Self love. Everyone talks about it, but not nearly enough people practice it, and that’s just a shame. Self love is positive and everyone knows that positive energy and good vibes are more likely to bring more health and more happiness to anyone’s life.
That being said, the road to self love can be a long and hard one for many. I know for myself – a female who has often felt like she has had to conform to the ideals of what society deems to be “perfect” in a woman – it has not only not been easy, but sometimes even felt impossible or (gasp) unattainable.
First things first, if you can identify with feeling this way or remember what it has felt like, you know it’s just a stinkin’ shame. This can lead to a bevvy of issues, ranging from low self esteem to even depression. We’re here to tell you it’s all an illusion. This idea that you will “never be good enough” is a farce, and there are plenty of steps you can take to make changes in your life. You will be amazed by just how much better, healthier, and at peace you can feel by just changing the way you think about yourself.
1. Self Affirmations & Positive Self Talk
Alright, you might be thinking to yourself that this is totally cheesy, and you have heard this one a million times before. I won’t prescribe you a methodology behind how to do this, but will say that instead of bashing yourself every time you look in the mirror, telling yourself you are awesome and beautiful is a whole lot more productive than letting negativity ruin your day. I won’t lie and say that this is easy at first. In the beginning it will definitely be hard to believe it, especially if you’ve struggled with self love in the past, but as they say, “With Practice Comes Perfect.” Not only can you practice positive self talk in the mornings while looking in the mirror, but also when you’re in the gym working out (You’re a beast and you know it!) or when you’re getting ready for a presentation (You’ll crush it!). Instead of being doubtful, just fake it till ya make it. Soon you’ll start believing it (as you should)!
Also, stop talking badly about yourself when comparing yourself to others. You are not better than anyone and no one is better than you.
2. Eating Well, Enough, and Without Restrictions
Eating is such a funny thing. On second thought, wait no, it isn’t and it shouldn’t be. If you have let the way you feel about your body rule your eating habits instead of your internal cues, you are doing it wrong. Eat when you are hungry. Drink when you’re thirsty. If you feel like you could gorge down a cake in one sitting however, make sure to be mindful (which we will get to later). Are you really hungry? Or just feeling emotional? That being said, if you want to eat cake, eat cake! Just don’t feel guilty after! Stop counting calories, going on dangerous diets, or fretting about what you’re eating. Food is transformed into energy you need to survive. It shouldn’t feel like the focal point of your life. Don’t let it control you. You’re the boss!
3. Exercising for as Little or As Much As You Want
Not only should eating not be the focal point of your life, but working out shouldn’t be either unless that’s the way you want it to be. If you exercise everyday and feel amazing about it and need it to feel energized and positive, that’s awesome! If you only feel like exercising 2-3 times a week at most, that’s also great! What I always say is that you should “exercise because you love yourself, not because you hate yourself.” The second the gym becomes punishment the easier falling off this proverbial “wagon” will be. News flash, the wagon only exists in your head. There is no wagon. Stop letting people on the Internets tell you that if you don’t workout SEVEN DAYS A WEEK you are a failure.
4. Maintaining Balance With Work & Hobbies
It’s a fact of life that sometimes you’ll feel overworked and over-stressed. However, if you find that this has been a continuous theme in your life and you are not happy about it, know your self-worth enough to set boundaries and take care of yourself. If you continue to ignore what your body and mind are telling you, that means you are continuing to do yourself a disservice and that is not what self love is all about!
5. Taking Risks (Because You Know Whatever You Do, You’ll Rock At It)
Oftentimes, people forgo taking risks – even if they know it might be life changing for the better – because they fear they will fail. Why apply for this job when I’m not qualified enough? Why go on this date when I’m not “good” enough? All these things signify self deprecation. If you take risks it means that whatever happens and whatever you do, you’ll be confident with yourself and the outcome.
6. Not Feeling Guilt (About Anything)
This can be thought of as being a little “selfish”, but we think there is absolutely nothing wrong with that once in a while. If you can’t make it out to see your friend at 10:30 pm on a Wednesday night, then it is what it is. Being a people pleaser 24/7 will burn you out, take time for you and know how precious your time, your health, and well-being really are. It shouldn’t be “me, me, me” all the time, but it sometimes can be…
Check in with yourself now and again. Whether its a couple times a day, when you wake up, go to sleep, or are feeling really strong emotions, make sure you check in with how you are really feeling and not attempt to brush it off. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that trying to suppress an emotion will only lead to it bubbling up in the future in, perhaps, more perturbing ways. As mentioned earlier, sometimes the idea of binging on junk is only a coping mechanism for other feelings whether it’s loneliness, sadness, or just plain ol’ boredom. Similarly, if you can identify that you are sad, be brave enough to accept that as a viable emotion that does not in any way signify weakness. Just take steps and do things that will make you feel better, whether that’s meditation, going for a stroll outdoors, reading, or going out with your friends.
8. Seek Help When You Need It (Because You’re Worth It)
Sometimes the number one way we decide not to show self-love is by not asking for help when we need it. Whether it’s help at work or asking for a shoulder to cry on, sometimes it’s easy to feel like our problems are not worth somebody else’s time. This is false! You are worth everyone’s time, and if someone is not giving that to you, they are not worth yours.
For more Head & Heart, check out our articles here.
How do you practice self love?