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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. Lindsay

    very enjoyable to read! super helpful, i can’t wait to try some of this out!

  2. Mahesh

    I am so gonna read each and every article on your blog… 4 years back i read the book secret and my life changed completely… But after my break up… i have lost my confidence and due to fear of loneliness and infatuation.. whenever i date anyone.. i feel… “is it the end to my search?”.. “is this my true love?”.. only to realize that it was not..!!

    You have got a lot of positive energy… thanks for sharing with us… do keep posting more… Life is beautiful.. only if we realize the importance of it.. and our existence..!!

  3. David De Blois

    Wow. :)

  4. Maddy

    This was really helpful, it sounds a lot like me as i am in always living my life through other guys. Thanks for the great outlook!

  5. Indeed your blog is a picture of myself. Thank you so much for sharing. More power and Merry Christmas.


  6. Throe

    Nothing new here, I’ve been loving myself since I was 13. It’s not difficult.

  7. Countrygirl

    Thank you. I have been looking for this. :) Everyone tells you to love yourself, but no one tells you exactly “How”. So thank you for providing me with a few how’s.

  8. Deivid Mann

    I was praying at about 1.30am, thinking what to talk about on Valentine’s Day on a radio programme I present on workdays in Nigeria when – I believe, the Holy Spirit – popped those two words in my mind: self love. I thought about it, and realised it was the clear departure from the norm I wanted for a Valentine’s Day topic.

    A quick search brought millions, as usual, one of which is yours. ‘Take yourself out on a date’. Just what I need. Thanks, Tina.

  9. I just felt so, so amazing after reading your post. I have been journaling and talking to myself recently after a personal setback. It has been wonderful realizing that there was such a wonderful world lurking right inside me which I had hitherto been unaware of! Overall, my life has become more fulfilling and better by at least a factor of 2 since that day…

    Thank you for reinforcing this important habit of staying centered by talking and interacting with oneself…

  10. Alanna

    Wow, this article was very helpful! Thank you.

  11. Kyle

    Thank you so much for writing this, I have been having a hard time as of late and already I am feeling better about my prospects and have more confidence that I can handle everything I have on my plate.

  12. Gitika

    Beautiful post! It so resonates with me…….
    Thank you! I think I’m now onto the next level of learning to love myself more and more….. : )

  13. jennifer

    hi tina, this is my first time of visiting these thinksimplenow, because im searching the steps of how to overcome shyness, then i found these also, thanks for sharing these articles, i may not understand all the words that you use, coz i cant understand or speak well in english language, but i learned a lot, thanks, more power, it will serve as one of inspiration, ,
    sorry wrong grammar i think.. :)

  14. I just wanted to let you know that, while looking for articles on self love and forgiveness, I stumbled onto this one. I used it as the educational post on my website today. I, of course, gave your site and blog as the source. Thank you for such a beautifully written piece.

  15. Varun

    Life has no rule & don’t have same remedy to overcome the pain/sham/guilt. But still this might be helpful.

  16. Rachael

    I love all your articles. So inspirational and practical. Im reading all of them. Thanks Tina

  17. Yasha

    I find this a great idea. You are the most important part of your life. It is much easier than we think to just forget that and become a mirror of every other person’s hopes and dreams. I guess people just forget to know themselves better over time. They find it easier to understand others while the self remains obscure. Happiness starts with the self. A happy and understanding person shows the same outwardly. A lesson learnt, Tina. Thank you!

  18. mooey

    Tina, your post saved my life. I have booked marked your article and i will definitely started dating myself starting tomorrow. Thank you so much for giving me courage to love and enjoy myself.

  19. Michele

    Wow….i thought i knew self love, but a girlfriend said i needed to dig deeper, so i googled self love and came across this website…it was so insirational…i cant wait to have my first self date. I was never sure how to experience true inner peace and love, but this blog has helped me so much and reading everyones post enlightened me…thank you tina and everyone who has responded…u are all beautiful people and i wish u all the best as i take this adventure to truely find myself :)

  20. Lauren

    I’ve needed something like this for a long time. I’m always so hard on myself and have so much difficulty finding the smallest appreciation if myself and who I am or may be. I have already found comfort and inspiration through this article and I am excited to take the next step towards forgiving myself and turning my negative thoughts into self reassurance and love.

  21. Michael

    Your article has saved my life. Thank you.

  22. Ratna

    Like yourself, I finally realized the reason for my failed relationships, is me. I don’t love myself enough and it’s a concept a word that everyone keeps preaching without telling you how to do it.
    I love your article and think its been extremely helpful. Thank you.

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