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Self love

We see plenty of advice online such as the following: No one will love you unless you love your self

You must learn to love yourself

The more you love yourself the more you will attract beautiful things Insulting and not particularly helpful, so how do you practice self love. The first thing I did was to think about why I disliked myself. For me it was from childhood abuse. I was at fault for everything and I eventually I gave up, believing I was always to blame. I could never be good enough and so how could I learn to love myself? As my therapy progressed I began to unlearn my old habits, yet self love was hard and I am still not there. I have read many articles but never found any that really helped. This is typical of what I found which you might find of interest: I aware that what works for some doesn't for others and there is plenty of great advice online.

Self Criticism

For me the process began with stopping negative talk. I would constantly tell myself off for everything. If I wasn't perfect I would curse myself. I concentrated on what I was doing and saying, and slowly I stopped criticising myself aloud. I then got into the habit of refuting every thought. So "stupid idiot" was followed immediately "No you are just normal." I would then start to do things out of order. Difficult for my OCD but I found the different routine helped (I still had to put everything back in the exact place etc, but that is a different battle).

Celebrate the wins

I was never able to think I had done well and couldn't accept praise. My psychologist pointed out people will stop giving praise if it is constantly rejected. Something I had never thought about before, and of course she was right. So I started thanking those who praised me (and recognising when it happened). The natural next step was to celebrate my own achievements. But how? I started by looking at what I had done, not what I hadn't. So now when I struggle out of bed, I think I did well to start rather than telling myself off for wasting time. That can extend to whatever stage of recovery you are on. Do you manage to make it to the sofa? Make breakfast? Turn the TV on or even make a cup of tea. I will describe how hard these things are to do when depression takes hold in my next article.

Put your compliments to writing I found writing in the third person helped. I wrote as if talking about someone else. I would never treat anyone the way I do myself so writing about someone else made it easier. The more I wrote the easier it became. I could be descriptive, include details and my senses. And the more I wrote the more I could recognise my successes. Look in the mirror at who you are This for me was hardest of all. I can't stand looking in the mirror. I clean my teeth facing the wall. When facing the mirror I will look in the corners or concentrate on a small part of my reflection. Away from the mirror I have to accept that I am tall, and that I am not as overweight as I imagine, perhaps one day that might even progress further.


I have a long way to go on self love and will continue working on each of these areas, hopefully making small progress as I do. I no longer expect changes to happen quickly and that acceptance helps too.

As I said, if these suggestions don't work, that is fine, there are plenty of other suggestions online. Find one that helps you and I am sure over time you will see progress. In the meantime remember people love you for who you are, undeterred by the trauma that stops self love.

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