It’s relatively easy to love others and recognize their value, but sometimes the hardest thing in the world is to appreciate yourself.

Perhaps you’re feeling like you’re not all that loveable, or maybe there are just too many other obligations jamming up your to-do list to even think about it.

The truth is that you aren’t perfect but often our society that begs to make you think otherwise. In an an overly competitive world, our inner critics are louder than ever.

Interestingly, your heart knows better. We’re often told to trust the wisdom of the heart, and that’s especially true when it comes to self worth.

The tireless organ that pumps nourishing blood to all the cells of your body understands instinctively that if it’s depleted, it can’t possibly do any good. So the heart feeds itself first. The first lifeblood it pumps is always to itself. Then and only then, it goes on to take care of everything else.

When you take time to look within, be as kind to yourself as you are to others, attend your own needs, and treat yourself with loving care, you’ll begin to see yourself with new eyes.

Here are four ways to springboard yourself back to a self-loving state of being when the going gets tough:

Catch Some Face Time…With Yourself.

The thought of mirror work makes a lot of people cringe, but if you can get past that initial squeamishness, it’s one of the most powerful tools around to help you break your negative self-talk habit and regain your self-esteem. There are lots of ways to approach this — see if any of these feel right to you:

  • Look into your own eyes in the mirror and smile. Tell your image out loud how amazing he or she is, and why. And express compassion for the parts of yourself that aren’t yet what you want them to be. You might say something like,”You never give up, no matter what life throws at you, and that blows me away. Thank you for that. And by the way, you make the best nachos around.”
  • Gaze deeply at your reflection and simply say, “I love you,” and/or “I forgive you.”
  • Rather than speak out loud, focus silently on your refection for at least a whole minute and send it loving energy. This is more powerful than you know.
  • Instead of committing to formal mirror sessions, just send yourself some quick love when you happen to catch your reflection in a glass window, your bathroom mirror, or any other reflective surface. The message can be as short as, “Hi Cutie,” or “You’re awesome!” or “I’ve got your back.” If it’s appropriate, speak out loud. But if there are others within earshot, it’s fine to do this silently.

If you’re stumped about what to say to the mirror, ask yourself what your best friend would tell you if you were feeling insecure. And then just look yourself in the eye, smile, and pass on that supportive message.

Empowerment Journal

When you’re feeling like you haven’t accomplished anything worthwhile, journaling may be the perfect technique to help you recognize all the wonderful ways you succeed every day.

Find a blank book or notebook that feels good in your hands, and some pens that feel good to write with. Then, every day, write down at least three ways that you truly and completed owned it.

This isn’t about major accomplishments like ending poverty or being awarded a Nobel prize (although it would certainly make sense to include these things if they apply)! In all seriousness, it’s all about recognizing your small, everyday triumphs — and you’ll probably find way more than three each day.

So, if you were able to calm your child after a nightmare, acknowledge your inner superhero.

And if your dog goes out of his way to especially seek you out for cuddles and kisses, embrace the love.

And even if it was just that you finally got all your bills paid, remember to give yourself credit. Write it down and bask in the glory of being the capable and powerful person you are.

Clean it out.

Putting aside an afternoon to clean your closet presents a unique opportunity to get to know who you once were, who you are today, and who you want to become. Unless you subscribe to minimalism (and I highly suggest it), odds are that your closet is a cluttered jumble of old and new; begging for your attention and organization.

Allow yourself to let go of the need to put it off and dive in. Try on each garment and see how it makes you feel. Does it still reflect the authentic you? Did it ever? And perhaps most importantly, does it make you feel good about yourself? If not, why are you hanging onto it?

It’s incredibly empowering to let go of all that no longer serves you and donate these items to others who’ll enjoy them. You’ll probably feel lighter and better about yourself when you’re done, and it may even inspire you to clean house in other important areas of your life.

Slow down.

Self worth tends to take a back seat if you’re rushing around so much you barely have a chance to breathe.

When you make room for yourself in your hectic life, you’ll begin to feel a bit like royalty and hold your head up a little higher. And scheduling time to be good to yourself helps recharge your batteries so you’ll actually become more efficient at putting out all life’s little fires.

So whether it’s expressing yourself creatively through art, music, dancing, or writing — or just spending quiet time in nature, alone or with loved ones, try to give yourself the gift of at least a few hours each week where you come first. It’s incredibly beneficial to your brain.

Some even liken it to closing down all the apps on your iPhone; everything simply runs much smoother.

When you follow your heart’s wisdom and nourish yourself first, self worth blossoms as stress fades into the background which benefits you physically and mentally.

So, commit to feeling good and worthwhile and focus on anything and everything that brings you joy. You’ll discover you have more to give to the world and everyone you love. And you’ll be amazed at all the surprising ways that positive energy ripples through the world and comes right back to you.

What goes around really does come around, and all that good karma starts with taking care of yourself first.

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