Happiness starts with self-love. I have found the more we love ourselves, and truly embrace ourselves as the perfect, whole and creative beings we are – others will return that love. It was an “Ah-ha” moment for me when I realized that everyone in my life is merely a mirror of my consciousness. They can only be as loving, respectful and good to me as I am to myself. I know this may sound like metaphysical “woo-woo” but trust me it is real.
Think about your own life. When you weren’t being so kind to yourself – perhaps you were “beating yourself up” for a mistake rather than forgiving yourself, or thinking “I am not good enough” for something rather than seeing your true worth, I bet others didn’t treat you so good either. I have discovered they are merely reflecting back to us how we feel.
The good news is about this insight is that we can learn to love ourselves more, accept ourselves fully (human imperfections and all) and practice more self-love on our path to a happier life. As I have personally learned to take much better care of myself, people treat me better, and as I accept myself unconditionally – others do that too.
So here are my 3 Simple Suggestions to begin a lifelong practice of self-love:
• Love Yourself – I know so many of us lead busy lives but I have found the more we do something just for us each day – the better our lives get. It may be a short meditation, morning prayer, pedicure, massage, golf outing or lunch with friends – what it is doesn’t matter as much as it feeds your soul, recharges you and helps you remember yourself as the great person you are. (Shopping to look good counts too – whether it’s Bloomingdales or a great consignment store, it all counts!)
One book that I have also loved that really underscored this point was Cheryl Richardson’s, Take Time for Your Life, and also I love Louise Hay’s book, I Can Do It (with audio for the car).
• Get Inspired – Over the years, I have learned that if I connect with the people, places and things that inspire me — I can overcome challenges, and love myself more. Just yesterday, I was listening to Rose Rock, author of Mama Rocks Rules, speak about how to overcome challenges and raise positive and productive kids today (She is mother of 10 children, and 17 foster children — including Chris Rock). I was particularly touched when she told us: “Blessings are only good when you pass them on.”
So do something that inspires you and your greatness. It may be going for a walk in nature, feeding the birds in your backyard or listening to a truly empowering song – whatever it is fill yourself up with “something greater” and also pass it on.
• Express Yourself – With all of this radical self-care, and inspiration — creative expression so clearly comes next. I know that within everyone there are gifts to be given to this world whether it is making a wonderful key lime pie (YUM!), creating a wonderful garden patch, being a Professor of mathematics or painting a masterpiece. The list of possibilities is endless.
One thing I know for sure is the more time we give ourselves to create, express our unique talents and really give to the world what is ours to give — we feel happier, and are learning to love every part of ourselves!
By Maureen Healy
Maureen Healy is an author, speaker, and expert on the topic of happiness. Her latest book, Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success and Happiness, is available wherever books are sold. She also writes for Psychology Today and PBS. More info: www.growinghappykids.com and @mdhealy