How to Love Yourself – the Master Key for Your Life

Personal Development
Love Yourself

This post was inspired by a comment by JSDixon on my last post 4 Steps to Stop Others from Manipulating You Like a Puppet on a String. I spoke about loving yourself as being one of the central ingredients of living your life the way you want to live it, and freeing yourself from the need to please others. I was challenged to write about how to get to that state of deep loving and accepting yourself, since there are many people who have no idea how to even start.

Let me make one point clear – it is a tough challenge for most of us, including myself. Since I believe that not loving yourself enough is the deepest engraved problem of our existence, I would really assume that everyone has its challenges with that.

It is of such vital importance that even Jesus made it one of the most prominent (but misunderstood) cornerstones of his teachings – “Love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 5: 43, etc.). Now most people only think of this as a command to be nice to all the people around you. However it goes way further than that. It states that you should love everything (including yourself) as much as possible.

What Love Wants?

If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love someone else. If you don’t love the other people around you, you cannot really love yourself.

Love wants to fill every aspect of your life. Without any conditions.

If there is a condition associated, it isn’t love anymore – it’s a business deal, just like I stated in 4 Steps to Stop Others from Manipulating You Like a Puppet on a String. Your ability to love others depends on your ability to love yourself. At the same time your ability to love yourself depends on your ability to love others. It is a circle and it doesn’t matter where you start, love wants to flow freely and fill out every aspect of you and your life.

You cannot separate the love for yourself from the love for others.

The love for others that I am referring is not the usual concept of love for others. People who do not love themselves are often trying to do a lot for others They try to please other people. This is not love, because deep down it’s also a business deal. You think being nice pays off by othersprotecting you, or you want to wash your guilt feelings away through this behavior. This is “false love” with a subliminal condition.

The love that I speak of is the love of all being equal. No superiors. No inferiors. You see the others as mirrors of your own soul and, therefore, there is no difference in importance or power.

So How Can I Then Start to Love Myself and Others

Step 1: Wash out All the Grief and Anger

Get yourself a journal and write down these lists:

  • make a list of all the things you don’t like about yourself.
  • make a list of all the things you don’t like about all the people close to you (start with those people that you have the most bitter feelings about first).
  • make a list of all the things you don’t like in your life.

Write it all down. Don’t hold back. Let the pen keep moving. You can do this over several days or in one go. It’s your choice.

Wash out all the grief and anger that you have inside and let it flow into those lists.

This process is called a catharsis. Catharsis comes from the Greek and means to cleanse yourself until you are pure. Catharsis is a cleansing process. All your soul’s dirt must come out of you.

This can be pretty painful and at the same time a release, since for the first time you are not suppressing these emotions. If you feel anger or are about to cry – let it all out, but keep on writing.

Once you’re done, you are really done.

Step 2: Forgive

Now that you have finished your lists, go through each point and repeat the following statement:

“That was how I felt up to this day. Now I want to let it go. I forgive myself for feeling this way as I forgive others what they have done to me”

Close your eyes and decide:

  1. Do you want to let go of the memory of that hurt? Then let it flow out of yourself through your forgiving thoughts into the universe where it dissolves.
  2. If you can’t let the hurting memory go completely at this point, put it on a mental shelf inside you, where you can leave it. Knowing that you have saved it there you no longer need to repeat these feelings through constant remembering.

Step 3: Build on Positive Experiences of Love

Again use your journal on a daily basis for the next 30 days (and if you like it, you can continue it for as long as you like).

At the end of each day:

Write down:

  • a minimum of 3 things that you like about yourself or about what you did (or if you can’t come up with an answer write down 3 things that you could like about yourself if you really wanted to)
  • for each person you plan to focus on that day write down a minimum of 3 things that you do like about them
  • Finally write down a minimum of 3 good things about that day
  • Read all of those statements out loud and say to yourself: “Each day I will experience greater levels of joy, love and happiness in my life. And for that I am grateful”
  • Feel that gratefulness inside yourself growing like a ball of white light. Becoming grateful is one of the greatest ways to turn your life from being miserable into pure joy and peace.
  • Then go to sleep with a feeling of peace

You are not allowed to write anything negative down. ONLY positive statements are allowed.

Each morning:

  • At each morning just after you get out of bed grab your journal, read the statements from the last day out loud, remember the good things as vivid as possible
  • say to yourself: “This day I will experience even more joy, love and happiness than yesterday and for that I am grateful”
  • Feel that gratefulness inside yourself growing like a ball of white light
  • Throughout the day remember the growing ball of white light and gratitude and feel it again. Put a smile on your face and straighten up your position. Body and feelings are deeply connected. Use it for your own benefit.

After 30 days take a look at the lists you made from Step 1, and you will be shocked at how many of those intense feelings of grief and anger have vanished. Building love is like building a muscle – you can’t develop biceps like Arnold Schwarzenegger if your muscles are weak. You have to slowly rebuild them on a daily basis.

It is the same with love.

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21 comments… add one
  • Way to go on stepping up to a challenge! I’m going to get two notebooks, and me and my girlfriend are going to go through these exercises together. I’ll leave a comment letting you know how it works out.

  • Patrick

    @JS Dixon: Great idea – I’ll bet you two will empower and inspire each other to look out for even greater things to happen in your days. Make it a fun competition though and rejoice upon each others daily blessings.

