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5 Golden Keys To Cherishing Yourself In A World Filled With Pressures

It's easy to forget to treat ourselves with love and respect, and often, we're our own worst critics. 

Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you will ever have. You can't break up or divorce yourself, so you need to make sure you learn how to live with and appreciate every aspect of who you are. 

You need to treat yourself like you expect others to treat you, but unfortunately, this can be much easier said than done. A couple of years ago, when I was struggling with low self-esteem, I would never have guessed that I was one of the driving forces behind feeling so horrible about myself.

I was constantly critiquing my own appearance, always doubting myself and constantly spoke to myself in a negative, demeaning way.

No wonder my self-esteem was so incredibly bruised. It wasn't until I learned to love and treat myself better that I began to see who I was in a much clearer, more accurate light.

If you don't treat yourself well or believe you are a worthy, deserving person, you may find yourself guilty of the self-vertification theory. Self-vertification theory is when people seek confirmation of the idea they have of themselves.

This means if you have a negative self-concept, you are likely to attract and surround yourself with those who confirm your belief about yourself.

Often, those who stay in abusive relationships do so because they believe they aren't worthy or deserving of love, and their abusive partner verifies that belief.

Recognizing your beauty and worth is crucial to finding happiness in all relationships in your life, not just the one you have with yourself.

If you find yourself attracting toxic relationships, it might be a sign that you need start treating yourself better.

Here are some suggestions I try to live by:

Catch Yourself

The more you try to catch yourself having a self-defeating mindset, the more aware you will become of it. For example, the other day I got an exam back and wasn't happy with the grade.

From the minute I saw the letter grade, I started ripping myself apart: "Why didn't you try harder? Why aren't you as smart as everyone else? How could you get that question wrong?"

But then, I caught myself and realized that I did try my best and I did prepare. Just because I got a bad grade on one exam doesn't mean I'm not smart or capable; it just happened to be a difficult exam. It definitely wasn't worth me beating myself up over.

Forgive Yourself

Everyone makes mistakes. Recognize what you did wrong and learn from it; don't let it become a source of internal hatred. Let go of all regrets and leave the past in the past.

Accept Yourself

Accept yourself exactly as you are. Recognize your own beauty for what it is, not in the context of comparing it to others. So many of us are chasing after unattainable beauty standards thanks to our constant exposure to media, models and photoshopped photography.

You need to realize that most of the time what you are seeing in magazines is unattainable and a lot of the times, not even real.

"To rely so heavily on appearance is to set you up for a fall, after all, image is transient and it's also subjective. It creates an insecure existence where you're not only living a life based on fluctuating value of what you can attain through validation, but you're also debasing your own substance by neglecting what makes you, you --  your values and how you live your life. Instead your identity is your appearance." - Natalie Lue

Practice Affirmations

When I first read about how affirmations can really make a difference in the way you perceive and talk to yourself, I honestly thought it was bullsh*t.

Regardless, I tried it and began reciting positive thoughts to myself in the mirror. It may feel silly at first, but eventually, it starts to feel amazing. The more you practice affirmations, the more you start to believe them.

Something about telling yourself you are a beautiful person while looking yourself directly in the eye is very powerful.

Meditate

Practicing being mindful will allow you to wake up and see things how they really are. It will allow you to live in the present, let go of judgments and really connect with yourself.

I just finished a book on meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn called, "Wherever You Go, There You Are," which helps you incorporate positive thoughts into your everyday life.

It's a great beginner's guide to meditation.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It