On this patriotic weekend, I’m excited to welcome Sonia Solomonson, Life Coach, author and former editor, on the topic of loving ourselves. If you’ve read IN TIMES LIKE THESE, my latest women’s fiction, you’ll realize how her advice applies to Addie, the heroine. Love of country comes easily for her, but loving herself presents such a difficult challenge.
Sonia gives us step-by-step guidelines. And she is offering FIVE free forty-five minute life-coaching phone sessions to the first five commenters here. Wow! When you comment, please leave your e-mail address so she can contact you.
5 Tips for Loving Yourself
Even when we see ourselves as extremely independent and self-sufficient, if we’re really honest with ourselves, we desire to be loved.
To have friends, you have to be a friend, we’ve been told. The same is true for love: To be loved, you have to love. And it all begins with moi! Start by loving yourself.
Some people think self-love is selfish and wrong. Dominican priest and 13th century theologian Thomas Aquinas believed that self-love was akin to pride—or “the beginning of all sin.” However, the Bible does tell us to love God with all our heart and soul and “love your neighbor as yourself.” That little word “as” says that I start by loving myself. Then I have the conditions inside me to love my neighbor in that same way. It all stems from God’s love for us.
Psychologist and social philosopher Erich Fromm said in 1956 that loving yourself is different from being arrogant or egocentric. He said rather that it means respecting yourself, knowing yourself, caring about yourself and taking responsibility for yourself. I’m with him!
I’ve heard it said that you are the one person who will be with you longer than anyone else will be—and, therefore, it’s crucial that you learn to be your own best friend.
What does it mean to love yourself?
Here are five tips:
- Accept yourself. If you beat up on yourself a lot, stop it right now. You wouldn’t do that to your best friend, would you? So why would you think it’s OK to beat up or ridicule yourself? You are unique and precious, a true one-of-a-kind. Accept who and what you are. Love and accept all of yourself, what you see as your special gifts and also what you call your flaws. Often, these are two sides of the same coin.
For example, I’m a sensitive person, tuned in to what others are feeling. That’s a good thing—particularly in my vocation as a life coach but also in my relationships. The flip side, however, is something about which I used to be impatient with myself: I am (overly) sensitive about things others say to and about me. I’ve worked hard to tweak that. I also accept that, to some degree, one goes with the other.
- Take good care of yourself. It means seeing your body, mind and spirit as precious gifts that need and deserve nurture and attention. It’s all too easy to take our bodies for granted and not give them sufficient rest, good food or plenty of exercise. Sometimes we take better care of our cars than we do our bodies, doing regular maintenance checks and taking care of whatever needs attention!
Let yourself feel whatever emotions arise. Are you sad? Feel it. Perhaps there’s some loss, whether minor or major, that you simply have to stop and grieve. Are you anxious? Stop and deal with it; don’t ignore it. Do deep breathing, yoga, meditation, prayer or whatever helps you. Afraid? Look your fears in the eye and see whether you can bring them down to size by injecting some realism into them. Are things really as bad as they seem? Can you do anything about it? If not, can you let go? If you can do something, can you find a first step and start moving?
Are you happy? Celebrate that. Savor the good moments. Be grateful for them. Remember it’s OK to celebrate your achievements—both small and large. You can have your own little party. Or you can invite someone special to celebrate with you. Share your joy.
Some of us learned at a young age to stuff down emotions—sad and fearful ones or even joyful ones. If so, you may want to do some work around that so you can experience the full range of emotions.
- Set boundaries for what behavior you will and won’t accept from others. You have a right to expect to be treated well and spoken to respectfully. You do not have to accept put-downs and abusive treatment—and you certainly don’t want to treat yourself that way either. Remember, boundaries aren’t meant to be punitive or manipulative toward others. They’re simply borders you set for yourself to know what’s OK and what isn’t for you—and what you will do if someone crosses that line.
- Choose life. Insofar as it’s possible given what’s happening in your life, choose happiness and joy. Choose to be positive. Sometimes you simply need to reframe what’s happening and see possibility rather than a problem. When I lost my job, reframing wasn’t easy. I was hurt, angry, and scared. Only when I could begin to see possibility, however, was I able to create a new dream. Mind you, that didn’t happen overnight. First I needed to grieve the lost dream.
I hope you get the idea. There are many other ways to show yourself love. Whatever you do, let go of the idea that self-love is selfish or decadent. Self-love is really the start of a more joyful life and deeper, more fulfilling relationships. It’s also the way we teach others how to treat us.
A writer, editor and life coach, Solomonson writes daily blogs at www.way2growcoaching.com, where you can sign up for her monthly ezine.
Sonia, thanks so much for visiting – I know from experience how much a chat with someone totally objective can be, so thank you again for your generous offer to five fortunate participants. I’m certain you’ll be blessed for it.
Finally, finally, my internet is up and running after several days. I just got the call from Comcast a few moments ago.
Thank you, dear friend Gail, for letting me write for your beautiful website and meet some new friends through it. I’m so grateful for the opportunity.
I can’t wait for others to read your latest book. I’m telling my friends about it! Now, when will we get a follow-up on Addie’s adventures?!