    This is definitely a great way for couples too to bring their relationships to a new level of joy and fulfillment. Please keep me updated.

  • Patrick, great post. I have always come to know that forgiving yourself and others makes you a happier person. So, often time i just forgive the wrongs of my past and others who caused harm to me, unintentionally or otherwise.

    But sometimes i did not make it clear what it is i forgive. By writing it down and be honest with yourself, you can be clear about it. I’ll definitely give it a try after this.

  • Patrick

    @Karlil: Yes writing makes the process more clear and gives it a structure to follow on. And don’t end with the Forgiving. Building up your “Love Muscle” like I’ve written in Step 3 is essential too.

  • Anonymous

    Great post, sir! 🙂
    I have a question though: people not loving themselves is a common cause of them being victimized in abusive relationships, right?

  • Steven

    This is a great article! I think I will try this at some point in the near future.
    Love yourself, and you won’t be so hard on yourself.
    It actually reminds me quite a bit of this article
    http://thinksimplenow.com/happiness/the-secret-to-self-loving/

  • Patrick

    @Anonymous: You are absolutely right. Very often a traumatization has been taken place upfront. A people feel as a victim because of that and think they are not loveable because that incident happened.

    So they really need to get out of that victim state and need to regain control back. But what is the only think they can have control about?

    The only thing they have control over is their emotional reaction towards the event and the people evolved.

    They have to go trough the suppressed and associated feelings of anger, bitterness and hatred to let go of these emotions (Step 1 Cleansing)

    They can’t change the event anymore; the can’t change the other person. But they can change the emotional connection they have with the person and the situation that victimized them. They can forgive them (Step 2). Now I know that this is a damn hard thing to do if you have been abused, but it is the only way to let go of your own hurt. That’s why I included the mental shelf in case you cannot let it go at this moment. Then the process needs to be repeated (maybe for a longer time)

    Forgiving doesn’t mean to say it was all good. No. Forgiving means just that you take the power of your own mind back into your hands and let all negative bounds go, that reinforced the hurt within you. You still know that what happened was not right, but you don’t let it control you any longer. You release it from victimizing you in the now and in the future. Yes you have been a victim then, but now you are not anymore. Through forgiving you regain control of your power.

    With Step 3 then you build up love and self respect on what has been destroyed in the victimization.

    I agree that this is not a quick fix for abused people. But it still is the way to become free of that past and start anew. And through this process (especially Step 2 and 3) you will find a greater power that you never thought possible within you.

    And then the abuse will become the moment that started this process of your growth – and it will have no power over you anymore.

    • Anonymous2

      @Patrick, I am so glad that I found this article, and most importantly read these comments. I myself am a victim of years of abuse. I have just started this exercise today. Holding onto these memories and not letting them go has affected every aspect of my adult life. I am now 34 and still live in the past and do not love myself very much. I truly hope that this will help me get out of living in the past and get to where I want to be in life. I want to be dependent on no one but myself, especially emotionally! Thank you so much for this!

  • Patrick

    @Steven: “Dates with myself” – I like that. Very often we neglect ourselves because we give other people a higher priority in our life. This could be a start to reverse that. Thanks for the link.

  • We are taught from birth to think about other people, to care about other people, and to always be mindful of how other people feel. But we seldom hear anything about how important it is to take care of yourself.

    While kindness to others is commendable, I believe that the truly admirable among us are those who have learned to love themselves – not in the greedy, spoiled, stuck-up way, but in the purest sense – understanding that you yourself are a valuable person, and that the things you value are worth pursuing and protecting.

    • Patrick

      @Jeffrey Tang: Thank you for restating again that it is not about egotism but about valuing yourself and the other person as what you truly are – spiritual brothers and sisters.

  • Patrick
    I think journaling is great. I know people who keep an appreciation journal and I think I will start one now. Thanks for the inspiration…oh and I will repeat the last few words from the day before each morning.

    • Patrick

      @Jai Kai: Go for it! Doing this exercise for only 30 days will surely amaze you.

  • It took me a long time to post this, but yes, the exercise was very helpful. I’m not sure if it increased our love for ourselves, but I do know that it made us nicer people, and more understanding of others. As well as it helped us work out some negativity in our own lives.

    .-= ´s last blog ..How to Keep the Economy in Perspective =-.

    • Patrick

      Justin, thank you for your feedback. It is always great to see the principles applied and working. Good job. Keep it up.

  • Beautiful. What a wonderful, clear encapsulation of extremely powerful techniques. Well said Patrick – including your insightful response to Anonymous. Thank you.

    .-= ´s last blog ..Coloring-in for grown-ups =-.

  • I am not sure where you are getting your info, but great topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.
    Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for this information
    for my mission.

  • kimberly ourlian

    I have been searching and trying my whole life..i keep running into brick wall after brick wall..I never learned, never new how..even after reading this it all seems so impossible..now i have withdrawn from life, all my failed jobs, anything i ever wanted to do or become , all the tumultuous realtionships, the drug and alcohol abuse,..my eating disorder, all the slashing of my arms, the prostitution..i run and ran from everyone, the world, myself….where do i start?? i keep holding on, but i really dont want to hold on anymore..and i’m scared..because i’ll know once i make that decission and take that action there is no turning back..i hope this is not going on my social media sites

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