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8 steps to love you
Sometimes the most difficult person in the world to love is you. - photo by Alyssa White
Its so easy to see the good in others and to see why they deserve to be happy and blessed. Often the most challenging person in the world to love is you.

Here are eight steps to improve your personal relationship and love who you are:

1. Spend time alone

Time to yourself may seem impossible or boring, but this is the greatest thing you can do to improve the relationship with yourself. Wherever you go you are surrounded by people. These associations are important, but consistently being around other people can suffocate your self-awareness and sense of identity.

Purposefully do an activity all alone on occasion. Remind yourself who you are and simply enjoy the company of your own thoughts and opinions. Strive to define yourself independent of anyone else. Time alone can become a sacred time and should be sought after and treasured.

2. Seek silence

In addition to taking time for yourself, invite silence into your life. Quiet moments of solitude enable you to take a breath and reflect on who you are and the direction youre going.

Turn off the TV background noise and silence the notifications on your phone. Then sit on the couch and just think. Go on a walk. Drive with no music.

There are so many distractions in our crazy lives that can drown out our own thoughts and feelings. Its important to actually think and feel and much of the daily noise stifles that.

3. Set goals

A wonderful sense of fulfillment comes after setting and reaching goals.

As you take time to be alone and sit in silence, reflect on life and how youre doing. Do a personal inventory and set goals for how to improve. Write down your plans and set a time frame. Reward yourself when goals are met.

Reaching goals will give you a sense of accomplishment, confidence, and self-respect.

4. Journal

WRITE! Write in a notebook or type on your computer but record your lifes adventures and happenings. Write what you learn and how you feel. Writing things down enables you to process events. It can also be a great tool in seeing yourself progress.

Going back to read old journals is a neat experience - you can see the growth you've made and how far you've come. You can also turn to your old self when you feel you've lost your way and remember who you are.

5. Prioritize the things that make you YOU

What do you love? Whether its yoga, soccer, hiking, playing guitar, or quilting, make time for the things you love. Your interests and talents help make you YOU, so dont neglect those things.

Life is busy and time is valuable. However, make sure to set time aside each week to have fun doing something YOU love.

6. Look in the mirror

You get ready in the morning and glance at yourself throughout the day, but do you ever really look at yourself?

This isnt a plug for vanity or self-aggrandizement, but a meaningful practice to help you know yourself better. Every once in a while take a minute to really look at yourself in the mirror. This may seem weird, but do it. Look straight into your eyes. Then smile. No other person on earth sees what you see.

7. Compliment yourself

Thoughts are powerful. As you fill your mind with constructive, empowering thoughts about yourself you will eventually come to believe those words. You would never say things to other people that you say to yourself. So STOP IT.

Perhaps you need a daily affirmation pep talk and dance before you face the world each day like this girl. I like my hair. I like my stuff. I like my whole house. I can do anything good. Something like that.

8. Talk to God

God knows you better than you know yourself. Trust that. Learn from him who you are. As you pray to God and develop a relationship with him, he will help you love yourself and see yourself as he sees you.

Keep in mind that any negative, degrading thought is not from God. He loves you for who you really are, right now and always. God is aware of your flaws and weaknesses even more than you are. He loves you perfectly though, and he wants you to love yourself. He will help you.
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