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Do you know what it takes to really love yourself?

If you choose to adopt any of the tips below, you’ll improve your life quality, but first, realize that you have a relationship with yourself. (Shutterstock)

Do you love yourself?

As I was waiting at a clinic in Dubai, the nurse noticed that it was my birthday and asked “What do you wish for now that you’re 35?” I answered, “To love myself”. She looked at me strangely and said “I thought you already did!” I explained that when I allow myself to be hurt by someone else’s actions, I don’t love myself. When I let myself be in an unpleasant company of people, I don’t love myself. When I eat unhealthy food, I don’t love myself. To love myself is to value my soul and body so highly that they only receive the best.

All through my early 20s, I suffered from an illness that many girls secretly go through. What started as ulcers from excessive alcohol mixing, turned into bulimia. At first, I didn’t know what was going on, I just thought my stomach was upset. Then it started growing on me. I enjoyed shedding 15kgs, not so much losing half of my hair or my teeth melting. None of that mattered while I walked with a body that the society approved of. However, it mattered when one day I blacked out. My eyes were wide opened and all I could see was black. I don’t think I’ve ever been more frightened.

Therefore, I confronted myself and the journey of loving myself began. It was long, but every inch worth it. A lot of it was based on paying close attention to what genuinely made me happy and what didn’t. Another huge part of it was the result of educating myself on the hands of incredible psychiatrists, energy healers and life coaches, such as Dr. Ahmed Emara, Louise Hay and Tony Robbins.

While I stepped into Snapchat to promote my brand, my life took an unexpected turn and grew into empowering men and women by sharing with them what I’ve learned and has worked for me. When it was beyond my ability to help, I referred them to professionals.

It wasn’t a surprise that every message I ever came across portrayed lack of love for themselves, because it is not deeply rooted in our culture. Our parents did their best based on what they’ve learned from their parents.

Let’s see if you love yourself or not
o Do you criticize or judge yourself? Do you call yourself stupid, fat or a loser? Have you ever made a mistake for which you felt years of guilt?
o Do you put conditions on loving yourself and finding joy by depending on external factors?
o Do you know who you really are, what you feel, and what you want?
o Do you allow people to have the power over you, perhaps by affecting your mood and your opinion of yourself?

The secret known to some, feared by others, is that we have full power over our lives. No person, whatever his or her rank in life is, has the power to affect our mood or thoughts unless we let it. However, with strongly founded self-love, nothing from the outside can weigh you down. It is not possible to ever be at the mercy of someone else once you realize with every fiber of your being how incredible you truly are.

On another note, our actions with people are a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. That piece of information changed my whole life, because now nobody’s anger or lack of morals can ever get to me. Even better, every day I attract more loving people.

If you choose to adopt any of the tips below, you’ll improve your life quality, but first, realize that you have a relationship with yourself.

Accept the whole package

If you accept all of you with unconditional love, you can redesign your entire life. My bulimia only came because I resented my body. I was bullied from some of my closest family members. As a child, I had little power or knowledge over the matter so I rejected my body, but as a grown woman, there’s no excuse. Rejection is the heart of many standing problems.

Instead, appreciate every part of your being; your body, mind, heart and soul. If having a temper is an issue, don’t deny it, acknowledge it while aiming to evolve into a kinder soul.

Mirror work

According to psychologist Dr Robert Holden, the first seven years of their lives, children are curious about mirrors of all sorts. However, from the age of 8 into their teenage years, they shy away from mirrors as they start judging themselves and losing track of who they are meant to be.

Mirror work helps us connect with who we really are by seeing our true selves, beyond the masks we wear during the day. It allows us to look deep inside when we’re not judging or rejecting ourselves.

It is not about being positive; it is about being honest with yourself. The below practice is very powerful if repeated every day.
o Look into the mirror, take a deep breath and say to yourself “I love you”, “I really love you”, and then insert your name. If you find it too difficult, start off by saying “I’m willing to love myself and respect myself today.”
o Feel what’s happening as you go beyond the words. Keep it light, playful and kind.

Know your worth

How do you expect to find a loving partner if you don’t love and accept yourself? Your ability to love yourself makes it easier for others to love you. The quality of your relationship with yourself, how you treat and feel about yourself influences the quality of your relationships with others. For example, you choose your partner based on your own level of self-esteem. Do what honors and respects you. Let go of anything or anyone who doesn’t serve your highest good.

Live in the now

Sadness is the result of past events that are gone and actually behind us. Fear on the other hand is always from the future, an event that has never taken place. We harm ourselves when we live in any moment but the present one. In a session on Happiness by Dr Mohammad Al Marzouqi, an expert in Etiquette and Protocol, we were given a little practice that literally taught me how to live the now.

If you wish to try it, play the below video and close your eyes. Relax, drop your shoulders and listen to every sound. You may strengthen your experience by imagining that you’re physically present there. Once done, open your eyes and continue reading.

While you were listening, did you feel any sadness or fear?

If you were really focused, there’s no way you’d have felt sad or afraid. You’d be living in the moment. You can have the same experience while reading, having your coffee or walking around the streets.

Self-love exercise

On piece of paper, write SELF-LOVE in the middle. Around it, write 5-10 instances when you’ve experienced real love. They can be moments when you felt proud of yourself, or when you did something kind for someone else.

Once your list is complete, meditate on these memories simply by closing your eyes and allowing your mind to reflect on each memory. Paint a picture of that scene, see yourself and how you felt in that moment.

Seek help

When I felt stuck, I opted for professional help, which is nothing to be ashamed of. If anything, it was the best decision I’ve ever taken. If you think you’ve looked deep inside yourself and weren’t able to find the answer, seek it from a happy person; possibly a friend, an energy healer or a psychiatrist.

Ultimately, nothing will change if you do not take a conscious decision to love yourself. Just like we choose the music we want to listen to, we choose to be angry or to be kind.

So, do you love yourself?
 

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Last Update: Monday, 5 February 2018 KSA 08:49 - GMT 05:49
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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