From birth until death, you will be the only constant presence in your life. Friends will come in and out of your life. Family members will too. Even the longest, closest relationships will never last as long as the relationship you will have with yourself.
Knowing this, don't you want to love yourself, and find ways to remain healthy and happy until the end? Loving yourself is a nice thought, but putting that thought into action isn't so easy.
It takes work to build up love, compassion, and value for oneself. Fortunately, this guide should help get you on the right path:
Treat your body well so it continues to work for you in old age.
Does time have an impact on your body and its ability to do things? Of course it does. That doesn't mean that there aren't things that you can do to ensure you remain healthy and active for as long as possible.
You don't have to buy into the idea that your metabolism slows and will leave you unable to control your weight. You don't have to accept the thought that at a certain age it is too late to get into shape. Even if you have a predisposition to certain diseases and conditions, there are often things you can do to change things, or at least hold them at bay.
So, go to the doctor on a regular basis. Do something physical, even if you can only manage 15 minutes at first. You can build up from there. Eat more foods from the produce section of your grocery store, and less from the canned soup and cereal aisles.
If you have addictions, please avail yourself of any help that you can find. Get enough sleep. Treat your body like you love it, and it can change, improve and serve you for years longer than you thought it could.
Surround yourself with positive and loving people.
Unless a person is legally your dependent, you have no obligation to associate with those who are a toxic presence in your life. You get to choose the people you identify with as friends and family. So, spend time with people who have similar interests, who support you and who force you to be honest with yourself.
Take a proactive stance when it comes to your relationships as well. Consider who you should reach out to. Take action to value and nourish the relationships that you have now. Reach out to people you haven't heard from in a while. When you do go out, step away from the loud and brash person who gets all of the attention, and talk to the people who might be in the shadows. Usually, they have the best stories for you.
Never stop learning.
As human beings, we are all naturally curious. Unfortunately, life, stagnation, prejudice and stubbornness can cause us to become stuck in our ways.
The only path out of that is through education. If you have a degree to finish, that is wonderful. However, you don't need to pay for a formal education to make learning a lifelong pursuit. There are plenty of free educational available on the Internet, and in your community. Sign up for a class, find a podcast about an interesting subject or see what is available at your local library or community center.
Of course, one of the most important things to learn about is yourself. Taking up journaling is a great way to work through your emotions and learn more about yourself. Many people find the process of journaling almost as relaxing as meditation.
Find things to be passionate about.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs states that in order to be fully satisfied, people need self-actualization. In other words, they need to discover their skills and talents, and then use those to be truly fulfilled.
If you do something that you love to earn a living, that's great, but there is always something else you can do on your path to self-fulfillment. What do you enjoy? What would you do every day if given the chance? Whether it's art projects, working with animals or traveling, if it's a passion, find ways to pursue it, even if it's only on a small scale.
Doing things you feel passionate about makes your daily life better, and forces you to make a priority of your own wants.
Forgive the people who have hurt you.
It is difficult to love yourself adequately when you carry around bitterness and anger toward other people. Forgiveness can be a difficult process. This is especially true when the person who has hurt you seems to be unaware, unaffected or simply doesn't care about the impacts of their words or actions.
In spite of this, once you forgive people for their transgressions, it is like lifting a weight off. You are then free to let those relationships go, or to find healthier ways to continue them. Learning to forgive others also gives you the incentive to forgive yourself as well.
Find your spiritual side.
First, you don't need to be religious to be spiritual. In fact, you can be an atheist, agnostic, Pagan or anything else. Finding your spiritual side can simply mean finding ways to center yourself, being present in the moment, and encouraging the presence of positive energy in your life.
You can accomplish these things through meditation, positive affirmations or just spending more time in nature. Some people believe that yoga is a great way to find your center. If you are interested in pursuing spirituality more intently, look for classes and services in your area that might line up with your beliefs.
Be the kind of person you admire.
Nobody is perfect. We all have days where bad moods or stress cause us to behave in ways that don't make us proud. That doesn't make anybody a bad person, just human.
However, if you truly want to be happy with yourself, and have a satisfying life, you really do need to work toward becoming the kind of person that you admire.
If you have flaws, don't beat yourself up over them. Instead, come up with a plan for fixing them. Better yet, find ways to help others and make your community a better place.