There is an epidemic on the planet. It is an epidemic of self-loathing, unworthiness, and feeling as if we are never good enough. And it’s ludicrous and must stop now, before our future generations become riddled with it and pass it down to their children.

It is my belief that there is only ONE problem in the world today, or my preference is to call it a challenge, or an opportunity. It is that we don’t love ourselves. If this challenge was resolved, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, would be different. If we truly loved ourselves, we’d have more love to give. If we truly loved ourselves we’d never wish to inflict pain and hurt upon another, we’d carry no anger and pain within us and thus there’d be no need to release it, often at another’s expense. If we truly loved ourselves we’d not worry about what other people thought about us, because we’d have all that we needed. We’d let go of the need to prove ourselves, the need for validation, and the effort we put in to getting people to like us. When someone chose not to be with us, we’d not see it as rejection but thank them for the clarity, so that we can move forward and not stay stuck wondering if we can “make” it work. We’d know we are worthy and trust that everything is happening perfectly, all ways and always. We’d lose the need to be “people pleasers” realizing that the only one that needs to be pleased with ourselves, is us. We’d understand when others said no to our requests that they are simply following their truth and we would never take it personally. Love and compassion would be the rule. Heaven on Earth would be more than just a dream. My mission is to do what I can to make this dream a reality, one person at a time, starting with ME.

I’ve found some key steps that have assisted me in learning to embrace all of me and finally coming to a place of loving, respecting and honoring myself and all my perfectly human imperfections.

1. Look in the mirror and fall deeply in love with yourself!

Seeing yourself through the “soft eyes” of your heart, gaze deeply into your eyes – as if they were the eyes of your beloved – and let yourself be truly SEEN. List at least 5 things you love and appreciate about yourself and really let yourself FEEL the truth behind those acknowledgements. When your inner critic creeps in, thank it for trying to protect you and let it know that you no longer need its services, cancel and replace whatever it had to say, knowing that it’s not the truth. Do this every day, morning and night for a minimum of 5 minutes each time. Tell yourself “I LOVE YOU!” over and over.

2. Speak to yourself like you are someone you love, like your best friend or young child.

I’ve given my kids full permission to call me (and each other) on it when I slip up and speak to them in a way that hurts their feelings, by reminding me to “please speak to me like I’m someone you love.” When your inner critic pipes up, allow your “inner child” to remind you to “please speak to me like I’m someone you love.”

3. Surround yourself with positive, loving and supportive people as much as possible.

We cannot choose or biological family, but we can choose who we spend MOST of our time with. Jim Rohn says that “we are the average of the five people we spend most of our time with.” Choose wisely.

4. Do what you love.

Make a list of the things that make your heart sing. What truly brings you joy? Do something you LOVE every day. Listening to upbeat music, dancing, singing, drawing, painting, cooking, playing an instrument, reading, writing, bubble baths, drinking latte’s – pick one and enjoy it to the fullest! Be mindful; feel, hear, taste, touch and appreciate every moment as you do this.

5. Nurture yourself!

Developing healthy habits is such a key step in feeling better about yourself. Adopt some form of regular exercise, eat healthy foods, get enough rest and really look after that vessel that you reside in!

6. Become the person you wish to attract!

Instead of criticizing or making excuses for yourself and the person you are with, list the characteristics that you truly admire in others and that you want to have in a relationship. Strive to develop those very same characteristics in yourself. If you wish to attract a “10” – you’ll need to become a “10”! There aren’t too many 10’s out there looking to get in a relationship with someone who only sees themselves as a “6”. Set goals and surrender the outcome. Gently work toward what you wish to Do, Have and Be.

7. Be MINDFUL of what you are focusing on.

We really are powerful manifestors, whether we know it or not, our thoughts, words and actions are attracting and creating our reality. What we think about comes about and when we are focusing on everything that is wrong with are lives or on what we don’t have…we get more of the same. Focus on what you DO want, on the beauty in everything and especially on GRATITUDE and you will get more to be grateful for!

8. Be the Source of that which you wish to receive.

Be the source of Love, Joy and Acknowledgment in other people’s lives. When you are the source of something good in the lives of others, you will be provided with more good so that you can continue to give it. This is why service is so important. Perform regular random acts of kindness and find people to give that which you wish to receive more of. When you help someone else to feel joy, you cannot help but raise your vibration as well.

9. Express your authentic self and stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone has their own unique gifts and talents and we are all important pieces in the grand puzzle of Heaven on Earth. Find and share your gifts with others and encourage others to do the same. No one is better or worse than anyone else. Just be and express who you are in the world.

10. Trust yourself – learn to listen to the calling of your heart and to your inner guidance system. Let go of the fear of screwing up and act upon your intuition. One of the ways we sabotage is by refusing to make a decision for fear that it may be the “wrong” one. We stay in confusion as a form of resistance and it gives us an excuse to stay stuck (in our comfort zone). It’s impossible to make a mistake; if you discover that you are moving in the wrong direction just “course correct” and keep on going. Every path leads us “home”, eventually!

The ONLY way to learn to trust ourselves, is to practice trusting ourselves!

11. Practice Receiving LOVE – when someone gives you a gift, offers to help or compliments you, Accept it! Express gratitude with a simple “thank you” and really let yourself be filled up with the love that is being offered. Do not take away from the “gift of giving” that is being offered, by deflecting or refusing it.

12. Forgive yourself and others. Forgiveness is not about saying that what a person did is okay, it is about freeing yourself. Be grateful for the learning, release it, and move forward. Practice Ho’oponopono.

13. Keep a Journal – write about your experiences, good and bad – Acknowledge your feelings and validate yourself. Let it flow and then you can let it go.