Love yourself first.

As you sit here reading this, you’re probably wondering why I’d begin with such a statement. Let me explain. As a relationship coach, and someone who had to go through my own version of hell to realize the detriment of my relationships, I can speak as frank as possible to say: Love yourself first so that you can properly teach other how to love you.

For years, I thought I knew what it was to love myself. I mean, I was comfortable in my own skin, somewhat happy with who I thought I was, and prided myself on who I was “supposed” to be. As I said last week in Embracing Change, I understood what it meant to be who I truly am, not the version of me that I was told to be.

Most of my life I was considered to be a handful of characteristics that, in all, were less than flattering. l was characterized by words such as mean, hard to handle, brutally honest, extremely opinionated, I only see life in black or white (no grey area), independent, strong willed, and that I don’t NEED anyone else. I understand that not all of these words are hurtful or untrue, yet I do rather disagree with the context in which some were used.

When I began the process of diving into the depths of my mind to better understand who I am and where I want my future to go, I began working with what I knew: who I was told I was. I took all of those characteristics and reworded them to be more fitting to who I WANT to be. Each of those words were spun into a version of possibility within myself that the rest of the world would either love or hate; that wasn’t to be my concern any longer.

The key to growth is growing for YOU, not someone else. When you grow into the best version of yourself you embrace a sense of grace for your past self, a humbled point of view for your current self, and pride for who you’re becoming. There is no room for concern of other opinions: YOUR’S is the one that matters now.

We live for validation (I know, I used to as well!). Its unjustified to our being to be inter-twined with someone else’s version of us that we lower ourselves to be who they expect us to be.; when all you need is you!

Look, you’re awesome. You have the ability to be whomever you want to be. You need to love yourself first for countless reasons. But, for fun sake, I’m going to ask you to do something for me..

Make a list of all of the words you’ve been “known” as throughout your life to this point (5-10 words). Next to that list of words, write how those words make you feel about yourself.

If the feeling is anything other than positive, happy or loved, write beside that the word that better suits you and how you want to feel.

Here’s the fun part.. grab some post-it notes and a pen/marker. Those words you decided upon for the YOU that is really who you are, write them on the post-its and put them somewhere you’ll see them each & every day. Then each day say those words out loud. Feel them. Look in the mirror and say them as you look yourself in the eyes.

I want you to begin to appreciate you. The lesson here is simple: You can’t fix any relationship until you fix yourself. None of us are perfect; we have a past and a current, that if we don’t chose wisely will decide for us. When YOU decide upon your future self, you take control out of the hands of others and the world begins to flow in your favor.

There is a lot of mindset changes that will take place if you’re committed. I was! And there hasn’t been a day since that I’m not grateful for the changes and growth that have taken place in my life.

Change can be a challenge because naturally we fight it, yet welcoming it into our lives has tremendous positive effects on our mind, body and soul.

The end result is this: You begin to love you in ways you never knew. You begin to appreciate you for who you want to be, who you see yourself as, and how you want to present yourself to the world.

You are worth every movement, every change, every bit of growth that will come.

Loving who you truly are is the first step to having or creating healthier relationships.

As its been said a million times.. Be you For you.