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Love Yourself Better

Do you want to love yourself better? The truth is, loving ourselves is hard. As wives, moms, caretakers, homemakers, friends and everyday do-ers…life is full. Full of people, things, responsibilities, conflicting demands, need-tos and want-tos. Full of expectations, should-dos, wish-I-could-bes, and never-measure-ups.

If we’re honest, we’re pretty hard on ourselves. It’s not about setting goals or dreams, that’s the good stuff. It’s the expectation. But you can learn, or at least make time, to love yourself better.

In every dream there is space to grow. For things to shift and change, permission to wander off track, get lost and course correct. Expectation, however, is not free. It keeps us in chains, tied to our past and hindered from our future. It keeps us from growing and loving ourselves well.

Just as anything in life, there are no magic answers. But I think loving ourselves better is, perhaps, our life work.

Loving yourself better IQ

Here are a few little ways I am learning to love myself better right now:

1. Trust yourself.

In my experience, my greatest times of self-doubt arose in the times I wasn’t trusting my own still small voice. The spirit within me telling me either to wait on God or push forward with conviction. When I’ve doubted the spirit in me and acted instead on the thoughts and advice of another, I’ve found myself growing further away from my own truth. I’m learning to trust in my own voice. Intuition. That still small voice that lives in each of our us, offering to kindly, gently guide our path. We are all on a different journey and your advice may not suit my situation or my heart, and vice versa. We have the right to take our power back and make decisions that are right for us. Be brave and courageous and believe the voice that lives in you.

2. Cultivate quiet.

Cultivating quiet time is critical to loving myself well. Up until my early twenties I was terrified to be alone. I thought being alone meant no one wanted to be with me. But life and love and heartbreak forced me to set out on my own path and begin to discover who I really was. It changed everything. A once-thought flailing extrovert, I now know a woman who is actually much more of an introvert; a woman who finds comfort and meaning in a small groups that go deep. Being alone doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it’s the only place you can hope to hear the still small voice of your heart. These days I can’t seem to find enough quiet! But that’s an entirely different issue! You can read my story in which I learned how to be alone without feeling lonely here.

3. Practice gratitude.

Whenever I start to doubt or fear I try to remember to look for something to be grateful for. Something bigger than myself. This practice typically involves nature, creation, or simply remembering Jesus. Sometimes His name is humbling enough. For me it’s always the little things. Simple things: finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. A sunrise, a gently falling snowflake, the full sleeping lips of my precious boys, or snuggling in a blanket under the stars. The moment I begin practicing gratitude I see Him. I see beauty, grace and a life of peace. When I practice gratitude my fear fades into the background, and I am able to be present in the moment. Appreciating all that is makes me realize it is all that I want it to be. Even in hard times, I realize they are mine. Mine to choose whether I grow bitter or better, resentful or refined. Every heartache and heartbreak is a gift if we choose to see it that way.

4. Give yourself permission to be imperfect.

I think one of the biggest challenges we face as women is comparing ourselves with other women. Whether we’re comparing ourselves to a friend with a similar ambition or talent, an acquaintance, or a role or expectation we see played out in the media culture. The minute we start comparing ourselves to someone else we fall prey to the lie that there isn’t enough for all of us. That someone else’s success means there is somehow less for us. Or there’s one right way to do anything at all. This leads to an elusive quest after an illusion of perfection. Believe me, I know it well. We believe that if we do it perfectly we’ll be enough; or at least we will be safe from criticism, judgment, ridicule or rejection. It just isn’t true. None of it. Aristotle said: The only way to avoid criticism is to do nothing. Say nothing. Be nothing.

Perfection is a trap that gets in front of your gifts, stops your growth, and keeps you small. Give yourself permission to be imperfect, knowing there is more than enough for all of us. How much more interesting, alluring and beautiful is that?

Love yourself better BQ2

5. Play.

Brene Brown’s work has me convinced that happiness is highly related to creativity and play, and the truth is I’m not great at it. If I’m honest, I usually reserve play for when all the work is done. Which, if you’re like any normal person on the planet: means never. However, creativity can be sneaky. Writing is a creative process for me. Words, images and design all come together in a way that allows me to express myself. I also love to sing, although these days that happens mostly in the shower!

What makes you come alive? What makes you lose track of time and brings you right into the heart of living in the moment? I know this means something for you. Whether that is singing, writing, painting, drawing, composing, playing, scrapbooking, dancing, acting, dreaming, or living it OUT LOUD!

