A Guide to Loving Yourself – Quirks and All

What does self-love have to do with pursuing dreams? Here’s what you need to know.

What does self-love have to do with pursuing dreams? Here’s what you need to know.

By Ashley Reynolds

When you think about the most important people in your life, who makes that list?

Your kids, your spouse, your parents and siblings, maybe even some close friends? Love is such an easy concept when you apply it to the people in your life – you couldn’t imagine treating them with anything but compassion, respect and admiration. So why is it so hard to feel this way about ourselves?

Truth is, you can’t actually love others the way they deserve if you don’t show yourself that same compassion. And you can’t present your best self to the world if you don’t believe in your abilities.

Okay, okay. You get it – it’s time to be nicer to ourselves. But what does loving yourself have to do with pursuing your dreams? Well, think of it this way: most dreams, no matter what the end goal, have to do with wanting to make a difference in the world in some way. And you’d be surprised how making little changes in the way we communicate with ourselves can impact that. Kimberly Zahasky, founder of The Professional Optimist and overall self-love expert, puts it best:

“The world is a puzzle. We are each pieces of it. We discover what our edges look like by digging into our passions, our strengths and our past. We must realize that we are all needed. How annoying is it to do an entire puzzle and realize that a piece is missing? When we are all unapologetically ourselves and work together, we can come together to form a beautiful picture – a world changing picture.”

Convinced yet? You can make a difference.

So, if you’ve got some bad habits when it comes to your relationship with yourself, Kimberly’s got some advice you’ll want to listen to. Here’s how to amp up your self-love and put yourself in a place where your dreams will thrive:

Out with the negative. The first step? Ignoring those negative forces in your life that influence your thoughts in a harmful way. “Our culture tells us constantly that we’re not enough. Television, magazines and social media tell you how you need to look and think. But you do not need everything media says you do to be happy!” explains Kimberly. Same goes for toxic relationships. “Some people in our lives are overly critical. At times, we must cut ties and let people go.”

Take time to think. “We all need time to be alone, to think, to process. I believe that when we create space and silence in our lives this is where the ‘ah-ha’ moments come from and where we can realize what our true priorities are and see the unrealistic expectations that we’re putting on ourselves.”

Nix the unkind language. Think about it, “if you treated your child how you treat yourself, would they feel loved? If you spoke to your boss like you speak to yourself, would you be fired? At minimum, give yourself the human decency and kindness that you would hope others would give you.”

Form positive habits. “If you work on implementing one positive habit per month, you’ll quickly see change in your life,” says Kimberly. “When your actions and thoughts start having progress you will like and respect yourself more. And the positive habits will start to push the negative habits out of your life.”

Take care of your body. Seems obvious, but all too often we put our own health at the bottom of our to-do list. Make an effort to change that! “When you eat well and regularly exercise, you will have more energy and endorphins. This feel-good state will give you the fuel to make your dreams a reality,” explains Kimberly.

No matter what your goals are in life, there’s no better way to start a dream pursuit than from a place of confidence and self-love. And what it comes down to is recognizing that you’re one of the most important people in your life. You can be your own cheerleader. You have every right to believe in yourself and, no matter what your quirks, unconditionally love yourself. So take these steps and get started. After all, “When we become our best versions of ourselves, we have truly authentic strengths to add to the world,” concludes Kimberly.

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