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The Secret to Self Loving

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This past year, I have come to appreciate the power of truly loving myself. Most of my life, being alone was one of my biggest fears. I found myself in numerous relationships for the wrong reasons and ended up settling in ill-fitting ‘partnerships’. This deeply rooted fear and lack of understanding of myself caused the relationships to become my whole world; my focus of attention; my center. I would sacrifice my own goals for the other person. And, when the relationship collapsed, so did my sense of self.

Through much introspection, I realized the source of these failed relationships was myself. I realized that I didn’t truly love or appreciate myself and had relied on external sources for love and approval. I decided to change. I had to overcome my fear of loneliness by finding independence and personal freedom. Even since I found true appreciation for myself, the quality of relationships I have attracted has been phenomenal. I have discovered that the more I loved and understood myself, the less I feared being by myself, and the more healthier relationships I was able to attract into my life.

I started doing what I called “Dates with myself“. Regardless my external relationship status, I would schedule time with myself. I would literally take myself out on a date and spend that time totally focused on myself. It’s my time. We spend so much time and energy focused on others that we forget to recharge the source of that energy. It is only when you are well that you can have the energy and internal resources to make a positive difference and help others. This is a simple, yet powerful concept that can dramatically improve your wellbeing, effectiveness and mental health.

Before attempting a ‘date with yourself’, Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Remove Disturbances – unplug your phone, power down the cell phone and blackberry, shut down the computer, turn off the tv. Do not let your mind get distracted during your self-date. This is your time to just be with yourself.
  • Being Solo – It’s important that you are on your own. You can talk to strangers, and make new friends, but you are on the self-date to get acquainted with yourself, no one else. If you live with a partner, schedule it so he/she isn’t home, or just take yourself out of the house. If you have kids, find a sitter, or plan around when your kids are not at home. It’s also important to realize that this time is a gift for yourself, and you should only be focused on your well-being.
  • Schedule – Plan how long you would like your dates to last. Set a minimum time, and commit to focus on yourself for at least that time. I typically schedule 2-4 hour dates with myself.
  • Communicate – if you are in a relationship, it’s important to communicate what you are doing and it’s benefits clearly with your partner. Not only do we get their support, but also avoid any misunderstandings or neglect.

Here are some ideas for ‘dates with yourself’. You can intermix several activities below into one date:

  • Reading Date – Go to a trendy café or find a comfortable place at home and read something inspirational for an hour or more. Have some hot herbal tea, cut up some fruits or crackers with cheese. Fully enjoy the experience.

  • Forgiveness & Gratitude Date – Find a comfortable spot. I like to sit on a bench overlooking the water at sunset, or curled up on the couch in my living room table surrounded by candles.
    • Forgive – Write on a journal or loose paper all the things you forgive yourself for. We tend to be very harsh on ourselves, and voluntarily blame ourselves internally for failures, failures of achievement, failures to action, etc. Take this time to forgive yourself for all the harsh things said, for mistreatment of your health, etc.
    • Gratitude – List out all the things in your life you are thankful for. This is my favorite thing to do.
    • Admiration – List out all the things that others admire about you. What are some things they’d say that you are good at or have natural abilities towards? Notice that I wanted you to pretend to be another person looking at yourself. We tend to blank on this question when asking ourselves directly.
  • Musical Date – Take in a live concert after treating yourself to a healthy and satisfying meal. For example, every Thursday, I used to make myself a great raw vegetarian meal and then go to the Symphony. Did you know that you could get cheap single tickets in the first 4 rows? In Seattle, it’s $15 at Seattle Symphony. Most people are not aware of this. It’s not advertised.
    Another idea is going to a jazz club or a show. Talk to strangers when you are there. You’ll find the experience much more rewarding.
  • Yoga or Meditation Date – Take a group yoga or meditation class at a local gym, community center, or temple. I used to do drop in classes at YMCA. They are $10 a class for non-members. After class, jump into the Jacuzzi if there is one. Come home, enjoy a light meal and relax for the evening.
  • Outdoors Date – Go for a long walk in an area that interests you. Go to a park, go camping, go for a long drive. I like to spend an hour on Sundays walking through the ‘pike place’ market (local farmer’s market) with my dog, Tommy. I enjoy seeing all the tourists, fresh produce and the energy in the market. I also like to walk along the waterfront. It’s a good idea to bring a book and some water with you. Wander without rushing.
  • Art & Culture – Go to an art gallery opening or a local museum. In Seattle, we have the art walk the first Thursday of every month where many galleries are open into the night. It’s very festive and inspiring, and I especially enjoy the people watching.

