So, who really is the most important person in your life? Who is the person that holds the key to your happiness? Who is the person that can unlock your potential and take you to the success you want in life? Who is the person responsible for the state of your relationships? Who is the person to lead you to optimal wellbeing and joyful longevity? Whoever you choose, as you answered each of those questions, you had better love that person unconditionally, because you don’t want to lose them, right?

For the question about happiness, did you answer with your pet, your partner, your parents or politicians? Wrong, it’s you. For the question about unlocking potential, did you answer with your boss, your coach, Tony Robbins or God? Wrong again, it’s you. For the question about relationships, did you answer with your partner, your parents, Oprah Winfrey or Cupid? Wrong again, it’s you. For the question about optimal wellbeing, did you answer with your personal trainer, your gym owner, Arnie or the person who makes the muscle bulking meal replacement? Wrong again, it’s you.

You already knew that, didn’t you? That being the case, if you are the person who is 100% responsible for the happiness, success, relationships and wellbeing you experience today and every day, then would you agree, you should be nicer to that person? With your consent I would like to ask a couple of tough questions. As you are still reading, I am assuming you have consented. Question one; how do you really feel about yourself? Question two; how is that working for you? Please, for the sake of your life, answer them to yourself honestly.

For much of my life, I didn’t think much of myself and consequently I strived to achieve in certain areas because I thought external success would help that self-love develop. I was skinny, I was shy and I was insecure as a child, and I believed that success as a professional athlete would help me love myself. It didn’t. As a personal trainer, I believed having an incredible body would lead me to self-appreciation. It didn’t. I thought the respect from others that came with being a published author would be followed by self-respect. It didn’t.

Even after many of the things I had aspired to and achieved, I still was left feeling sad, lonely and unfulfilled. Why is that? Simple; love, happiness, wellbeing and fulfillment are an inside job. I needed to change the paradigm I held about myself as no amount of money, achievement, recognition, success or status could compensate for a lack of self-love. After many years of self-loathing, I stopped and started exploring who I really was, at the core of my being, and I actually liked what I found. I discovered someone who had amazing potential. I discovered someone with a heart for other people. I discovered someone with a purpose to make a difference in the world. I discovered someone with a strong vision and large capacity. I discovered someone who was gloriously imperfect. I discovered someone who, whilst flawed and had made poor choices in his life, was committed to learning from experiences to grow personally and to help others. Ultimately, I discovered a pretty cool person underneath the outer casing.

As I started to like myself, I found more peace in my life. As my regard for myself grew, I found the answers to things I had been struggling with my whole life. In the process of being more embracing of myself, my abilities, my potential and even my flaws, I have got to the place I can honestly tell you that, right now, I love me. Wow, what a difference it makes, in everything! I am healthier, happier and more energised. I am clearer on my purpose than ever before. I am more courageous and less worried about other people’s opinions. I am attracting more great people and opportunities into my life. I feel settled within myself and not needing to chase external recognition and validation.

Are you ready to fall in love with yourself? I hope so, because nothing great will happen in your life until you do. As a great mentor of mine once said, you can’t hate yourself into a better life. Can I suggest you start today to change your paradigm and discover the things about yourself you like, you are proud of, you are good at, and the things you are aspiring to and striving to improve. You are pretty amazing, right? This week’s podcast, Shift your paradigm, change your life, by Alaina Schwartz will help enormously.  It is my hope that one word, one compliment, one self-recognition and one day at a time you will get to the point you can say… I love me!