6 Reasons to Focus on Liking Yourself, and How to Do It

by Henrik Edberg


Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/insomnia90/ / CC BY-ND 2.0

“Nobody will think you’re somebody if you don’t think so yourself.”
African-American proverb

“Self-love is not opposed to the love of others.”
Dr. Karl Menninger

“Happiness is: Looking in a mirror and like what you see .”
Author Unknown

People have a need for affection and being liked. But it’s very easy to make a mistake here and go about it the wrong way. Because while trying to get others to like you may seem like a simple and common solution there is an alternative. One that I find works better.

It is to focus on liking yourself more rather than trying to get people to like you.

Here are six reasons why I put my focus in that place. And after that a brief guide to how you can increase how much you like yourself.

1. Liking yourself gives you power and strength.

If you go for trying to get people to like you you’ll most likely come off as needy and desperate a lot of the time. This is a bad position to put yourself in. Because liking and respecting yourself goes hand in hand with people liking and respecting you.

If you bend to other people all the time then they may like what you do for them. But they may not like you on a deeper level because there is a weakness and lack of confidence and personal power there.

2. People like people who like themselves.

What is attractive to a friend, an employer or a potential partner? To me, it seems like a lot of this boils down to people liking people who like themselves. Someone who likes him/herself is positive, confident, takes care of his/her health and opportunities in school/at work/in life.

3. More inner stability, much less of an emotional rollercoaster.

Getting compliments and being liked is wonderful. The problem is just that if you rely too much on validation from others then you let the outside world, other people, control how you feel. And that can be a real rollercoaster.

Because if you really need the positive validation from people then it’s hard to avoid listening to their negative input. Or you may feel bad when there is a temporary lack in the validation. So what do you do? You let go of focusing on needing that input and replace it with focusing on validating and liking yourself instead.

4. Life becomes more fun and relaxing.

If you like yourself then it becomes natural to just be your best self and let people like the real you. Doing the opposite and trying to get people to like you leads to a lack of honesty in any kind of relationship and life becomes a like walking on egg shells while using different masks with different people.

5. What you think and feel about yourself flows over.

The more you like yourself, the easier it becomes to like, help and be kind to other people. How much you like or do not like yourself flows over into your world.

6. You minimize self sabotage.

If you don’t like yourself, if you deep down don’t really think you deserve what you go after then you will tend to sabotage for yourself. Perhaps in subtle ways. You may get a gut feeling that this success is wrong and so you start doing stuff that screws things up. If you like yourself there will be a lot less self made obstacles in your mind to overcome on your path to success.

How to like yourself more

So, the benefits sound pretty good. But how do you go about changing how you feel about yourself?

Here is a brief but in my experience very effective guide that works in real life.

Do the right thing.

I write about this a lot. That’s because it’s simple thing to keep in mind and if you live it then it can bring your awesome results.

When you do what you think is the right thing then your self esteem goes up. If you just coast then you tend to feel kinda lame about yourself. So do awesome stuff and you feel awesome about yourself. Do ok stuff and feel ok about yourself. This is not always an easy thing. But people who do the right thing get fine inner rewards (and often outer rewards too). What you do tends to correspond to what you get in the long run.

What is the right thing? Well, that’s up to you to decide and it can vary from life to life and situation to situation. Some of the things I think is the right thing to do is to keep my life in order and organized, to workout regularly and take care of my health, to be positive and open, to spend time doing things I really like doing, to get out of my comfort zone and face fears and to be a person of action.

When you do the right thing you like yourself more and so the self sabotage decreases. The standards you set for yourself flows over to your world too. What you accept or don’t accept from yourself is what you tend to accept or not accept from other people.

And what you think and do to the world around you – for example being judgmental or being open and kind – is how you tend to think about yourself and treat yourself too.

Don’t take yourself for granted or focus on the wrong things. Appreciate yourself.

What you do or do not do has a huge effect on how you view yourself and how much you like yourself. But what you focus on in your mind is also important. Because if you do good things but then focus on small faults or failures then that won’t help you.

So make a habit of focusing on appreciating the good things about yourself. Take two minutes right now to think about positive things about you or good things you have done and accomplished. Or take a few minutes tonight to write down five good things about yourself in a journal.

This extends to what you focus on in the world around you too. Because as I mentioned in the previous tip, what you focus on in the people around you tends to be how you see and treat yourself. So you may want to add five or ten things that you appreciate about the people around you to those journal entries and two minute appreciation sessions.

The more you do things like these, the more this kind of thinking will naturally pop up in your everyday life too. You are changing how you think about yourself and what you have a tendency to focus on.

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{ 23 comments }

Tony Teegarden April 23, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Where attention goes energy flows.

Loving ourselves means providing an environment that is rich in the area’s you covered. A healthy self esteem is so important and it’s critical to nurture it & support it consciously.

One of the things I noticed that could also be included is acknowledging our connection to divinity or a deeper energy. We’re not islands unto this earth because below the surface of even vast oceans we’re all connected.

We’re all purposeful beings and not just sacks of water walking around. Be acknowledging a deeper source of which we’re all connected it allows to be more empathetic and understanding of our human conditions.

A few other things I’d add that reinforce liking yourself more:
~Be compassionate with yourself.
~Don’t be terribly hard on your self because your actions didn’t quite live up to your expectations.
~Be understanding and forgiving of your mistakes. They are necessary in order to grow.
~Acknowledge yourself/Reward yourself for “doing the right thing.”

Awesome article. Thank you!

