Choose to Love Yourself

Luke Palmer
Apr 22, 2016 · 3 min read

How we feel about ourselves is our choice. It is available right now, there is nothing that needs to be accomplished before it is possible.

I used to feel really bad about myself. I wouldn’t have said it that way at the time, but I felt that I was unattractive, that I had no work ethic, that I was a weird creep, that nobody really cared about me or what I had to say. And I validated those beliefs with my actions: I dressed like a slob, I quit things that required effort, I pushed people away, I oscillated between shy timidity and forcing things down people’s throats. I had my own stories for why I did these things: “I don’t care what people think” (this was just plain false), “This isn’t making me happy” (really I wasn’t making me happy), “I don’t really want to be friends with them.”

Through a lot of work personal work I, little by little, learned how to feel good about myself, and I learned a lot of other valuable skills along the way. But probably the biggest lesson of all that work: we deserve to feel good about who we are right now, and the way to do it is just to choose to.

Try it. Say “I am awesome!” “I am beautiful!” “I am attractive!” Listen to yourself deeply. Say it into a mirror (or your selfie cam). Notice how you are saying it. Is there sarcasm in your voice? Do you laugh immediately afterward to dispel the feelings it creates? Are you holding back some energy? This is your ego trying to stop you — the fact that these defenses are showing up shows how much power there is in these simple words. Play with it, see if you can lower your defenses to the feelings created by these words.

List what and who you care about out loud, and listen to yourself. Say what challenges in your life you have faced and are overcoming. Say what you want in your future. Then try some more: “I am beautiful.” “I am admirable.” “I am lovable.”

“I feel great about who I am.”

Really give yourself to it.

“I feel great about who I am.”

Notice what comes up. It’s not uncommon to have a thought or feeling like “but if I felt great about myself then I wouldn’t be motivated to …”. Again, this is your ego stopping you (and in so doing showing you how much power you have, because it needs to stop you). Your ego believes that you need to do or be something else in order to feel good. Your ego is attached to symbols: not until you’re famous enough, wealthy enough, giving enough.

What I learned, though, is that this is all bullshit. We learn this ego narrative from our culture, and “enough” never comes — as soon as we get the thing we were predicating our feeling good on, it moves to the next thing. Forever grasping, forever in misery.

We all deserve to feel good about ourselves right now. We are all leading amazing, complex, intertwined, incredible lives, and we are all doing our best and our best is so good. Do you want to be the kind of person who doesn’t allow themselves to feel good about who they are, like I was? It’s an incredibly sad thing.

To get past the resistance, just keep saying it. That’s all. Just choose it. Choose it no matter what the voices in your head say. Choose it no matter what bullshit reason your ego gives you not to. “I am awesome.” “I am a sexy beast.” “I am a success.” “I feel great about who I am.”

Luke Palmer

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Musician, improviser, emotional explorer