Love yourself

6 Ways to love yourself more

I saw this little plaque at a discount store and it has such a simple message: Love yourself

I thought, “Yep. I need to see this every day.” 

Because everyone knows it’s important to love yourself, right? Like, if you don’t love yourself how can you love anyone else, right? That’s what I’ve always heard.

But if you’re like me, you kind of say, Yeah that’s true. I agree.

But wait. Am I living that truth?

Do I:

  • Embrace the true meaning of the statement?
  • Even know what that means? What does “loving yourself” look like?
  • Actually practice it?

So if we look at what it means to love yourself, it could lead you to ask, what is love, anyway?

And then it gets so sticky and confusing and you think, love isn’t something I can label with a bunch of words and it’s not always the same, like I love my kids one way and I love chocolate another way, so of course, I’d have to love myself a different way. 


But if you really believe it’s important to love yourself, then isn’t it worth taking the time to figure out what that means? 

The directive to love yourself is meant to be taken seriously, not blown off, like, Yeah yeah. I get it. 

In her book, You are a Badass (I know, I always mention this book), Jen Sencero ends every chapter the same way, no matter what the chapter’s about, every chapter ends with the words (you guessed it): Love yourself. 

I came to expect it, but still was like, I know, I know, love myself. 

But really. Love yourself. What exactly does that mean?

I don’t think it’s about doing more or less, I think it’s a way of being. 

Here are 6 things a person who loves herself does:

1. She is kind to herself.

We can be our own worst critic and our own worst enemy, especially when we compare ourselves to others. But someone who loves herself has compassion for her failures. She accepts that she’s not perfect and doesn’t act like everything she does and says needs to be perfect. She forgives her mistakes which makes her better at forgiving others. She contains her inner critic. She talks to herself as she would talk to someone she loves and values. 

2. She stands up for herself.

I’m always amazed when I see this in action. It seems so ballsy. I struggle standing up for myself, for sure, because I don’t want to offend people, don’t want to make a scene. But someone who loves herself knows she can stand up for herself without being rude or aggressive. She doesn’t allow herself to be used, taken advantage of, or treated like a doormat. She doesn’t expect people to read her mind so she speaks up, otherwise she knows she risks getting angry and resentful. And that’s not who she is. 

3. She sets boundaries.

This relates to standing up for herself, but it goes beyond that. She sets boundaries for her own well-being. That includes being okay with saying “no,” loving toxic people from a distance, and not feeling guilty when she does what she knows is best for her even if it may disappoint some people.  

4. She plays a self-love mental playlist. On repeat.

She replaces negative messages, both from the past and in the present, with messages that remind her she’s a miracle of creation. There’s no desire to be like anyone else because she has everything she needs to create the life she desires. She knows this, believes it, and lives it. 

5. She sets personal goals and works toward them.

Even if she has to set them aside for a time or other commitments take priority, she doesn’t forget them. She allows them to evolve as she does. The woman who loves herself knows the essence of her passions and pursuits. She knows she has gifts she is meant to develop and nurture so she gives them attention. 

6. She practices self-love.

It’s easy to fall into old patterns and habits so she knows she has to practice taking care of herself… in her relationships, her body, mind, and spirit.  

The master of self-love described above is not an actual person, but a super-strong, super self-loving fictitious character who is a culmination of some serious self-love habits.

Want to be more like her, but have some work to do in this area?

You’re not alone! 

But it’s okay! 

Because no matter where you rate yourself on the self-love scale (1 being “not at all”, 5 being “I’m pretty awesome. And that’s not vanity. It’s my truth.”) improving self-love is do-able. For some of us it may take more conscious effort and practice than for others. 

Practice treating yourself with compassion, patience,  and attention. 

These 6 traits are what came to my mind when thinking about how I want to love myself. Do you stuggle with any of these? Did I miss anything?

I’d love to hear from you! Let me know your thoughts, and additions or subtractions to my list in the comments.

For more on this topic, read It’s important to be good to others, but don’t forget to be good to yourself too.

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It’s important to be good to others, but don’t forget to be good to yourself too

Be good to yourself. It’s a simple concept. It means treat yourself with love, consideration, and kindness. Be understanding and forgiving towards yourself.

The concept is simple, but not always easy.

What does it mean?

“Good people” are kind, supportive, considerate, and generous. They help us feel positive about ourselves and about life.

They’re like a warm blanket on a cold night or a bowl of chicken soup to ease a scratchy throat. 