Trust yourself. Cultivate quiet so you can hear that still small voice inside you. Practice gratitude. No matter what mountain rises up in front of you, it is yours. And your life has perfectly prepared you to summit it. Who cares if you fall? Release yourself from the trap of perfection and choose real instead. It’s far more beautiful. And then finally, I wonder: what is your art? Would you bring it out to play?

How do you love yourself better?

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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Ellen September 11, 2014, 5:32 pm

    These are such timely words for me to live by.
    I am happy with myself alone but I so prefer sharing life with others.
    God has me practicing the true reality of His presence in my aloneness and waiting on Him to see who He leads into my unusually available life. I haven’t been able to choose because everyone I love is either too busy or too far away.
    God is faithful to hear my cry!
    Thank you for sharing all your beautiful words on deep meaningful life stuff!

    • Tammy September 14, 2014, 3:22 pm

      Dear Ellen, I echo your prayer today. That God would meet you in your alone time with Him and lead you in the way He wants you to go. Bring you to the people who need your light. With an “unusually available” life, perhaps He is nudging you to step out and lead. To build. To plant. He is faithful and I know He will prepare the way. Blessings! xo

      • Ellen Hoffman September 18, 2014, 12:39 am

        Tammy, God heard and responded to our echoed prayers!
        I have just this week been introduced to a young family that has moved to the US from New Zealand that have 2 busy, needy, lovely, young boys,one has cerebral palsy:(
        The parents have continued to thank me and remind me that they have been praying for quite some time for a christian, grandma, mentor woman to help.
        They have welcomed me to step into their lives! I have the support and encouragement of my husband (whose hard work and great job allow for my unusual availability). I have been filling lots of time doing what I do best: loving and encouraging others with hands on service. I have been a nanny and tutor for years past, but those kids are growing up and so are mine that I had the privilege of Homeschooling. Now this sweet family who moved far from all their family support are praising God for me! Feels so great to be wanted and needed.
        Thanks for being part of this miracle!

        • Ellen September 18, 2014, 12:44 am

          By the way, this answer to prayer came the very next day after I read your February 25th post. I didn’t read it until September 11! Fast!

        • Tammy September 21, 2014, 6:24 am

          Ellen I am overjoyed for you!! You just made my day, thank you SO MUCH for sharing this answer to prayer with me! You ARE a blessing and I am so happy you found a place to feel wanted and needed, where you can pour out your love. He is so faithful. Yay!! xoxo

          • Ellen September 24, 2014, 1:42 pm

            Thank you! I was excited to rejoice in God with you!

  • Shana Foster May 11, 2015, 10:34 pm

    I can’t thank you enough for these words of encouragement to love myself better and how to be alone. I have been struggling with these issues and today I was sent to this page. For what I do work wise, I have been wanting something just like this. To find myself and then to turn around and help other women to empower themselves as well.

  • Ashlee August 18, 2016, 3:44 am

    This is great, Tammy! Timely. I spent today considering what it looks like to live loved–no strings attached, and believing I am enough and my God is more than enough❤️

    • admin August 19, 2016, 4:36 pm

      Mmmmmhmmm, so good Ashlee. To live loved-no strings attached. I love that so, so much. xo

  • Shan Copeland August 18, 2016, 2:16 pm

    Tammy, I LOVE your writing! So real…you get to the heart of the matter! I thank God for the gift that He gave you to touch, inspire and encourage people through your writing! I read your book “Pretty” about one year ago. Left a HUGE imprint on my heart and mind! I would so love to sit down and have coffee with you and talk about life! But until that happens, I look forward to connecting with you on your blog!!! 🙂

    • admin August 19, 2016, 4:35 pm

      Shan — Thank you so much for the gift of your words! What an encouragement you are to my soul today. I would love to have that sit down to connect someday. In the meantime, I’m so, so glad you’re here. Thank you again. xo

  • Jinny September 24, 2016, 2:58 pm

    Tammy!! I’ve only met you once through a mutual friend but you are amazing!! Your stories inspire me and encourage me. I love your blog and can’t wait to read more. You are truly a beautiful woman inside and out! Thank you for opening up your journey to all of us and helping us. 💗💗

    • admin September 25, 2016, 9:48 pm

      Awe, thank you Jinny! I’d love to know you more – I hear wonderful things about you. 🙂 Make sure you’re signed up for the newsletter where I’ll be sharing more of my life and journey in a more personal way. Thank you for being here and your sweet note of encouragement. It means more than you know. xo

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