How can I start loving myself?

Self love: how do you love yourself?

Love yourself! Accept your weaknesses! Hug your inner child! All of this can be found in many guides today. Self-love is the word of the hour - and admittedly, that sounds great and like “I want it too”.

But how on earth are you supposed to love yourself while you're constantly stumbling across great people online with wonderful lives? People who suggest to you that such a normal, average existence is something to be ashamed of? Isn't unconditional self-love asking a little too much?

What is self-love anyway?

Self love. It's actually quite simple: To love your own self as it is. Unreservedly, with all flaws and faults, on good and bad days. The way you do it, with people you love! You can be angry with them or get annoyed with them, but at the end of the day you still love them. Or just because of that.

But in your own self it is unfortunately not easy to accept "all flaws and mistakes". Too high the claim! And too much of the artificial flawlessness that some want you to believe exists in your face. You only have to invest a tiny bit in your self-optimization and hey presto - you belong to the select group of the beautiful and desirable. So it is up to you whether you are beautiful and sexy. If you don't take part, it's your own fault! Great! Of course, that's not how it works with self-love.

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Why is it so difficult to love yourself?

The fact is: In the meantime, a number of studies have shown that constant comparison with others makes you unhappy and affects your self-image. Scientists at the Danish Happiness Research Institute say, for example: If you scroll through the posts of friends, colleagues and celebrities on social networks every day, you end up being jealous and feeling inadequate. True to the motto “Hey Loser-Me, why don't you sit on the beach and sip cocktails like your neighbor with the great living room furniture?” At the end of the timeline there would be the sobering realization that everyone has a cool, exciting life, just yourself Unfortunately not.

But what is the difference between healthy self-love and the completely exaggerated glorification of oneself? After all, quite a few scientists now speak of an “age of narcissists” in which adolescents celebrate and stage themselves without limits.

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Do not confuse self-love with self-love!

"Narcissism is a noticeable self-love and exaggerated self-centeredness," explains Anne Heintze, therapist and founder of the Open Mind Academy. “Narcissistic people are primarily concerned with themselves and not interested in others. You overestimate yourself immeasurably and have excessive demands. "

Self-love, on the other hand, is the acceptance of one's own personality, the acceptance of what and how we are. “Self-love means trusting yourself, respecting yourself and learning to appreciate your own worth. Self-acceptance plays a decisive role in this, ”says Heintze.

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Laughing at yourself can also make you feel small

The exact definition of the tightrope walk between self-love and self-criticism is also important for another reason: Apparently, a lot of women nowadays share the concern of coming across as self-enamored or even being labeled as narcissistic. For example, the British linguistics expert Judith Baxter from Aston University in Birmingham found in a study that 90 percent of men joke at the expense of others. 70 percent of women, on the other hand, only drag themselves through the cocoa.

“As absurd as it sounds, this negative talk should actually have a positive effect,” explains personality coach Kim Fleckenstein. It may sound paradoxical at first, but it is anchored in us evolutionarily. In the course of human development, men have long been focused on competing with others, while women have always had a stronger sense of community. For them it is - obviously to this day - important to appear less threatening to others and to be able to build the largest possible community around them. Anyone who lets others look behind the facade (“I've really never been good at giving a presentation”) is tearing down walls and making it look lovable.

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Sometimes evolution is pretty stupid. Because at this point it unfortunately makes life unnecessarily difficult for us. If we look at the results of a self-love survey (Women’s Health International), 67 percent of the women surveyed believe that people who love themselves are also perceived more positively by others. Just 3 percent think that people who accept and love themselves come across as arrogant. And 77 percent said they had never been called self-enamored by other people. Ergo: Loving yourself is not a crime, it also makes you personable.

Loving yourself - how does it work now?

Admittedly, there is no silver bullet that makes it easy to immediately relax deeply and to exude love from every pore. But there are a few smart tips that can pave the way for those whose self-love level could use a little boost. So: take heart - you are great!

1. Stop comparing yourself

All this self-staging on Instagram & Co. is sometimes too much for you? Then just unfollow the people who make you feel uncomfortable. Be it because you feel envy building up in you or anger at yourself because you may not have such a great trained body. Comparisons with celebrities are lagging because the image they convey on the Internet a) is often not entirely real and b) does not automatically represent desirable goals.

67 percent believe that people who love themselves are also perceived more positively by others
© Jonathan Borba / unsplash.com

2. Don't strive for perfection

You don't have to be perfect. Neither for you nor for others. Or do you always expect 100 percent from those around you? Probably not because you know it doesn't exist. Then why are you so strict with yourself? Better to let it go, true to the motto: "Perfect is boring, human is beautiful!"

3. Dare to do something

What have you always wanted to do, but have so far put it on the back burner? No matter what challenge it is ultimately - go for it, put all your strength and heart and soul into it and in the end savor the not to be underestimated feeling that you have reached your goal!

4. Stack not that deep

Whether in your résumé or online dating profile: Don't put your light under a bushel. You are someone, you can do something, and everyone can know that. And please stop dressing yourself up right away. Sentences like “I never do anything right” are best deleted from your repertoire immediately. Instead, push yourself and praise yourself more often.

5. Take care of yourself

This includes saying no more often without postponing an explanation. You don't feel good and you need some time for yourself? Then say it and don't make excuses. Listen to yourself and your body. That too is self-love.

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6. Be who you want to be

Sometimes we don't particularly suffer from each other because we have chosen a path in life that is not ours. Then we suddenly find out that we are in the wrong job or living with the wrong man. And now? Turn everything upside down, do everything new? The inconvenient answer is: probably yes. Go inside and ask yourself what you really want from life and what kind of life you would really feel comfortable in. This doesn't work with 5-minute brainstorming, it takes a few weeks or months - and it's painful. But it's worth it!

Only those who love themselves can also love others - is that correct?

A sentence that comes up again and again, especially when something doesn't work out with the great love. “First learn to love yourself. Then you are also ready to give and receive love. ”Sounds like a wisdom from grandma and somehow a bit spiritual. Is there really something to it? "It really is like that," knows therapist Anne Heintze, "The acceptance of oneself is the first step towards gaining acceptance by others."

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It therefore appears all the more drastic that, according to the above survey, a full 60 percent of the participants have already asked themselves how it can be that they are loved in their relationship and that someone really wants to be with them. Almost 20 percent said they had these thoughts all the time. “You don't have to do others a favor to get them to respect you. They should love you because you are who you are and not even though you are who you are, ”says the expert. Spot on!

Self-love is not a vain self-love, but the acceptance of your own personality with all its quirks and peculiarities. Accept yourself as you are, then your life will be more beautiful, more relaxed and more honest!