-way street of giving and receiving. You can’t give away the gift of love unless you possess it within yourself in the first place. And you can not receive and accept love if you don’t feel deep inside that you deserve it.
The following ideas are designed to help boost your self-esteem and thereby strengthen your source of power to give and receive love:
o REDISCOVER YOUR OVERLOOKED STRENGTHS.
There is a popular saying that goes, “It ain’t bragging if it’s true.” In your private moments, be sure to take some time out to remember some of your often-overlooked positive qualities. Why wait around for someone else to give you an uplifting and empowering personal compliment, when nobody knows you better than you do? When your personal power starts to run low, be the first one to do a little bragging in the name of love.
o STOP LIVING TO PLEASE OTHERS.
Most of us were raised to try to please other people, whether it was our parents, teachers, coaches, friends, or other family members. But as adults, there is a limit to how much energy we can spend on pleasing others before it is at the expense of our own desires. You can show how much you truly love yourself by choosing to prioritize your own needs over those of others. After an initial adjustment, this strategy will end up freeing up more positive energy in your life, which other people will find naturally attractive.
o PRACTICE COMPASSION FOR YOURSELF & OTHERS.
When we put ourselves in other people’s shoes and feel empathy for their challenges, we are practicing compassion. This emotion helps us to open up our hearts and value other people. Even a small act, like looking people in the eye and saying “hello,” sends a clear message to that other person that they matter. A simple, yet profound principle to remember is that you can’t elevate another person’s self-esteem without also elevating your own.
o LEARN TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF.
We would all agree that having a great sense of humor is attractive to others. And when we are able to direct this humor toward ourselves, it offers multiple benefits. First, it acts like a safety valve and takes off some of the pressure of everyday living. Secondly, it prevents us from taking ourselves too seriously. Also, it can prevent us from being too hard on ourselves when we don’t measure up to our own high expectations. Lightening things up has the attractive side-benefit of putting others at ease, too! They don’t have to worry that we’ll be too hard on them also.
o LIST YOUR PERSONAL BREAKTHROUGHS.
We all have proud moments when we were able to overcome a particular challenge successfully. Taking an inventory of these breakthrough moments and appreciating our progress can raise our self-esteem. For example, I experienced a personal breakthrough when I appeared on the NBC television talk- show The Other Half (mentioned previously in this book). For a guy whose biggest fear was public speaking, this was a feat that I’m still very proud of today. What accomplishments are you most proud of? Make sure that you create a list of your breakthroughs and put it somewhere where you can look at it regularly. Remind yourself of how wonderful and courageous you truly are.
o STOP THE CRITIC INSIDE YOU.
There is an internal voice within each of us that likes to remind us of our fears and limitations. When faced with a major challenge, this voice will often proclaim, “No you can’t!” So it is our responsibility and duty to quiet that self-sabotaging voice. Listen instead to the powerful inspiration of your own inner and outer voice with repeated positive statements like “Yes, I can!” and “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” When possible, do this in front of a mirror. By reinforcing the message that you send yourself with strong tonality, sincere emotion, and congruent facial expressions, you’ll be replacing your inner critic with a private cheerleader. This is a great way to raise and maintain a high self-esteem.
o GET COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR OWN BODY.
It’s also important to accept and appreciate yourself on a physical level. While we can’t all have “the perfect body,” it’s a good practice to remove any awkwardness or shyness that we may have with ourselves. A constructive thing to do is to stop thinking about how flawed your body looks and to start paying attention to how healthy your body is becoming. The healthiness of your body is something that you can have immediate control over through diet, discipline, exercise, and relaxation. And the bottom line is that a healthy body is a sexy body, which is all you really need to convey to men and, more importantly, to yourself.
o ACCEPT COMPLIMENTS GRACIOUSLY.
Many people have difficulty accepting compliments. They will often respond by lowering their heads or saying something to minimize the compliment. The internal effect is that you rob yourself of the self-esteem boost that you could be receiving from the other person. Instead of rejecting the next compliment, be ready to accept it graciously by holding your head high and saying, “Thank you.” Do this and you will also allow the sender of the compliment to enjoy the gift of giving.
o TREAT YOURSELF TO WELL-DESERVED REWARDS.
It is a healthy practice to reward yourself periodically with special treats. That way, you’ll be sending a clear message to yourself that you deserve to be treated well. If you don’t feel worthy of accepting rewards in life, how can you expect another person to feel that you’re worthy of their attention and love? Small indulgences like a trip to the spa for a facial and massage may do more than just make your body feel better. Such special treatment revitalizes the essential spirit of self-esteem, and it will power your love life.
By following these simple guidelines, a smart woman can create and maintain a healthy self-esteem and keep herself energized throughout her journey to love.
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