Although my Mom passed away 12 years ago when I was 22, she still is an inspiration to me. She wrote a book, We Are The Miracle: Seeking Blessings, Asking Guidance, Finding Help, in 1997 and I am forever grateful to have her words of wisdom in writing. Among other things, she always emphasized loving unconditionally.
I first time I took this to heart was toward the end of my senior year of college when my boyfriend (now husband) was applying for a job 2 hours away. Knowing that his career involved moving around, which I was not interested in, I was not supportive of him as he was pursuing his dreams. My Mom reminded me about the necessity of loving him unconditionally, not just if his job location was convenient for me. She said that either you love someone or you don’t, because love is not relative. Although he was willing to give up a career he loves for me, I knew that I loved him unconditionally and it was not fair to be unsupportive. After 4 job relocations (for an extremely time-consuming profession) in our 8 years of marriage, I have found unconditional love to be a necessity.
Loving myself unconditionally, however, is a challenge. I love how my Mom summed up the importance in her book.
“We must begin by unconditionally loving ourselves even though we are not ‘conditioned’ to do so. Unfortunately, we are more likely to criticize, judge and compare ourselves to others or compare ourselves to some unrealistic, unreachable, self-imposed standard. We cannot help but project outward what we feel on the inside. If we don’t love another, it is because we don’t love ourselves. If we don’t trust and respect another, it is because we don’t trust and respect ourselves.”
Loving ourselves unconditionally seems like the first step to truly loving others unconditionally.
My Mom’s main tip for finding unconditional love is meditation, which seems to be one commonality recommended to achieve inner peace and holistic wellness. Meditation is missing from my life, so I will definitely blog about it more as encouragement for all and extra motivation for myself!
In the meantime, here are a few tips I gathered on loving yourself unconditionally.
1. Love yourself just because you exist
It is important to be willing to love yourself just because you are you. You can disapprove of your actions and still love yourself unconditionally.
2. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, past and present
Let go of the past. To love yourself unconditionally means to stop beating yourself up over past regrets and forgive yourself for current mistakes. Own your mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it and move on!
3. Be confident in yourself
Everyone loves to get positive feedback from family, friends, co-workers, and strangers. It feels great. But, relying on feedback from others is not healthy. Have confidence in your beliefs and actions. When you do get positive feedback, it will be an added bonus!
4. Positive Self-Talk
I love myself unconditionally. I am wonderful. I am confident. I am beautiful.
It is much easier to love yourself when you think positively about yourself. Pay attention to negative self-talk and when you catch yourself – quickly change it into a positive statement.
5. Surround yourself with positive, nurturing people
There is nothing better than to be surrounded by people who are positive and build you up. However, there are often important people in our lives who are negative and draining. Relationships aren’t perfect, but it may be time to re-think the ones that are draining to your soul.
I also found a great list of tips for loving yourself unconditionally to be a better parent. You can read more here: Aha!Parenting: 10 Steps to Unconditional Love.
For the benefit of everyone around, I am going to make loving myself unconditionally a priority. Hope you will, too!