I used to be the kind of person who sought happiness through everything else but myself. I depended on things like money, success, and companionship to satisfy emotions that I should’ve been nurturing personally.
This misconception caused huge problems in my life when I found myself stripped of these vessels– the absence of money and adoration left me feeling lost, hopeless, and without direction.
For the sake of my well-being, I started to prioritize self-love, and life has been more fruitful ever since! Allow me to put you on to the three ways I learned to be my own source of happiness so that you, too can, learn to be your own best friend and carry your joyousness with you everywhere you go!
Give Yourself The Love You Seek From Others
Sometimes we rely on others to fill voids of love we should be awarding ourselves. We fish for compliments, attention, and displays of affection from other people and are disappointed when we don’t receive it or if it’s not up to our standard.
I used to rely heavily on validation from others in order to feel good about myself. So much so that other people’s opinions affected my confidence, and absences of adoration would be taken to heart.
I didn’t realize at the time that these were all symptoms of low self-esteem.
In life, I’ve learned that you can’t control how other people view and treat you. If you allow yourself to be persuaded by other people’s feelings, you’ll never reach a point of satisfaction. The only person you should be trying to please is you.
Author and spiritualist Don Miguel Ruiz speaks about this in his best-selling wisdom guide “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom”. In the second chapter titled “Don’t Take Things Personally,” he speaks about the benefits of loving yourself:
“When you feel good, everything around you is good. When everything around you is great, everything makes you happy. You are loving everything that is around you, because you are loving yourself. Because you like the way you are. Because you are content with you. Because you are happy with your life”.Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements
Practice self-love. If you’re providing yourself with love and nourishment, you’ll never be without it, and you won’t feel the need to seek love from anywhere else.
Here are my favorite ways to pour love into myself:
- I celebrate my own accomplishments. Whenever I achieve anything, great or small, I make sure to give myself a pat on the back. Cheers and smiles followed by a “you go girl” is usually enough to keep my spirits high, but if the mood calls for it, I’ll take it one step further and treat myself to something (celebratory J, anyone?)
- I don’t compare myself to other people. My looks, life, and process are uniquely mine. Instead of being caught up in an imaginary popularity contest, I accept my life the way it is. With this outlook, confidence comes with ease, and I never feel threatened or the need to compete. I am my own competition.
- I build myself up with words of affirmation. Verbal affirmation is my preferred love language. Knowing this, I force-feed myself affirmative quotes daily. I’ll look for a quote that’s specific to the reassurance I need(either in a book or online), and I’ll post it somewhere nearby (like on the wall behind my workstation or as my phone’s wallpaper). This way, I’m constantly exposed to it. Now I have a daily reminder of how amazing I am 🙂
- I’m mindful/selective of my language. If words can be used as a weapon against others, why not ourselves? I started paying close attention to how I speak about myself, especially when I make a mistake (ex: OMG! I’m such an idiot). I refrain from using hurtful language and make sure that I am kind and patient with myself at all times.
- I use self-help books and music to keep my spirits high. Nothing like a self-help book or an upbeat song to remind you that you’re the shit. Whenever I need help restoring my inner faith , I read, or I put on a playlist. My ‘boss bitch’ playlist is a sure-fire way to put my confidence on 1000.
- I pamper myself. Whether it’s a relaxing candlelit bubble bath, my favorite yoga routine, or a face mask, I dedicate time to pampering myself. I do this daily and the luxuriousness of it all makes me feel like a goddess.
- I protect my peace. Establishing boundaries is a form of self-care. To raise my self-confidence, I stand up for myself whenever I feel my happiness is in jeopardy (one of my favorite ways to do this is by putting my phone on DND whenever I need alone time). By establishing a standard for myself, it helps me take myself more seriously and sends a message that I am worthy of respect. I do this as often as I can, even when it seems intimidating, and every time I succeed I can physically feel my self-worth rising.
- I stick to my guns. I used to feel compelled to explain myself or apologize to people, even when explanation wasn’t necessary or I didn’t do anything wrong (like if I was too busy to respond to a text or I didn’t want to go to someone’s event). Now, I practice trusting my thoughts and feelings instead of feeling bad about them which eliminates the need for me to explain or say I’m sorry.
Hang Out With Yourself
Spending time alone is a great way to reunite you with your sense of self and get familiar with your inner voice, which can be smothered or have to take a back seat when you’re hanging out with other people (like Eleven of Stranger Things would say, “halfway happy“).
I recently discovered the majesty of hanging out with myself, which reminds me of a story…
A few weeks ago, I learned about Japanfes NYC, an annual festival that celebrates all things Japan (everything from food to music to anime cosplay.)
Since I was a kid, I’ve been a huge fan of Japanese culture, so you could imagine how excited I was to go! Feeling spontaneous, I told my family to get dressed so that we could have this experience together but, they didn’t seem as excited as I was. Feeling disheartened by their lack of enthusiasm, I canceled our family outing. My Husbae saw how disappointed I was and suggested I go alone. My eyes beamed with joy and, after I left the house, I was so glad I went dolo.
I didn’t have to worry about my daughter getting tired and complaining about all of the walking or my Husband getting irritated by the large crowd; I got to enjoy the experience 100%, and even though I was only able to be there for a few hours (next time I’ll get you rolled ice cream!) I had so much fun!
When I was young (and yes, dumb), I thought that hanging out alone was only for weird, lonely people, and fun could only be experienced with company…that all changed during the pandemic. Constantly being surrounded by people caused me to feel overwhelmed and without a sense of self. When I finally got a chance to be alone, I had no idea what to do with myself. When I could think of something to do, I always wanted to involve other people. I found myself constantly craving company. When I couldn’t get ahold of a friend or a loved one, I took it personally and would take my insatiable loneliness out on other people. Who can relate? Eventually, I learned that what I needed wasn’t to see people more often; it was to learn to be comfortable doing things alone.
Hang out with yourself! Relish in your own solidarity and bask in doing things just because you WANT to. Enjoy alone time pursuing your own hobbies and interests and do things exclusive to you and your happiness. Take yourself on a date and learn to move throughout the world uninhibited, free from worry, judgment, or duty.
Here are my favorite things to do in my alone time:
1. Explore the city (I’ll walk down a new block, visit a new place, or visit my favorite places just by myself)
2. Hike/nature walk (nothing but me, my music, my lemon water, and my walking shoes)
3. Shop (Ok! 9.9/10 I’m shopping at Target)
4. Travel (I recently got to fly alone for the first time and it was truly bliss. I’d love to solo travel more often)
Happiness is something that has to come from within. If your happiness is tethered in other people, places, or things, then you’ll never get to the point of satisfaction because you’ll constantly be stuck in a cycle of pursuing happiness. This way of thinking can be dangerous and detrimental to your mental health and self-esteem. When it’s all said and done, and the dust settles, all you’re left with is yourself. Make sure you’re treating you right.
*How are you your own best friend? What ways do you like to practice self love?
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