Topi April 24, 2010 at 5:30 am

The thing about trying to get other people to like you is that you end up using precious energy to meet someone else’s needs. If you focus your energies on liking yourself, not only are you the beneficiary of your investment, but as you’ve pointed out, people like people who like themselves – so, the return on investment is much greater.
Topi

Antony April 24, 2010 at 5:38 am

Hi! I like this post, very interesting! I have some problems about like myself (Currently I am better than before but I’m still feeling down) and I think it will help me a lot (I hope).
Well, about the first reason that you have written I agree, I am being so nice and king with other people, help and accepting some stuff from then but when I see they are not being friends, they treat me well but different, I not feel that they like me as a good-friend-for-anytime or something like that, it’s hard to describe though. Someone told me once that I am person-centered, I think it doesn’t sound good, so I don’t know if I feel happy or not, I got these both feeling.
Anyway, Thanks Henrik for all of your posts…

Alex Feeling Good April 24, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Feeling good about yourself is absolutely key to being happier and not being at the mercy of approval addiction which can often mean people spend so much energy trying to please others they lose all respect for themselves, and, others also lose respect for them.

Your own internal dialogue is something you need to be aware of- how do you speak to yourself? Do you value your own efforts? Do you accept your imperfections and recognise your strengths?

Would you treat your best friend the way you treat yourself?
Be your own best friend!

Joshua Noerr April 25, 2010 at 3:44 am

Very simply, I always like to say, “Solve the world’s problems by first solving your own.” It is very easy to look out the window, but difficult to look in the mirror. The simple act of liking yourself, and affirming it daily, can make the world a better place. Thanks for a great article Henrik.

Lifesher April 25, 2010 at 6:51 am

Hi came here just now.Well explained post on self liking .One who likes himself definitely will have the passion towards the things he’s doing & that’s the 1st thing to be needed to achieve success.But however the problem with many of them is they don’t have the interest in work they are doing & this is leading to mental distrubance pushing them away from happiness…

N.N. April 25, 2010 at 8:27 am

great article, finally opended my eyes

Amanya Jacobs April 25, 2010 at 11:01 pm

I especially like the concepts of appreciating your self, not taking yourself for granted. Thanks.

Farouk April 26, 2010 at 10:09 am

you have just tackled the root of lack of self confidence Henrik, if someone doesn’t like himself then he would never be able to become confident. Thanks for reminding us :)

Lauren - OfficeArrow April 26, 2010 at 8:05 pm

It is so very true that if you like yourself, other people will. I think the most important part is willing yourself to stop caring about what other people think. Focus on yourself and what you want to accomplish. Someone mentioned approval addiction earlier – the only person who needs to “approve” of what you do is YOU.

Tom MacKay April 26, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Really great blog. Liking yourself is probably the most important thing before other people will like you. Just as in a relationship someone won’t feel love from someone else until they love themselves first.

dennis April 27, 2010 at 2:33 pm

This came in the right time! Thank you Henrick

Sometimes, even you have been too discreet of all your actions you still tend to ask yourself what have I done wrong? In essence you still trying to figure out the wrong in you.

As long as you did was right. You deserve to congratulate yourself.

Aida April 27, 2010 at 2:49 pm

I already feel good about myself. Thanks Hendrik

Armen Shirvanian April 27, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Hi Henrik.

We sure can’t let compliments have too much of an impact on our thoughts. The minute we let compliments become something we expect, we are setting ourselves up to be hurt when either no compliment shows up or an attack shows up. We have to be in our own self-supporting routines, and outside input can be thought of as a potential bonus. The less we depend on others for this or that, the more likely they are to want to be on our team.

Susan Liddy April 27, 2010 at 9:48 pm

What a fantastic concept: like yourself more than you try to get others to like you… well, you said it better. ;)

What pops into my mind when I think of this is how much this helps us attract like minded people to us. When we focus on liking ourselves… that leads to engaging in doing things we like to do… which then puts us in places with people who also like those things.

Megan Zuniga April 28, 2010 at 6:25 am

Another great post! It’s usually the basic things in life that we take for granted. Isn’t it always advised by airline companies in case of emergencies to look out for yourself first before others. It’s the same principle in every aspect of life. If you want others to like you, you have to like yourself. If you want to educate others, you must educate yourself. If you want to be loved, you must first love yourself (and I don’t mean that you become a narcisist). We all heard the phrases “Change comes from within.” and “Change starts with you!” You can’t change the world around you. You can’t make people like you. But you can change yourself. Be happy with yourself. When you’re happy with yourself, it will boost everything: self-esteem, confidence, motivation, morale, etc.
PS…Sharing another article http://budurl.com/fuu5 about self-esteem and its relation to success. Enjoy!

Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com April 28, 2010 at 10:04 am

You can serve others so much better when you love yourself. If you hate yourself you are always trying to fill that hole. If you love yourself you are full and the extra flows out to others in your actions.

Henrik Edberg April 28, 2010 at 10:17 am

Thank you all for adding your own insights about how to like yourself more! :)

Richard April 28, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Great post. Loving and approving of one self is very important. It can be the very difference between living a healthy and abundant life style and not. Thanks for posting. Richard

Josten April 30, 2010 at 4:18 pm

great post i must say. One of the main things that i learned about appreciating myself more was when i didn’t appreciate myself and the things i was doing the way that i should’ve. This post brought alot back into perspective for me.

Jaycee May 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Couldn’t agree more. You are beautiful just as you are, so no need of approval from other people. :D

Adam May 2, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Good advice, thank you !

Saideely May 4, 2010 at 7:57 pm

its all about me !!
nice article dude

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