What do you do to center yourself? Let us know in the comments.

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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183 thoughts on The Secret to Self Loving

  1. I quite agree with this idea, though many times I could not make it myself. I think after reading your this article, I will try to find myself and begin to love myself. Thank you so much.

  2. You are such a great person, to have overcome those negative things and life … here you are right now, inspiring others … You Are The BEST!

  3. Karlito Hubayan

    A very helpful article that every reader could easily relate with. Furthermore, the writer suggested activities that are so simple and only require time and interest.

  4. Great article, two thumbs up, anyway with this article you’ll be confident how to recognize yourself with other people because the happiness inside yours can be shared to other friends, and you’ll be thinking always that you’re not alone, just like you standing out of the branches of the tree and see your self below what your real personality.

    “I love this article”. This is where I belong.

  5. @Nick Smith: Yes, you are absolutely right. “in embracing the Love within that we actually give our greatest gift to the world.” Thanks for such a sweet message and for reminding me of this with your words. :)

    @kathylynn: I agree Kathy. I feel that the world will be a much happier place if we all looked within ourselves and got intouch with our core. :)

    @MichelleVan: Thank you.

    @Tyro: Thanks Tyro. I love your blog.. it’s so nice to see personal development blogs in other languages, like Chinese.

    @Junelle: Aww.. Junelle, you are too sweet. Thanks for your encouraging and supportive words. Much loved and appreciated. :) Thank YOU for reading.

    @Karlito Hubayan: You are right, time and desire to look within ourselves.

    @Paul Gupit: Nice to see you here. Thanks for sharing your input. It warms my heart seeing what you wrote. :)

  6. andrew

    I thought that the article had many great tips for a growing problem that seems particular to the states. Things like yoga, music, outdoors, arts are usually great activities. Anything to quiet down the noise or veil that seems to cover one’s self. However, I feel that you haven’t yet reached the root of the matter, although it’s a great start. When reading your article, I noticed that you had done some reflecting already, but it didn’t have the impact of what an experience such as realizing that you didn’t love or appreciate yourself truly feels like. What this probably means is that you were not directly experiencing what you were writing about when writing. That is not to say that it is bad, or that it didn’t happen. But, what happens is that you are giving hints that people are most likely to forget or not pay attention to instead of changing them. Your words are very well written and are clear, which is refreshing. Perhaps when writing next time, try to remember your Self. Not the self that wants to go run around or the self that wants to surf the internet or the self that wants this or that, but the self that does not change—the self that you speak of when there is “freedom” and “appreciation.” Sometimes it is scary, as you probably know.


  7. this is my first stop by your blog and it’s amazing….. thanks so much for the inspiration and passion you put into it! all the best, brad

  8. bret

    sounds like insanity. possibly Schizophrenia.

  9. Tina, reading your article, I’m reminded of a quote I listened from Joyce Meyer,

    Eagle flies alone while other birds fly in flock

    When you’re alone, just remember this: it’s not loneliness, but alone-ness. Alone-ness is a fact that happens to us, and we might have no control about that, but loneliness is our response when we feel sad and depressed with our state of loneliness.

    Have an attitude that alone-ness is an advantage, time when you can reflect a lot about your life, time you can read books or learn things that you want to learn. Take that time as an advantage not as a suffering.
    Enjoy your alone-ness!

  10. It’s really very important to love yourself, and to know who you really are. It sort of enables you to accept yourself, and pitch yourself to achieve more.

    And, as you listed … being alone can help. As, you were somewhat alone, when you’d thoughts of coming up with a post as awesome as this.

  11. what a great posting! i like to take myself to hockey games…. super fun and kind of a meditation.

    all the best in 08


  12. Absolutely agree, to find harmony around us first we must find it from within.
    Great site!!!

  13. DT

    Racy title!

    But I fully agree with you. I find great moments in creativity and have really enjoyed time by myself especially at a cafe.

    Such moments are really a privilege in our time staved and fast moving world.

  14. Tina, what a great article. So many people are afraid to spend time alone with no noise and no distractions. For me, alone time has always been so important. I get cranky without it.

  15. Tina,
    I’m not really a blogger. I just visit this site since it recommended by my friend. Nice to know you.

    I like this self-loving article very much. Especially since I’m a narcissist by birth. lol.

    I would love to go to beach, setup tent, lying and reading and listening to music the whole afternoon.
    I would prefer to avoid people in my self-loving time, I’ve given too much to other people. I need one for myself :P

    Thanks for your inspiration!

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