But sometimes it feels more natural to be good to a stranger than to ourselves.

We tend to beat ourselves up, focus on our weaknesses, and criticize ourselves when we’re less than perfect. 

How can we lift ourselves up instead of putting ourselves down?

Be kind. Especially through difficult times, small acts of kindness go a long way. Take a few minutes out of a busy day to meditate, listen to uplifting music, or go for a walk.

Smile. Let your smile be your signature look. It can change your disposition and open your heart to self-love.

Be grateful. There’s an old saying that goes, “I cried that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” It doesn’t change your situation, but it may help you see it in a more positive light.

Forgive. Forgiveness is a powerful gift. It can take time to “get over” mistakes and imperfections, but it starts with a choice to forgive yourself.

Every day is a chance to be better than you were yesterday, to do better than you did yesterday. Make it a point to treat yourself with love, kindness, and compassion. Be good to yourself the same way you strive to be good to those you love.

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3 Empowering messages to tell yourself when you feel doubtful

You're braver than you believe,
and stronger than you seem, 
and smarter than you think. 

~ A.A. Milne

We’re often our own biggest obstacle. And we don’t even have to say a word or lift a finger to sabotage our own success.

All we have to do is play those old messages we keep in our heads, the ones that say we don’t know what we’re doing, we’re not good enough, we’ll never succeed, and our ideas are stupid.

Those negative messages that fill us with doubt and keep us from ever getting started.

They become our excuses to stay where we are and keep us from trying something new. Those messages keep us from doing what we’ve always dreamed of doing.

What does that mean for you?

What’s that thing you’ve dreamed of doing, but never tried because you think, “It’ll never happen.”

What would happen if you empowered yourself to move forward instead of shutting yourself down before you even start?

Replace those old, negative messages with these empowering truths:

You’re braver than you believe.

Bravery is not the absence of fear, it’s taking action despite being afraid. The unknown can be scary. It’s okay to be afraid, but don’t let fear keep you from taking steps toward your goals and dreams. Build yourself up instead of building up your fear.

You’re stronger than you seem.

What’s your idea of strength? If you consider a person you think is very strong, chances are she wouldn’t have chosen her course. She did what she had to do. Even she may not have imagined she could do what she did, but when the time came, she chose to persevere.

And when you pursue a goal because you want to do it, not because you have to, you may not realize the strength you posess. You think, “I could never do that.”

But you start anyway. And little by little you accomplish that goal you didn’t believe you were strong enough to accomplish, and you’re as surprised as anyone.

You don’t know how strong you are until you have to be.

You’re smarter than you think.

You have intuition that goes beyond knowledge. Intuition helps you sort through what you know and guides you in your best direction. You may not think of yourself as being very smart, but your intuition makes you smarter than you think.

And no one knows everything about everything. That’s okay. Ask questions and figure it out as you go along.

Your goals and aspirations are important. Don’t let self-doubt and fear can keep you from  them.

When you feel doubtful about your own abilities, remind yourself:

You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

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How to know when it’s time to change your course

Life is a series of things running their course. Nothing stays the same forever. Things change. We accept that.

But what about when the change is coming from you? When what you’re doing doesn’t feel quite right for you anymore?

How do you know when it’s time to change your course?

When your mind is set on one thing, you may not want to give it up and start something new, especially when you’ve put loads of time, effort, money, and emotional stock toward that goal. But still, something about it doesn’t feel right. 

And it’s more than working through those daysphoto courtesy of public domain pictures accessed on google commons published on when you have to do the crappy stuff. Nothing is fun all the time. Every job, relationship, venture has those times when it feels like you’re walking through the mud in the rain. You work through those times and the sun eventually shines again.

This is different.

Now, it no longer feels right to keep the course. It’s time to make a change.

How do you make the switch to something new when the future is uncertain?

First of all, know that it’s okay to change course. This is no small point. It can feel like you’re quitting, like you’re giving up. Don’t beat yourself up about it.

It takes courage to make a switch.

It’s normal to be nervous and even fearful when you venture into the unknown. And it may get worse before it gets better. Follow your gut. Once you’ve decided, keep moving forward. Have a plan if you can, but be flexible.

Once you’ve made a decision and changed course, don’t look back. It’s tempting to doubt and wonder if you made the right choice, especially when a new course of action isn’t working out like you hoped it would. You can’t go back. Remember what got you to where you are, go with your gut, and then keep moving forward.