I love you Sonia Solomonson – you have spoken to my heart. And, of course I love Gail, knowing her as my friend and sister in Christ through Heart”wings” – a women’s fellowship (a group that God brought on my heart a little over a year ago). Sonia, you would be such a blessing to our group. I plan to follow up with that thought, Sonia in the fervent hope that He will bring you to us. j
Joyce, how wonderful to “meet” you here on Gail’s page. I want to learn more about your Heartwings group.
I’m so sorry that I was unable to answer you or anyone all weekend. My internet just now got back up, so we’ll have to figure out a coaching time soon.
I’m so thankful my post spoke to your heart. When I write from the heart, I always pray that my words will land with someone who might need to hear them.
Blessings to you, Joyce. Oh, by the way, how should I contact you about the coaching? On your Heartwings site?
I am so excited about winning the lessons from you Sonia and am looking forward to our time together. We came to our summer home in the White Mountains near Show Low, AZ on Tuesday, 05/31 and are finally getting settled in again. If it is okay with you, I would like to think about waiting until we go back to our winter place in Lake Havasu City AZ on 10/15 where I will have a real phone (not just cell) again. I will touch base with you later on. Love that you are now a member of Heart”wings!” Thank you Gail K for being a big part of that. j
I’m working this week-end on my website but its not up yet. Hope I am one of the five. Gail can tell you I’m in transit. Moving to Omaha.
Hey, Carol – you’re working on your website already? That’s great!!
Carol, so good to hear from you. And you’re on the move. And working on a website, too. I’m impressed.
Do let me know how to contact you for the free coaching session you’ve won. And traveling mercies to you!
Great post. Thanks for sharing.
Here is my email CraftersCornerCafe@gmail.com
I do2;18n#7&t care that the girls on Girls are vapid and I don’t care that there are no minority characters and I don’t care that any of these people are related to famous people.But I do care that I’ve watched every episode and can’t tell you a single thing about the characters other than what would be on the first character description you’d turn into a network. Who are these people? What do they want? Thin thin thin writing.
You are welcome. Your email address tells me that you have a business. I’d love to hear more. It’s so fun for me to see all the things women are about these days!
I’ll be in touch about your free coaching session.
Interesting concepts . .
sounds simple, but incorporating all the facets of what makes us who we are would be a challenge! Guess that’s where you come in, eh, Sonia?
Right on, Jane. So much of life seems simple but isn’t. That’s OK. With God’s help and help from our friends and loved ones, we do manage, don’t we?
And, yes, sometimes with a little help from a life coach….
Let me know how to get in touch with you about the coaching session you won.
Such truth, thank you for sharing your heart. Coaching is something that can benefit so many…yes, me included. I’m looking forward to reading more. (And, hi Gail!!)
Hi, Jeanne. Glad you stopped by. I want to make an announcement for Sonia in this reply, everyone. Something’s gone wrong with her internet today, and she’ll get to your comments when it’s fixed. But it looks like you five have won the jackpot…congrats, and I’m so glad you’ll get time w/her. In the midst of a publishing quandary, Sonia was very helpful to me.
Gail, thank you for posting about my internet issues. Of all times for something to go wrong, it just had to be this weekend … and go on for days. And yet, I know if this is the worst that happens to me or to us, we’re extremely blessed! And we are.
I got Carol Parsons’ email address. If the other winners wish to contact me to check out possible dates for your free coaching session, you can reach me at: email@example.com or you can also reach me from the “Contact” section of my website. I look forward to getting to know some of you by phone.
Thanks again for your patience as I waited for tech help with my internet!
Jeanne, you are so welcome. Sharing from my heart is the type of writing I love most these days. I always hope it resonates with others, too.
You’re right, coaching can benefit so many. I’ve used a coach several times and know I will again when I just need someone outside my life to help me gain perspective and access my own wisdom.
Let me know how to get in touch with you for your free coaching session.
Jeanne, are you interested in that free 45-minute coaching session? If so, let me know how we can connect. And if not, that’s perfectly fine, too. Just let me know that and we could even offer it to the next person who left a comment — and that would be Bree. Here’s to a wonderful day for you!
Coaching is a wonderful gift. Those that are able to share this talent are a blessing! Gail how is your spring coming?
Better by the moment, Bree–thanks for stopping by. Sonia is having issues w/her internet, as you may have read already, so she’ll be responding here within a day, I think.
Completely understandable, I’m glad to hear it’s getting better. Have a blessed day!
Thanks for stopping by, Bree. We each have different gifts, don’t we? And it’s so wonderful to see all the gifted women Gail draws to her site. Blessings to you.
Lovely post and the third I’ve seen recently on loving and accepting ourselves in the recent past…I believe God is sending a message to His daughters…one that will set us free. For it is Truth that God intends us to love ourselves, and we all know what knowing Truth does 🙂 Thank you for the post! Love and blessings!
Thanks, Carol. On Memorial Day, when we commemorate many who died to set (or keep) people free, I especially appreciate that Truth and liberty go together. Our old world gets this so turned around.
What a wonderful insight, Caryl. Truly there are so many ways God still speaks to us, aren’t there? Blessings to you!