Most of us have days where we struggle to love (or even like) ourselves. Maybe we’re overwhelmed, stretched thin, or feeling the weight of past regrets.
No matter what’s holding you back, it can be hard to know how to love yourself more. What does it even mean to “love yourself” anyway? Does it mean treating yourself to a spa day? Buying a new outfit or boasting about your achievements on social media? Aren’t people who love themselves a little narcissistic?
Learning how to love yourself more doesn’t mean being full of yourself, taking more selfies, or buying yourself presents. Instead, it means treating yourself with loving kindness and acknowledging the gifts you bring to the world. Here’s how to embrace self-compassion and love yourself more today!
When we think of self-care, we likely think of activities that nourish us in some way, fill us up, and help us feel comforted. For example, self-care might mean nourishing our cravings with pizza, spending time with friends, or treating ourselves to a pedicure. Self-nourishment doesn’t only apply to physical hungers, but any activity that brings us comfort and a sense of satisfaction.
But sometimes, those quick satisfactions may not fill us as much as we hope. Instead, it may leave us with a sense of emptiness, still craving more.
Spiritual hungers are the essential desires that drive our quest for the life we want. They are the most profound and most essential needs we have. Yet, paradoxically, they are also the needs we are least trained to meet. We remain relatively unaware of our deeper yearnings, confusing them with our surface cravings. We then try to sate these unmet hungers with our soft addictions, but no matter how hard we try, they can never assuage these deep needs.
How we relate to our deeper hungers and needs defines our lives. The degree to which we are aware of our hungers determines our degree of satisfaction and fulfillment, our contribution to life, our impact, and our experience of joy, suffering, peace, and love. If we deny our hungers, we miss the opportunity to feed the deepest parts of ourselves. We become anxious, frenetic, distracted, and unfulfilled and fail to live the life we want. When we identify our deeper hungers and seek to fulfill them directly, we create a life of more.
It takes practice to meet our yearnings. The media and society tell us that “feeling good” is a quick fix that we can instantly gratify. We may think if we buy that new outfit, go on that great vacation, or get the latest tech toy, we’ll feel complete. But the temporary buzz wears away quickly and leaves us still unfulfilled.
To get that sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, and purpose, we need to meet our underlying yearnings—the deeper desires hidden beneath our temporary wants. But knowing how to recognize and ultimately move toward our yearnings requires practice. It’s not a “quick fix” or something we can meet with instant gratification.
Fortunately, when we start to “do the work” to unearth our yearnings and get them met, it becomes easier and feels satisfying. So while we can’t order up the answer to our yearnings on Amazon Prime and have them delivered tomorrow, we can start to change our life path in such a way that we’re meeting those yearnings daily with each interaction.
Remember those commercials that used to say, “Believe me, I’m worth it!” Well, they were true. We are each worth it! We’re worth living a life of fulfillment and satisfaction. We’re worth the effort it takes to live a life of more.
One reason why soft addictions are so, well, addicting is that they offer an immediate soothing effect. How simple is it to go to Starbucks and order a fancy coffee drink? How easy is it to click online and fill our cart with new clothes?
When we indulge our soft addictions, we get a temporary rush. Shopping is exhilarating. Sugar is comforting. Hitting the “watch next episode” button on Netflix feels satisfying. But these activities end up getting in the way of living the lives we truly want and were born to live. They can distract us from fulfilling our destiny and attaining our full potential. It’s not that donuts, television, new clothes, or even social media are “bad.” On the contrary, they are enjoyable, fun, and can be used for positive outcomes. It’s the overuse and reliance on these soft addictions that rings hollow.
Imagine these two different scenarios:
After a frustrating day at work, you stop and pick up a pizza on your way home. You walk in the door, flop down on the couch and flip on the TV. You eat while you scroll through your phone on social media. As you look at the photos of your friends doing exciting activities, you feel a twinge of jealousy, guilt, and frustration. To avoid it, you pull up a game on the screen, which you play while binge-watching Netflix. Finally, still stewing about work, you decide to eat a couple of cookies and go to bed.
After a frustrating day at work, you text a friend to meet you for a slice of pizza. The two of you discuss the day and end up laughing about it, lightening the mood. You decide to go for a walk after dinner and pass a theater showing a documentary you wanted to see. The two of you stop in and watch the movie. After, you walk home, discussing the nuances of the film and extracting some parallels to your own life and the situation at the office. When you get home, you’re ready for bed, tired but satisfied, ready to face the world anew tomorrow.
Although both scenarios offer pizza, film, and social connections, they’re vastly different. While the first scenario may seem like more of an indulgence, it’s the second scenario that leaves us feeling nourished and cared about.
We can give in to our wants, temporarily offering entertainment or relief, or we can seek to fulfill our hungers and our deeper yearnings. These deeper yearnings are much more satisfying when fulfilled because they’re related to our emotions.
The funny thing about yearnings is that, in some ways, they’re easier to fulfill than wants. If we want a specific item like a particular brand of shoes, an app for our phone, a specific meal, nothing else will satisfy us. We often have a very clear picture in our mind of our want and what exactly will fulfill it.
Yearnings, in contrast, are often deeper, more essential, and can be satisfied in many different ways. If we want to connect with others, we can take many steps toward that goal. When we fulfill our yearning to connect with others, we may simultaneously fulfill our yearning to be loved, to be heard, to be respected. If we yearn for affirmation, we might connect with a friend. We might greet someone we pass on the street. We may do something nice for someone else. We aren’t limited to a specific method to meet our yearning.
Whether we realize it or not, we are all worth a life of MORE. Every human being has intrinsic value. Each of us is worthy of love and of living a full, beautiful, juicy, and satisfying life.
One of the first points we share with our students at the Wright Foundation is that each person is a gift. We are all worthy of discovering fulfillment. Inside each of us is great potential–the ability to influence not only our own lives and destinies but the lives and destinies of those around us too.
When we align ourselves and our lives with the truth, we will experience total satisfaction. We’ll discover how our life transforms when we access the infinite love of spirit each moment we live.
As I wrote in my book, There Must Be More Than This, “It isn’t that love isn’t available; it is that we are not available to love.” When we try to fulfill our need for love and make ourselves more loveable, we might fall into soft addictions and time wasters. We’re attempting to fill a void within ourselves with activities, foods, and methods of escape that don’t nourish us because they don’t speak to our need for purpose. We all hunger for MORE. When we accept that we’re truly worth more and the universe provides us with abundant beauty, love, and light ready for the taking, we will find the comfort we seek.
Being loved isn’t a feeling we need to meet. It’s a decision. The feeling of being loved isn’t something that others give us. Yes, we may be loved by our spouse, children, and friends, but we might not feel that love all the time. When we decide we ARE loved, we look for evidence to confirm that belief. As our awareness increases, we realize love is all around us all the time. We may see a stunning sunset or beautiful artwork. We may hear an awesome piece of music, and we realize it’s confirmation of the love and beauty that surrounds us everywhere in the universe.
If you want to know how to love yourself more, the path is to fulfill the yearnings of your heart. If you yearn to connect with others, nourish yourself by sharing openly with friends. If you yearn to express yourself, cultivate and share your talents and opinions. If you long to be loved, express your love to others.
When we fulfill our yearnings, we’re treating ourselves to the ultimate form of self-care and self-nourishment! Remember, you’re worth it!
Don’t miss our courses at Wright Now for more ways to live a life filled with more purpose, joy, and fulfillment. We offer an array of courses designed to help you maximize your potential and get more out of your relationships, career, and growth.
Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.
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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.