Six Steps to Self Love

I’ve been talking about self love a lot lately. I know, I know, you’re like “That’s so woo woo” or “Who has time?” or, “Really? Self love? What does that have to do with anything? I need actionable steps to make my life better NOW!” Well, thanks for the pushback, but I’m serious, self-love is where it’s at. Trust me. Self love helps you:

  • get things done. 
  • feel better. 
  • role model for your kids or your partner, and
  • it’s how to actually ENJOY LIFE.

Why is self love all of these things? Because – as I am fond of saying – “When you leave a room, you’re still with you. Wouldn’t it be so much better if you liked, or even LOVED being with yourself?!” 

Unfortunately, many twice exceptional people internalize negative messaging from a young age. “You’re too…” “You’re not enough…” “Stop doing that!” “Start doing more of this!” “Why can you do this, but you can’t do that?” “Why can’t you be more like your sibling, your friend, or literally any other neurotypical human on the planet?!” Or, at least it feels that way.

We forget how to love ourselves because we receive constant reminders of all the things we are not or we should be. 

The irony is, many 2e people come into the world with a beautiful naivete and joie de vie. There’s a rage to learn and a deep desire to connect. But it doesn’t take long for our authentic selves to feel battered, embittered, and alienated. Expectations are too high or too low. Assumptions run rampant and aren’t tied to anything anyone has asked us about – so we react to behaviors that are in response to ways we are perceived rather than our actual reality. 

And the negative self talk starts.

So much time is spent trying to be something different and we fail to be what we think others want us to be AND we fail to be our organic selves. We lose the innocent and wide-eyed excitement over life. If we lose ourselves, we can’t love ourselves. Here are six steps to help you remember and love who you are:

  1. Identify your morals.

You have them. I know you do. 2e people care about the world. What matters to you? Tap into that. Doesn’t that feel good? Now you are starting to remember who you are by remembering what is important to you. This moral inventory helps you stay true to yourself. It’s through our morals, that we identify things we care about. It’s through our values that we identify and strive toward meaningful goals. 

  1. Start listening to yourself.

Now that you remember what is important to you – it’s easier to allow yourself to listen to, and honor your internal thoughts. You may have spent years masking, but now that you are orienting toward what is meaningful to you, hopefully you’ll start allowing your voice to be heard inside your head – and the messages you’ll hear will be empowering rather than embittering. Your voice is valid. Your thoughts are important. You matter. You are worthy. Trust yourself through this new awakening and recognition of your values and goals. 

  1. Remember your accomplishments.

Twice exceptional people are champions of waving off their achievements. They figure, “eh, anyone can do these things.” No, they can’t! You are unique, and your abilities far surpass most people’s. Maybe your superpowers aren’t in all areas, but your unique superpowers are INCREDIBLE! On top of it all, no doubt you work hard, and your goals are laudable. What have you done in your lifetime academically, philanthropically, and for others? Whether you succeeded or just tried really, really, hard your efforts should be recognized.

  1. Appreciate perspective.

If you are having a hard time with these first four steps – maybe you need to adjust your perspective. Do you realize how different your outlook is compared to others? Do you realize the expectations you set for yourself are likely higher than expectations others set for themselves? Can you start to understand that the lens you look through at almost anything is different than how most people perceive experiences and interactions?

That’s okay! Others aren’t bad or worse or better than you, just different. This means you might need to adjust your communication style to help others understand you and for you to better understand others. Going into conversations and situations giving the benefit of the doubt allows you to show up authentically and not defensively.

  1. Strengthen your positive self-talk muscles.

Giving the benefit of the doubt to others is really important for successful communication – giving yourself the benefit of the doubt is necessary for self-love. You don’t mean to misunderstand, misperceive, or cause confusion. You are sensitive, you are empathic, you do notice more detail than others. These are all assets to who you are. It’s only when we get into our own way – when we judge and shame ourselves, that our differences become liabilities. If you don’t see the gorgeousness that is your organic you, how can you expect others to?

  1. Initiate a simple gratitude practice.

The five steps listed above should help lead you toward gratitude. When we stop having a “glass half empty” attitude, when we even our scales to include positives and strengths, then we can start to recognize our worthiness and the worthiness of others. Take time once a day to think of just one thing you feel grateful for.

Say it out loud, in your head, or if you can – write it down in a special journal. This way you can look back and see the things you felt gratitude for on days when you find it hard to find gratitude. Your practice can recognize simple things like the first flower of spring, your favorite food, a kind gesture from someone, or better yet, something special you recognize within yourself.

Practicing these six steps leads you toward self-love. Knowing you are worthy, adjusting your outlook, and finding ways to be gentle and kind to yourself – these are qualities we want in friends, so why wouldn’t we expect these same things from ourselves toward ourselves? Become your best friend. Be the one you can lean on – to pick you up when you feel down or anxious. Tell yourself all the things you appreciate about you. 

Julie F. Skolnick M.A., J.D.
Author: Julie F. Skolnick M.A., J.D.

Julie Skolnick, M.A., J.D., is the Founder of With Understanding Comes Calm, LLC, through which she passionately guides parents of gifted and distractible children, mentors 2e adults, and collaborates with and advises educators and professionals on bringing out the best and raising self-confidence in their students and clients.

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Julie F. Skolnick M.A., J.D.

Julie F. Skolnick M.A., J.D.

Julie Skolnick, M.A., J.D., is the Founder of With Understanding Comes Calm, LLC, through which she passionately guides parents of gifted and distractible children, mentors 2e adults, and collaborates with and advises educators and professionals on bringing out the best and raising self-confidence in their students and clients.

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