Over a year ago I reached a turning point in my life and made a decision. I was going to start my own Happiness Project and spend one whole year focussing on self-love by means of mindfulness. I was happy and content with my life… but something was lacking. I had a few bad habits and certain areas of my life did not run smoothly. Actually, the time was ripe for Nadja 2.0. Every month I took on a different subject on which I would focus, and every next month I would add another. It became an interesting year in which many things happened. Many beautiful moments and many, very tough ones. I have used all these events to fuel my self-love. Everything contained one beautiful lesson. Loving yourself can be a difficult concept, everyone is talking about it, but what does it really mean? After putting all my attention on this concept for a year, I have learned these crucial lessons:
– Loving yourself is not the same as convincing yourself that you do so. It is about eliminating those convictions that claim you are not good enough. The only thing that remains is love, because that is your natural state!
– It is not the case that when it finally makes sense you will always love yourself. Self-love is something that you work on every day. Your ‘not good enough nonsense’ will be triggered every day and it is up to you to let this go and return to loving yourself every day.
– Taking care of yourself by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising and by not drinking or smoking too much is an important aspect of self-love, provided that it actually comes from a place of love. The mental aspect is just as important, if not more so, than the physical aspect. You can work-out and eat healthily all the time, if it results from the belief that you are not good enough, this will be even worse than going to the McDonald’s every day! Quitting cigarettes and starting to work-out from a place of love was an important step in the direction of self-love and respect for myself.
– Love for yourself and others also means letting go of judgment. When you judge, you lose the connection to yourself and others. Letting go of judgment helps you to feel reconnected to yourself. This year I was placed in the position which I had a lot of prejudice about before. I judged it as being weak and stupid. Being in that same position now, I learn that it actually requires a lot of love and strength. You can never really know what something is like, unless you experience it yourself. Therefore, you can never judge someone else.
– Forgiving yourself is just as important as forgiving others. Forgive yourself for all your past ‘mistakes’. These are not mistakes but opportunities to grow and learn as a human being. Forgive yourself by means of compassion. Know that at that moment in time you did what you could and thought was right. Otherwise you would not have done it.
– Sincere self-love is not dependent on others. Sometimes we think we love ourselves but in reality this love is dependent on the approval and love we receive from the others who surround us. This year I learned that despite someone who I loved dearly treated me like absolute sh*t, this does not affect my worthiness. It only tells something about the other person. Often, we let our self-worth depend on the validation of others. I have learned that I do not need the validations of others as long as I validate myself. Despite of other people hurting us, we are always capable to love ourselves and to emerge from this experience even stronger than before.
– Self-love is actively giving love to yourself every day. Believing that you are worth it will follow automatically. Invest in yourself by subscribing to a gym, hiring a coach or getting a massage. Set healthy boundaries and say no to that which does not agree with you. Take time everyday to do something nice for yourself such as taking a yoga class, drinking a cup of tea, reading a book or something else that brightens your day. Take the time everyday to give love to yourself. Make yourself priority number one. Do so because you are worth it. Love will follow by itself.
– You are never completely perfect. You will never fully be where you want to be. Other people always seem to be walking on grass that is greener. And that is OK! Everyone has their own path. Accepting your path is a huge step towards self-love. Accept where you are and know that this is exactly where you are supposed to be. You do not have to win at life or be better than others. You are prefect just the way you are at this exact moment. With all your little flaws and all your lessons. And that’s the beauty of it. If you accept this, you will no longer desire to be somewhere else and can return to the love for yourself.
– Work constantly on your inner dialogue. Talk to yourself as if you are your own cheerleader or you own best friend. Tell yourself that you are worth it, that you deserve the best. Tell yourself it is alright when you have made a mistake and that you will do better next time. Learn how to give yourself compassion, validation and love, as you would like to receive from others. Only if you can give that to yourself can you give yourself permission to completely be who you are. The validation of other is then no longer needed. My life looks completely different after a year of doing my own Happiness Project. I am much healthier, and am feeling much better in general. I have more compassion and even less judgment. My business has transformed and has grown thanks to my own investment and I am able to live the life that I want to lead. I have a group of friends that surround me and no people who bring me down. And above all, I just became a mother! A mother who can give her child an example of what self-love truly entails..