Learn to love yourself

Become your own best friend. Three wise women share their advice on how to nourish your soul and love yourself...

The preacher, Reverend Ethel Mguli
The best thing you can do for yourself is to work on loving who you are, because you cannot love others when you do not love yourself.

You need to start by looking inwards and then moving towards others. And to do that, you need time alone, in silence, to reflect on who you are. Think about who God is to you and to others. How do you relate to God and to the people around you?

It doesn't matter where you do it, it's just important that you have this time of spiritual reflection in your daily life. Women have always looked down on themselves – and they've been pushed down, too. Women need the encouragement to think, "I am myself. I will look up to myself and I will not look down again."

The psychologist, Sarashnee Govender
One of our biggest problems is that we are so very critical of ourselves. Did you know that we talk to ourselves for 16 hours a day? When I tell my clients that, they look at me as if I'm crazy, and then I tell them that, by even thinking that, they are talking to themselves.

Often our thoughts about ourselves are negative, and we need to make a conscious effort to monitor those thoughts. Stop yourself from thinking, "Silly me!", and rather think, "That didn't work, so how can I do things differently?"

From there, start thinking about everything more positively. And let yourself enjoy the moment. Have a good laugh. It really does make you feel better.

Taking care of how you look also helps you to be happy with who you are. You sometimes find that with a lot of responsibility, people who were once very vibrant disappear into the background because they are not taking time to take care of themselves. And grooming is important for our self-esteem, as is setting little goals for ourselves in the day – even hanging out the washing can give you a feeling of accomplishment. Enjoy it!

The life coach, Yolanda McAdam
We get so caught up in our busyness that we neglect our spirits. And that's a bad thing. Our souls suffer if we don't take time out to think deeply. So, how do we live more spiritually fulfilling lives? Activities such as prayer, meditation, yoga classes, morning walks, long runs, volunteer work, retreats or art classes are all good for reflection – and the soul.

Practice makes perfect

Pay attention – look at things as if you are seeing them for the first time or the last. See the ordinary and the extraordinary in everything around you loved ones, nature, people's thoughts and actions.

Live in the now – stop obsessing about the past and focus on the present.

Acknowledge beauty – express yourself through drawing, writing, painting or pottery.

Connect with others – reach out and touch other lives, and practise compassion.

Celebrate life – sprinkle everything you do with zest, and don't hold back.

Spread hope – fuel and support the dreams of others.

Be kind – live words of encouragement and perform good deeds.

Really listen – when we listen to another human being, we acknowledge not only the person, but also his or her soul. And when we start to listen, we hear our own inner voices.

Enjoy silence – our days are filled with too much noise and we need daily moments of silence to know what is going on inside. Turn off your cellphone and let your family know you need at least 15 minutes of me time every day.

Do you have any tips for learning to love yourself? Share them in the comment box below.

- True Love

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