Staying on a course that’s no longer meant for you keeps you from better things, from doing what you’re meant to do. It takes courage to make a change, to take a leap. Believe you can and you will.

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Discover the Value of Your Intuition

“The only real valuable thing is intuition.”  Albert Einstein

We all have it. It’s that gut feeling when you know something’s true even if you can’t explain it.  That feeling when you’re faced with a decision and you know exactly and without a doubt what you must do; when you absolutely know the right course of action.

It’s more than a hunch.

Intuition is brilliant. A guiding force. Always present, right, and true.

Compass photo courtesy of pixabay published on
Intuition is always true.

The beautiful thing is that you don’t have to do anything to get it. You already have it. All you have to do is listen.

But listening can be so, so, so hard.

Listen and you go down one road. Don’t hear, not sure, or ignore your intuition and you go down a different road.

It’s been my experience that

  • it’s better to follow, even though it’s scary
  • there’s usually a price to pay for not listening
  • intuition doesn’t hold a grudge; she will always speak to you again.

It’s your guide, your North Star.

Yes, it’s scary. I know.

Crossroads photo courtesy of pixabay published on
Which will you choose?

Your head screams at you:

  • What if it doesn’t work out.
  • And what if _______ happens
  • What are people going to say
  • You’re going to look stupid
  • You don’t know how to do _______
  • Think about the people you’ll disappoint.

That’s fear of the unknown and the unknown can be scary.

Einstein says intuition is the “only real valuable thing”.

Even though it must have played a huge role in his life and in his body of work, he probably had to learn to follow just like everybody else. He probably had days when he doubted himself. Doesn’t everyone?

What would happen if you discovered the value in the simplicity of listening to your intuition.

Where would it lead? 

For more on this topic, read 3 Empowering messages to tell yourself when you feel doubtful

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Be the gatekeeper of your joy

When I get upset about someone else’s inconsiderate behavior, like cutting me off on the highway or going to the “15 items or Less” aisle with a cartload full of groceries, I’m giving someone else power over me. I’m giving up my joy.

I know I need to be the gatekeeper of my joy and not give it up over silly stuff that’s out of my control.  Photo courtesy of pixabay commons posted on

It’s easier said than done

The other day I was at the grocery store. I was in a good mood. I’d just had a great visit with my sister, the music playing in the store was upbeat and happy, and my daughter had gotten engaged the day before.

I was in the parking lot putting my groceries in my car and I noticed a guy walking to the driver’s side of his truck. He looked at a piece of paper in his hand, probably a receipt, wadded it up, and tossed it on the ground. It didn’t even look like he thought about stuffing it in his pocket. He just tossed it on the ground.Photo courtesy of pixabay commons posted on

I couldn’t believe it. In my mind, I was like, “You jerk! What the heck’s wrong with you?! Pick it up, loser!”

He didn’t look my way, but he must have felt me giving him the stink eye, because when he drove away, I was looking at him like, “You suck!” He kind of glanced my way while driving off.

I got in my car thinking, How can people do that? I mean, I understand when bits of paper get away from you or you drop something and litter without even knowing you’re littering, but to intentionally throw something to the ground?

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He’s probably the kind of person who’d spit his chewed up gum out on the street so someone else can step right on it.

Seeing him throw his paper on the ground, intentionally littering, really got me mad. I went from happy and singing to just pissed off.

Stay on guard

But why was I so upset?

Was it just the audacity of the guy and his apparent attitude of “It’s not my problem. What do I care?”

I realized I was letting that guy spoil my good mood. I was letting him get the better of me.

And so I get back to the original idea about what I know. Don’t give away my joy. I was giving away my joy. To a stranger who litters. That’s just stupid.

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What were my choices?

Confront him. Tell him to pick up his paper. (Parking lot rage)

Pick up the paper and throw it away myself.

Walk away.

Say a prayer for him.

Give him the evil eye.

Blow it off.

What did I do? Nothing helpful. I got in my car and drove away, still angry about what he did even though he was long gone.

I didn’t handle myself very well.

It reminded me that:

We make choices in all our interactions every day. What we say or do. How we react.

Each of us is the gatekeeper of our joy

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Next time you let someone annoy and irritate you, remember that you’re handing over your joy. On a platter.

Then decide if it’s worth really that important to you. 

Remember that you can’t make people do, think, or feel the way you do about things. The only person each of us can ever hope to control is ourselves.

