Loving yourself sounds easy right? It sounds like something that would come rather instinctively. From my experience, that has not been the case. Loving yourself takes time, effort, and a lot of commitment working towards having a positive outlook on yourself (inside and out) and life. I’m going to be completely real here, the past version of me has been extremely hard on myself in all aspects of life; looks, talent, financial stance. I’ve beaten myself up over every flaw. To be truthful, this is not a fun life to live. It’s stressful and draining to compete with yourself every waking moment of the day.
Over the past couple years, I have put in a lot of work trying to free myself from this way of thinking. I am not going to lie it’s not always easy and I still have days when life gets real and I’m in a battle with my mind, but the time I stay in that battle has significantly decreased. I’m not an expert on self-love and I have not perfected it (what is perfection anyways?). I am just a 28-year-old girl who wants to help others as much as she can from freeing themselves from this harmful negative way of thinking.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Easier said than done, but the first step to loving yourself is to stop with the comparisons.
- Everyone is made differently
Each person is made to be different. You will never look exactly like someone else and you’ll never be someone else. We all have different genes and come from different backgrounds. It is not fair to hold expectations of yourself that you physically cannot meet.
- Comparing bodies and success
Comparing extends further than just appearance. Growing up as a female I feel like I can speak for some of us and say that it is fucking brutal to be a female (Guys also, but I’ve only experienced life as a female so I am speaking from what I am familiar with). Every ad on tv, every commercial on the radio, and every billboard you drive past has some type of expectation as to how women are supposed to dress, walk and talk. It’s a lot of pressure put onto us. Also, not just comparing bodies but a lot of us compare ourselves to the amount of success others have. Stop listening to these ads and stop focusing on what everyone else is doing. Focus on you!
- Comparing yourself to the past version of yourself
You are here in the now. You are not meant to be anywhere else. Some how you got to where you are and that is just how it is. The past is meant to stay in the past. Focus on the now. You may be upset with yourself because you once made more money than you do now, or you once had thinner legs, that was than and this is now. You are only doing harm if you focus on how life was way back when. If you are unhappy with how you see yourself now, then make a productive plan to change it!
Change what you can, Forget what you can’t
Why torture yourself to be something or someone that you will never be. Make changes when you are unhappy but don’t try to be a certain something or someone for the hopes of thinking that it will make you happy.
- Set realistic goals
It’s not a crime to dislike something about yourself, but please be realistic about it. If you are trying to lose weight, setting a goal to be down 20lbs in a month is not entirely realistic or healthy. Here is an example of a productive way to reach a goal; Example – Your goal is to have a bigger savings account. Map out a plan on how to make that happen. One way to go about this would be to get a journal and write down how much you want saved and by when. Next step would be to brain storm on ways to reach that goal (cutting off cable, shopping second hand, getting a second job, etc.). Third step, start actively adapting those changes into your life.
- Be patient with yourself.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. Always strive to be better, but remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Allow yourself the time to grow and enjoy the time that it takes.
Those quirks that drive you nuts are the ones that make you, you. Your flaws don’t have to define who you are, but they are a part of you. It’s unproductive to stress over them, instead brace those flaws.
- Our flaws are what make us
Sometimes the parts of us that we hate the most are what makes us. Something as minor as hating the wrinkles between your eyes can have a negative effect on how your day will turn out. Turn that negative into a positive and move on with your day, such as realizing that you’ve put in your time here on Earth earning every wrinkle across your face. Be proud of how you accomplished getting those.
- Make changes where possible
If you have a flaw that drives you completely bonkers and you can change it than do it. Do what makes you happy. For example, if you hate how big your forehead is and you are that self-conscious about it a positive change would be something like getting a hair cut that brings out other features of your face. I do think we should all be happy with our bodies the way that they are but sometimes minor changes for a self confidence boost is appropriate.
Surround yourself with positivity
Surrounding yourself with positive people and a positive environment will change your life for the better. There’s no room in your world for negativity. This is your life and you deserve to be happy.
- Do things that bring you joy
Go to your favorite restaurant, find a hobby that you love, take your dog for a walk, spend time with family and friends. Do whatever it is that brings joy into your life.
- Hangout with positive people
Surround yourself with positive people, people who have goals and aspirations. Do not be afraid to cut out a certain someone in your life because of fear of how they will take it. Unfortunately, we all have had a person in our life that did nothing but bring us down. You do not need those types of people. Cut out that negative Nancy and start finding other like-minded individuals. This is easier said than done but this is the age of the internet, there are all sort of meetups and Facebook groups for you to join!
- Social media detox
That’s right, a social media detox is sometimes needed. Only follow accounts that serve you. If your following someone that you’re constantly comparing yourself to or that is always making you upset, unfollow them!
- Read material that helps you grow (like this blog post!)
I’ll share a personal experience with you. I am not a political person, two years ago I could have cared less about politics. With the most recent election I found myself waking up and reading the first news article that popped up before even getting out of bed. I started to find myself getting upset and angry which led to my day starting off on a bad note. I decided it would be in my best interest to stop reading the news and instead pick up something a bit more fulfilling or educational.
Make healthy choices
For me, health is what matters most in life. If you are not healthy you are certainly not going to be happy.
- Go vegan, eat healthy!
That’s right, I said it! Go vegan, or at least try to incorporate more vegan meals into your week. After going vegan, my mood and mindset did a complete 180. I no longer felt lethargic, my digestion improved, my skin cleared, my thoughts changed (for the better). I did a lot of growing and improving, honestly, I can say proudly that veganism had a lot to do with it.
- Get active!
Exercise releases endorphins, which are the feel-good chemicals your brain releases after an intense workout. You don’t have to be a marathon running or a body builder to exercise and it certainly doesn’t have to feel like torture. Do something that you enjoy. That could be a bike ride, a walk with your dog, kayaking, going on a hike through a nature park with a friend. It doesn’t matter, what matters is that you get out and move.
- Treat yourself!
You’ve worked hard to get to where you are in life. Slow down and take some time to enjoy life. Don’t feel guilty for treating yourself to a movie, at home spa day, or whatever it is that you wish. You are worth taking the extra time to treat yourself, so give in to some self-care.