Throughout our generally hectic lives, we spend most of our time juggling personal and professional responsibilities, chasing dreams (hopefully) and taking care of those we love.  And although most of us have been told or read at some point that it’s important to love ourselves, it’s not something we tend to consider – though we’d do well to do so.  Because just as flight attendants advise us to secure our own oxygen masks before helping others, in order to give and receive love, we need to begin by truly and deeply loving ourselves.

Self-love is a passion of ours at No Bubblegum because it’s an essential component to living a kickass life.  And it starts with having compassion for yourself.  Here are some quick tips to get you in the right state of mind and heart.

6 Must-Do’s To Love Yourself First:

love hands1/ Work out because it’s good for your soul (not just your physical appearance).  Stop judging yourself for what you see as imperfect; your ‘flaws’ are part of what make you beautiful. Working out is good for you on sooo many levels; when you view it solely as a means to weight loss (and when you weigh yourself too often) you’re tragically missing out on a lot of joy and awesomeness.  Meanwhile, you’re doing the opposite of loving yourself; as horrible as it sounds, you’re kind of loathing yourself.  Avoid anyone (even if it’s a fitness instructor) who is focused on the mirror rather than on authentic connection and positive inspiration. This is serious business between you and your heart.  Another upside is that you’ll actually get more fit in the long run because you’ll fall in love with the process rather than just attaining a short-term goal.

2/ Wear what makes you feel good. This could mean wearing heels and lipstick one day (or every day, if that’s what you love) and sweatpants and a ponytail the next. Or not.  Wear what feels good to you, period.  Dress in a way that allows you to express who you are and to feel your most confident. Care about your appearance, not in a vanity way, but because you respect yourself and you care about feeling great; this is reflected in how you present yourself.  (Side note: Forcing  yourself to dress up when you’re feeling down can sometimes boost your mood – just as faking a smile can help increase your happiness.  It’s worth a shot now and then!)

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball

green beans3/ Avoid processed foods. Your body is meant to be fueled in the most natural way possible. Eating processed foods (those that have been chemically processed and made solely from refined ingredients and artificial substances) is dangerous to your health. Many illnesses and weight gain are caused by eating a large quantity of processed foods; they tend to be low in nutrients while being high in simple sugars, refined carbohydrates and trans fats. Eating real food is the key to good health. Show your body the love and care it deserves by avoiding processed foods altogether or as much as possible. Your body will thank you for it.

4/ Remember not everyone will like you. Everybody wants to be loved; it’s part of what makes us human.  However, it is literally impossible to please everyone unless you behave like a doormat (actually that would annoy someone too).  In order to love yourself, you need to accept that not everyone is going to appreciate you. And that’s okay; not everyone is supposed to. In the wise words of Bernard Baruch, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

woman angry face5/ Stop looking over your shoulder. As a track and field coach once warned, “The runner who looks over his shoulder is never the winner; she’s already defeated.”  This applies to personal happiness and business as well. To be successful in life (regardless of your definition of success), you can’t worry about what everyone else is doing.  You need to listen to and trust your gut, to appreciate what you have, and (if this applies) to work your butt off to achieve whatever your heart is set on. Life is way too short to waste precious time and energy focusing on someone else’s path at the expense of your own.

6/ Believe in your future (+ Be grateful for what is).  In order for great things to happen, you need to believe in the possibility of them happening.  And you need to know deep in your heart that you are worthy of happiness, of love and of success.  This begins by feeling a strong sense of gratitude for all that you already have.  Meanwhile, you’ll naturally inspire others to do the same.

* Song For This Moment: “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber.

Sources & Related Links:

“What Does It Mean To Love Yourself”, article by Dr. Margaret Paul for Project Happiness: http://goo.gl/ZIf4TO

“Refreshingly Honest Celebrity Body Confessions”, article in Shape UK: http://goo.gl/MjXKYE

 ¨Thirty Ways To Learn To Love Yourself And Be Happy With The World”, article in Elite Daily: http://goo.gl/NLxU6c