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Where you look is where you’ll go

A few years back I took a bad spill from my mountain bike. The crash left me with bruised and bloody knees. It hurt, but while it wasn’t a pleasant experience, it helped me realize something important: Where you look is where you’ll go. 

Cycling baggage

I’ve never been very good at things on wheels. Skateboards, bicycles, skates. I tend to fall for some reason. I’ve had my share of memorable falls. I once fell off my bike when it wasn’t even moving.

So getting on a mountain bike presented a mental challenge for me because I had to let go of memories of skinned knees and painful falls. I had to expect to stay on the bike.

It was a beautiful day for a ride.

I started out fine. My husband and I were cycling on a smooth, easy trail (my favorite) in a scenic state park. 

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The easy trail turned into a gravel trail and then a little further along we wound up in an even more difficult trail in a rocky creek bed. 

I was trying to stay positive and confident, but in the back of my mind I was thinking, “I don’t want to fall. It’ll hurt if I fall.” 

Up ahead there was a large rock, probably about the size of a football and I kept thinking to myself, “Don’t hit the rock. Don’t hit the rock.”

Well, sure enough, my front tire hit the big rock and I went flying off my bike. I skidded on the rocks before coming to a stop.

Blood ran down my legs. My knees and hands burned. I screamed a few choice words and cried like a small child. I was right. It did hurt.

What happened? I was doing so well!

Where you look is where you’ll go. 

I was so focused on the rock, I didn’t see anything but the rock. I was saying, “Don’t hit the rock.” Of course I hit the rock.

The mind is powerful. Where I focus my thoughts and attention is the direction I’ll go, even if it’s not where I want to go. 

It’s a reminder to be aware of how your thoughts direct you. What you focus on is an indicator of where you’re going.

How many times does it happen that the one thing you decide you don’t want to do is what you end up doing? The one thing you don’t want to happen is what happens?

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Where you look is where you’ll go.

Avoid focusing on what you don’t want. Focus on where you want to go and on what you want to do, because where you look is where you’ll go.

Fun extra: Here’s another illustration of the principle that where you look is where you’ll go. It’s from Bob’s Burgers when Tina learns to drive a car.

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Choose the Opportunity of Now

My husband introduced me to a website “an engine for computing answers and providing knowledge”. The website provides facts – quantifiable facts. It doesn’t provide opinions or recommendations.

Interesting information

Type in Chicago, Illinois and you’ll get Chicago’s population statistics, current weather and time, income statistics, demographics, and more.Photo courtesy of published on

Put in today’s date and you’ll get information about observances and holidays, moon phase, sunrise and sunset times, and more.

Type in a specific date and year, like your birthday, and you’ll get the day of the week it was and how many days have passed since that date.

It provides facts. Facts alone aren’t disputable. It’s what you do with the information that can make a difference. For me, the information it provided spurred more questions and judgement.

Facts made personal

For example, I put in my birthday. I was born more than 20 thousands days ago. That’s more than 2800 weeks. That’s really a long time. I had to ask: Have I done enough? It makes me wonder about how many more days will I have and how will I do everything I want to do?Photo courtesy of published on

It’s easy to get discouraged about the time that’s passed, to feel sad about getting older.

Most of us struggle with that at one point or another.

But I realize it’s better to get excited about right now and living each day being as happy and productive as I can. Not so much to live each day as if it were my last, but to not waste it regretting the past. It’s much better to be motivated about the opportunity of now.

Almost exactly a year ago, that’s 365 days, I quit my job as a school librarian and decided I wanted to do something different, that what I really want to do is write. I finished my 1st draft of my 1st novel on March 15 of this year. As of this blogpost, that’s just over 80 days ago.

I’m on the 3rd draft of revisions.

Here are some of the questions I ask myself:

Isn’t it a little late to start a new career? Maybe.

What could I have done if I’d started when I was in my 20’s. A lot more than starting in my 50’s.

Would I be a better writer now? Almost courtesy of published on

And yet, I know it’s pointless to re-visit past career choices and wonder if I’ve made good use of my 20 thousand days.

The more important question is “What now?” Better to move forward grateful for every day and the opportunity to do something I’ve always wanted to do.

It’s not just about living in the present. It’s also about looking forward to the future.

We all know our time is limited. That reality can be either depressing or motivating. Each of us has to decide for ourselves which it will be.

