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{Note from Jessica: Today’s post is shared by my dear friend Kelly Matsudaira. Kelly is passionate about personal development and reflection on life and often pops in to share words of wisdom! I hope you enjoy today’s article!}

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by Kelly Matsudaira

Love is in the air this month, and every February 14th, we tell our family, friends and loved ones how much they mean to us and how much we care about them.

But do you ever tell yourself, or even better, show yourself how much you love YOU?

We are so busy living our crazy lives that we put everyone else’s needs above our own. Most of us put other priorities ahead of ourselves and never squeeze in the “me” time we desperately need and deserve.

If you’re one of the millions of people who do this, then I’m here to tell you that you’ve been doing it all wrong.

Making yourself number one in your life is not being selfish. Many people may think this, but they are mistaken. When you take care of yourself and put your needs above others, you are actually doing them a favor because you’re making yourself a better person that is able to take care of them.

Why Do We Neglect Ourselves?

Low self-esteem and self-confidence are two of the main reasons people neglect themselves or even go the extreme and claim that they hate themselves. It’s a terrible place to live within your mind that only ruins being in the present moment.

Past mistakes or events can shape our minds into thinking we’re not good enough, not worthy enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not smart enough, not (insert your own negative phrase) enough. However, you should not let the past or other people’s opinions define you.

You are your own unique authentic self. Of all the billions of people roaming this earth, there is absolutely no one like you here. So start accepting yourself and loving every part – flaws, imperfections and all.

You must learn to trust yourself again and be okay with loving yourself. You are all you have! If you can’t love yourself, how can you expect to love anyone else? You must put yourself first. Starting now!

Reprogram Your Thinking Towards Yourself

If you fall victim to your own self-sabotaging negative thoughts, then it’s time to stop. Our society, parents, siblings, friends, teachers, co-workers and everyone else around us has shaped how we view and think about ourselves.

But guess what? None of it is true.

They are all living in their own realities and none of it has anything to do with you. It’s a reflection of themselves and their own perceptions. So pay no mind to what others think of you or the negative comments they make towards you. Don’t take anything personally. It’s not true and it doesn’t matter. What matters are your own thoughts.

It’s take some work and practice but you can master thinking more positively about yourself, your life, and your circumstances. Every time a negative thought arises, and it will because we’re all conditioned this way, realize the negativity, observe how it’s affecting you and then let it pass. In place of it, think of something more positive, give yourself a compliment or show your gratitude.

7 Ways to Quit Hating Yourself and Start Loving Yourself

Now that you’re on your journey of self-love, here are some things you can do to show yourself how much you love you:

  • Pamper yourself. Don’t be afraid to have a girls’ day out or just time alone with yourself at a spa and get that massage, manicure and pedicure you’ve been wanting. Or indulge in a hot bubble bath with a glass of wine after a hard day’s work. Or buy that Coach purse you’ve been eyeing since Christmas that no one got you.
  • Give yourself a break. You’re doing the best you can do right now. If you didn’t get everything done on your ‘To Do’ list today, don’t fret, you have tomorrow. You aren’t a superhero that can get everything done or get to everything every day. Give yourself some slack.
  • Spend time alone. We all need breaks from the craziness in our lives, whether that is our family, our job, our friends, or our adult responsibilities. It’s okay to take some time for yourself and get away from it. Take a walk out in nature and enjoy the beauty around you. Find a quiet room to meditate in or curl up with a good book. Or leave the spouse and/or kids at home and do the weekly shopping by yourself.
  • Quit comparing yourself to others. You don’t know what others are going through. Their lives may look like a fairy tale on social media but you don’t know what’s actually going on underneath it. We are all here on our own journeys so you can’t ever compare yourself to others because you are on your own unique path. You need to do what is right for you and your life.
  • Tackle projects or goals you’ve been putting aside. It’s time to start working on that blog or novel you’ve been wanting to write, or start that side business you’ve been dreaming about. Don’t take your own life visions and goals for granted and keep them on the back burner. It’s time to start working towards your dreams and making them come true. With the right mindset and time management, there is more than enough time in a day to work on your own projects in addition to your other priorities.
  • Pay attention to yourself. Our bodies love the attention we give it when we’re exercising. Try to move your body a little bit every day and do activities that are fun for you, like hiking, skiing, running, cycling, Zumba, yoga, etc. To nourish our souls, set time aside every day to go within and meditate. It doesn’t have to be long, it can just be 10 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel mentally and physically when you pay more attention to yourself.
  • Give up the guilt, blame, shame, and anger. Let go of the past. What’s done is done and there’s nothing you can do to change it. Now it’s all about moving forward. Don’t let the people or things from your past affect your present and future. You made the best decisions with what you had and knew in that circumstance. There is no need to beat yourself up over it. All that matters is the present moment.

I know you are worth it, so now you just need to believe you’re worth it. It’s time we stop hating ourselves and start loving ourselves.

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