Everybody wants to be beautiful and more importantly feel beautiful both on the inside and out. While growing up, each little girl dreams of being a princess or at least pretends for a while. When becoming an adult, the thought of being that little princess a few years back has faded from our memories. Why do we have to give up on our dream of the little princess we once believed we could become?

So are we to do this? How can we bring the princess mentality back into our current reality? The first thing we must do is to stop being so critical of ourselves. We need to love the person we have become both physically and mentally. We need to accept ourselves for who we are and what we have to offer.

Learning to love yourself starts with making a conscious decision, an intention to become happy and lead a fulfilled life. When you do not love yourself and suffer from low self esteem, it is almost impossible to ever reach the potential that you suspect you have.

When you make a decision to love yourself, you are really saying that you want to come alive. You accept that you are responsible for the outcomes that you experience in your life and would like yourself to shine from living a fulfilling life.

So if you’ve decided on loving yourself but are as equally stumped on how to do it, here are 17 ways which can be helpful:

1. Fall in love with yourself. Think about what makes you, You. Just like a flower that needs watering to grow, learn to nurture yourself in every way. Love yourself for all the good that you see and accept your flaws and the fact that you are imperfect. This does not mean that you do not learn to change from your shortcomings; instead, you are being gentle and kind to yourself despite all your “flaws”. Look in the mirror and fall in love with the reflection that is you.

2. Eliminate Self Criticism. Do you often berate yourself over the tiniest thing? Is there a little voice inside your head that often tells you that you are no good because you are stupid or make mistakes? If you find that you often judge yourself, make an effort to stop the self-criticism.

3. Be Kind and Positive. When you start to think kindly and positively about yourself, the love you have for yourself just grows. Make it a habit to praise yourself every day, while in the front of the mirror. Because of such thoughts, you naturally undertake empowering actions that support your development.

4. Acknowledge Your Effort. It is not always about winning or coming up tops in everything that you do. Many times, it is the effort that counts! Acknowledge that you have done your best, even if you have failed to produce tangible results.

5. Let Go Of Worry. Loving yourself requires you to let go of your worry. It is a horrible way to live a life filled with constant worrying. Worry does not help in any way. It cannot, on its own, make things happen. Only wise actions can! So instead of worrying, spend time thinking about what you can do to help in the situation.

6. Trust Yourself. Have confidence in your abilities. Know that you have the ability to make important changes for yourself, for as long as you put your heart to it. You can also support yourself by visualizing desired outcomes.

7. Forgive Yourself. If you have made mistakes in the past that had caused you to feel less worthy, then you need to forgive yourself. Everybody makes mistakes; so there really is no need to beat yourself up over them. Also, if you have been carrying around a baggage of emotional hurt because of a childhood trauma, learn to forgive yourself.

8. Be Truthful To Yourself. Loving yourself requires you to be truthful about your own feelings. If you are happy, acknowledge the joy. If you are sad, acknowledge the sorrow. When you are truthful about your feelings, you do not try to lie to yourself or seek to bury your negative emotions. Instead, acknowledging what you feel provides a good guide to what your thoughts are. And as we all know, thoughts can be changed, so that healing and self-growth can take place.

9. Grow Spiritually. When you spend time growing spiritually, loving yourself becomes automatic. You become more peaceful, connected, kind, loving and compassionate. You nurture a mind that grows more beautiful by the day. You naturally love yourself in the process.

10. Make Positive Affirmations Everyday. Reframe your mind with positive affirmations. For instance, say this to yourself “I love and accept myself completely and unconditionally.” Read your affirmations out loud several times a day.

11. Express Gratitude. Express gratitude for the person that you are. For instance, cultivate an appreciation for your strengths and gifts. Also, feel a sense of gratitude that you are alive and well, and fully capable of making a difference in your life.

12. Nurture Your Dreams. Why deny yourself your dreams? When you nurture your dreams, you would love the life that you are leading. Every moment that you live is a joy because you are expressing yourself fully.

13. Boost Your Self Confidence. Make a deliberate attempt to look for opportunities that can help improve your confidence. For instance, if you are particularly good at doing something, set aside more time to indulge and improve your skills on it. Knowing that you have particular gifts can boost your self-esteem.

14. Relax. Give yourself space to take breaks every now and then. If you spend your time working, without paying attention to your health, it also means that you do not love yourself well enough to take care of your own body. Fill your time with silence, soothing music and visions of beauty; anything that nourishes your Soul.

15. Have Fun. Inject some fun into your life. Life is meant to be an enjoyable. Don’t take life or yourself too seriously. If you can think of life in this manner, you automatically relax and quit worrying over things that do not matter.

16. Look After Your Body. It is important that you strengthen yourself with proper nutrition and regular exercise. Your body is a temple and you should treat it with respect, love and care. It has been found that the lack of self-love is often the root causes of conditions like eating disorders, obesity or even terminal diseases.

17. Learn To See Beauty. When you learn to see beauty in everything, you will also see beauty in yourself. Hence, stop to smell the flowers. Notice everything. Feel everything. The pink blush of the flowers in your garden, the greenness of the plains, the whisper of the gentle wind, or the myriad hues of an evening sky.

Source:  Evelyn, How to Love Yourself in 17 Ways, Mar 2008, 20th. Abundancetapestry.com