Choose to be motivated by the opportunity of now.

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5 Ways to Get Past Regret

What would you do differently if you had a do-over?

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.comSomething you said, something you did?

Everyone messes up sometimes. It’s normal to look back with regret.

And that awful, terrible feeling of regret can stick around for a while.

But regret keeps you in the past and youPhoto courtesy of published on

wish you’d have done/said/acted differently.

think/talk about it.

keep thinking/talking about it.

feel remorseful/sad/angry about it.

know you can’t change it, but you can’t get it out of your head, even though you know what’s done is done.

How can you get past it?

Try these 5 tips to get past regret:

1. Remember, you can’t change the past.

It would be great to be like Superman and be able to turn back time. But our reality is that what’s done can’t be un-photo courtesy of published on strong-woman.comdone.

Wishing it were different is a waste of time and energy. Even so, we have to do it sometimes. There’s an old saying, “Don’t cry over spilled milk.” It’s okay to cry a little. It might help you feel a little better about the situation. But crying won’t clean it up. So cry a little if you want, but then decide your next course of action, and move on.

2. Be accountable for your actions.

Whether you ask others for forgiveness, offer restitution, or whatever you decide to do to try to right a wrong, accept responsibility for your actions. It may turn out that it’s not as big an issue as you made it out to be and you worried and feared the worst unnecessarily.

3. Forgive yourself and others.

Forgiveness is liberating. It acknowledges imperfection and helps give us the ability to move on. Ask some one you’ve hurt for forgiveness, without expectation. Forgive yourself and others.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com4. Learn from past mistakes.

Ask yourself: What would you do differently and how would that make it better or worse? You may discover that you made the best choice with the information available at the time. And everyone makes mistakes. Use them as a learning experience so you don’t keep repeating the same mistakes over and over.

5. Live in the present.

When you dwell on the past, it’s impossible to live fully in the present. You can’t trip over what’s behind you. Remember, no do-overs.

We can’t change our past but we can change our future.

Regret keeps us stuck in the past. It pulls us back and keeps us there.

Every minute of every day is an opportunity to be better. If you’re stuck regretting the past, you won’t be ready for the opportunities that lie ahead. Instead, be ready by getting past regret.

Note: Sometimes, regret can be the source of deep and long-lasting pain, such as forgiving an assailant who harmed you or a loved one, or forgiving yourself for unknowingly harming some one, such as in an accident. Seek professional help if you find yourself unable to get past the feeling of regret.

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Don’t Let Self-Doubt Kill Your Dream. Keep At It!

Starting a new venture can be overwhelming. When you set out to do something new, you make yourself vulnerable. You put yourself out there. Your confidence ebbs and flows and you start asking yourself, “Can I really do this?”Photo from the commons project published on

Maybe it’s something you’ve put off doing for a while because you know it’s going to be tough, like finding a new job, quitting smoking, starting a business, losing weight, training for a sporting event, or learning to play an instrument.

You decide to go for it. You’re committed.

Things move slowly at first. Maybe so slowly it feels like you’re not moving at all. Doubt sets in:  “What was I thinking? Why did I ever commit to this? I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. Is this even worth it? Why am I putting myself through this?”

Shake off the doubt. Remember why you started, why you wanted it. Re-commit.

And then keep at it. Keep moving forward, little by little.

One step at a time

Photo courtesy of published on strong-woman.comIt takes a while to gain momentum.

There’s so much to learn, so many setbacks, and things rarely go as smoothly as you’d like. Just when you’ve leaped one hurdle you find another one waiting for you.

“Why bother?” your inner voice says. “There’s no way I can do this!”

You’re not alone

Everyone battles doubt, even people who seem to get everything so easily.Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on

When you’re attempting to do something different that gets you out of your regular routine and puts you at risk of failure, it’s normal to doubt yourself.

Steven Pressfield calls it “Resistance” in his book The War of Art.

He writes, “Any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long term growth, health, or integrity. Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower. Any of these will elicit Resistance.”

Doubt is Resistance

Resistance is anything that makes you want to quit in the face of challenge. Doubt is resistance. Most resistance falls under the umbrella of fear.

Take care of yourself with a quiet commute published on

Fear of failure, alienation, change, pain, the unknown.

When it’s tempting to quit, remember why you started. Look at how far you’ve come instead of how far you have to go.

Whatever the challenge, whatever the obstacle, keep at it. Keep moving forward, little by little.