From early childhood on, we’re taught to self-loathe more than to self-love. Self-doubts and limiting beliefs pass from family member to family member, friend to friend and reinforced by endless cycles of self-rejection and self-abuse. As a result, it has become easier and more socially acceptable to speak disparagingly about oneself and others than it is to speak with confidence and positivity. On the other extreme, we see the likes of high-profile athletes, actors and media icons boasting and behaving badly and we make the (false) supposition that egoism and self-love are one-in-the-same. The resulting confusion makes it difficult for us to practice and experience loving oneself without guilt and shame. These emotions block us from working with authenticity and confidence.

The best way to begin loving oneself is to make self-appreciation a daily practice. By taking repetitive self-affirming action, we can push out the deleterious beliefs about our limitations and replace them with supporting thoughts that are nurturing and conducive to growing one’s personal passions. Most of us walk around with a chest full of self-loathing that stifles our very life force and restricts the creativity that we allow ourselves to express. Changing negative patterns takes a conscious, concerted effort. Here are a few things that have worked for me. Perhaps you can glean some ideas for your own self-love campaign!

1. Talk yourself “up” – instead of calling yourself (or anyone else, for that matter) disparaging names stop, notice and then say something positive instead.

2. Appreciate compliments – instead of rejecting compliments and being embarrassed make it a point to issue a heart-felt “thank you” to ALL appreciation that comes your way.

3. Surrender judgment – Become aware of when you are being judgmental. Replace judgment with curiosity. Wonder why something is the way it is instead of rendering an opinion whether it is “right” or “wrong,” “good,” or “bad.”

4. Recognize your essence – look, really look, and notice the things that make you unique. Allow yourself to appreciate the beautiful inner qualities that have no physical form. Acknowledge your gifts (inner genius) and make it a point to do more things that play to these strengths.