Vanessa Million: Changing a Million of Lives One Relationship at a Time“Love is the great miracle cure. Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.”Loise HaySimple Steps To Love OurselvesSelf love for many of us is a lifelong journey and for many of us, “learning tolove ourselves” does not seem so “easy to achieve.” For many of us, genuine self-love seems so elusive, so much harder to grasp than we expected. I would like to give some practical suggestions – some first steps — on how to learn to love ourselves.I have made the analogy that, if we keep giving to others without giving to ourselves , it is like pouring water from a vessel. If we pour and pour without everrefilling it, eventually, it will run dry. So, if we are like that vessel, howdo we refill, recharge, re-energize, and replenish ourselves, so that we will have energy and love to give to others and to the world? The answer is: by lovingand giving to ourselves, first. How do we begin to do this?There are many ways for us to love and to care for ourselves… The possibilitiesare infinite. One way we can learn to love ourselves is to act as if we alreadydo (i.e., “Fake it till you make it”). An important way to love ourselves is tonourish and care for our bodies. For example, think loving thoughts, eat healthyfoods, and exercise regularly. We can “treat” ourselves to things like a massage, a facial, a pedicure, or a gym membership. Taking breaks and having fun are important, as well. Whether alone, with a friend, or with a partner, we may wantto have a night out on the town: go out for a nice dinner, go dancing, or attendthe theater, a concert, the ballet, or a movie. If you tend to be a workaholic— or if you are more a saver than a spender — then perhaps it is time to take awell-deserved, long-overdue vacation. Of course, treating ourselves does not need to involve great expense, one of my favorite “treats” is a relaxing bubble bath with not interruptions or eating dinner at home with my sweetie by candlelight, taking a walk holding hands, swim in the ocean (those waters are very healing), or watch a sunset. Perhaps you enjoy taking time to paint or to write. These are just a few ideas… Put your own imagination to work…Another way we can enhance self-love and self-esteem is to be aware of our self-talk (those things that we say to ourselves inside your head). Right now start speaking to yourself in ways that are more kind, and less mean or abusive. Many of us have very harsh inner critics: When we make a mistake, this critical voiceinside our head beats up on us, saying things like, “You are so Dumb! … I neverdo anything right! … Your a loser!” We need to replace these negative messages with other, more positive ones. For example, “I’m new at this, I can learn. It’sgoing to be alright. That is how I learn. I will be better next time.” With awareness, over time, we can “catch ourselves” when our self-talk is negative, and change the message to something more positive and “ego-enhancing.”Don’t just “catch ourselves being Inappropriate.” “Catch ourselves being Appropriate.” In other words, don’t just catch the voice of your inner critic, and stopit from beating up on us. When we do something well, or when we find ourselvessaying the right things to ourselves or to others, be sure to reward ourselves:acknowledge yourself verbally, give yourself a pat on the back, or treat yourself to something special.Action StepsRecognize that the love has to come from you.