The Art of Inner Beauty (2015)
Chapter 2: Where to Start: Loving Yourself
You need to know even before you embark on your journey toward loving yourself that your inner beauty – and yes you do possess it – is unique to you and you alone. There’s no other person on earth quite like you. There’s not a person alive today that could take your place if you weren’t here. There would, indeed, be a vacuum, that no one could replace.
For many individuals and perhaps you’re one of them, this is difficult for you to believe. So it’s highly improbable that you’re actually honoring, let alone celebrating your inner self. Some individuals refuse to even acknowledge themselves, love themselves and celebrate their inner light because . . . well, they fear it.
What makes you tick inside?
The moment you begin to see yourself as others see you, is when you begin to love yourself, even if you don’t realize it. It’s also the moment you begin to recognize that you indeed do have inner beauty.
The question is, what is that first step you take to begin to love yourself. Below are several simple ways you can start to love yourself and thus increase your self worth as well as your self confidence. Once you start practicing these steps, you’ll then notice that your inner light shines brighter and you’ll begin the process of seeing and feeling your inner beauty.
By the way, did you notice I called these simple steps? The fact that the steps are simple to perform doesn’t necessarily mean that their easy to accomplish. Some of the suggestions below you may have to repeat several times in order to get yourself to truly believe you have a self worth, an inner beauty. The key, however, is not to give up. If you continue to have compassion and love for yourself, you’ll begin to see how easy it is to let your inner beauty shine.
- “How do I love me? Let me count the ways.”
Make your first step toward cultivating that inner beauty by creating what many describe as an “I love me” list.” This is a list of all the good qualities you believe you possess that don’t relate to any of your physical characteristics. These can be simply traits such as “I’m kind to animals,” “I love being with children,” “I’m a good listener,” or whatever positive traits you feel you possess.
Take your time. You may find initially that you can’t think of a single trait. If you’re struggling at first listing items, you may want to ask someone close to you who does love you – and whom you trust.
Explain to this person what you’re doing and ask them what your non-physical positive points are. This will help you begin to see how special you are. The fact that you’re writing down these traits (and yes, by the way, it’s acceptable to even call them strengths) provides you with tangible evidence that inner beauty is tucked away inside of you.
Before you realize it, you’ll have a long list of amazing characteristics and traits that you never really considered nor had given yourself credit for before. As the evidence mounts, even you’ll be hard pressed to deny your inner beauty.
- Read your list of inner beauty characteristics daily
At least once a day read the list to yourself. If at all possible read it out loud. By doing this you reaffirm your self esteem. Don’t worry that if you repeat it too frequently that you’ll become egotistical. In order to cultivate your inner beauty this is exactly what you need to hear right now.
- Be as compassionate to yourself as you are to others.
Admit it. If you’re anything like many individuals, you are your own worst critic. Think of it. You make your friends feel better when they fall short of the mark. Yet when you fall short, you berate and belittle yourself. Is that any way to treat yourself?
Why trample on your feelings like that? Make a pact with yourself that the next time you’re tempted to be too hard on yourself, think about what you would say to your best friend in the same situation. Say exactly that – out loud if you must – to yourself.
The bottom line: treat yourself as gently as you would your children and friends.
- Make of list of your emotional needs.
This list includes items and feelings that are important to your well being. The list may include the fact that you get upset when others (or you) do or say certain things. Perhaps your feelings get hurt when others don’t listen to what you’re saying at times. Or perhaps you feel emotionally deprived If someone doesn’t provide sympathy when you’re hurt. On the flip side you feel slighted when a good friend fails to rejoice with you when you’re celebrating a success.
Perhaps one of the items could be something as being loved and being treated with kindness without even requesting it. As with the first list, don’t rush through this. Take your time and make sure you cover all bases.
Essentially what you’re doing with this exercise is creating a list of boundaries. An emotional boundary, much like a physical one, divides one thing from another. What you’re doing here is dividing what is emotionally acceptable from what is unacceptable.
What? You’ve never considered that you could say an action or the words that come from your friends are unacceptable. Think about it. You no doubt honor the boundaries of your friends by not saying things you know would purposely hurt them. Why allow anyone do this to you?
- Speak up when someone crosses the boundaries.
If you’ve made a list of your good inner qualities and are beginning to believe you do have them and if you’ve listed your boundaries, you’re now ready to put this into action. When you feel someone has crossed that boundary by saying or doing something that hurts your feelings, let them know.
Many times people say things that hurt you because they don’t know their words are wounding you. Most of the time, in fact, people don’t realize they’re injuring us. They can’t read our minds. If you hold that type of hurt inside of you, your friends will continue to do and say the same things.
Once they know how those words wound you, they’ll more than likely apologize. You, then, have to do your part. Sincerely accept the apology and move on. In the future, they’ll learn to be more careful with their language.
If you’ve done all of this and they continue to cross the boundary, then you need to take action of some sort. A good example of this is a friend who never listens to you. Perhaps she’s too involved in her own life to hear what you’re saying. In this situation you have two choices to make. You could resign yourself to the fact that this person isn’t the friend you share certain things with. If you decide to continue this relationship, you then don’t speak of about these topics. Instead, you find another friend to share these feelings with.
The other choice is to sever the relationship. If she’s continually crossing that boundary you’ve established, even after you’ve informed her of this you owe it to yourself to not get your feelings hurt. Isn’t this the advice you’d give a friend if someone did the exact same thing to them? But, don’t allow yourself to hang without a confidant. You probably have any number of individuals with whom you can discuss this type of subject matter.
These five simple steps to loving yourself may not seem like a lot of advice. The truth of the matter though is that these are powerful steps that can transform you as quickly as you allow them to work.
If you practice them diligently and persistently it won’t take a lot to start yourself on the road to loving yourself. The secret to being successful is to be consistent about your behaviors and your thinking. The moment you feel yourself slide into your old patterns you need to stop yourself.
When you find yourself falling into that old habit of complaining to your inner self that your spouse isn’t listening to things you deem important, stop yourself. Instead, remind him that the kind of language he’s using hurts you. It could be that he just fell into an old habit. Don’t necessarily assume he’s out to hurt your feelings. Remember that you are worth loving. Don’t be afraid to take action.
Work on these while you learn in the next chapter why health is a critical aspect of inner beauty and how to either get healthy or maintain your good health.