Self-love is something we all struggle with, especially as a woman. And so I speak to all women in this post because women are frikkin amazing and I am a bit of a feminist. Why is it that the one person we struggle to love fully is ourselves? Why do we find it hard to completely accept who we are and what we look like? Aren’t you sick and tired of being uncomfortable in your own skin? I want to be unapologetically me. Say it with me friends, UNAPOLOGETICALLY ME. For too long society has told me what I should look like, who I should aspire to be, how I should feel. It is time to strip away all of these unrealistic standards and start living according to my own. It is time to be free. FREEDOM!
Ok but now what?
I have been spending quite some time trying to figure out this whole self-love, self-acceptance thing. I have been watching and learning from women I see embodying this. I have read blogs, listened to podcasts and studied myself in an effort to own this and be this. I came up with a list of traits below.
A woman who is comfortable in her own skin:
- doesn’t make excuses for who she is.
- doesn’t rely on other people for a sense of self-worth.
- makes mistakes and learns from them.
- forgives herself.
- lives in the present.
- is grateful for all that she has.
- loves others because the love she feels within herself, overflows.
You see, we have to love ourselves. We have to start here in order to really love others. The cool thing is, when we start to truly love ourselves, people notice. They will see your light and then the love cycle begins. Airy-fairy you say? I don’t care. Unapologetically me.
Let’s start this journey here.
Imagine someone right now who you care deeply for. This doesn’t have to be a boyfriend or husband, this could be a close friend. Got that person in your mind? Now think about how you treat that person. How do you speak to that person? What do you say to that person when he/she is down? What do you do for that person? You probably speak words of love and affirmation. You probably encourage this person and give them hope. You are probably willing to help and spend time with this person. Well friends, this is exactly what we are going to start doing for ourselves. This is what self-love is all about. And when you start to love yourself by treating yourself with respect and forgiveness, you start to build trust and accept yourself for who you are. Step-by-step, let us nurture a respectful, kind and loving relationship with ourselves. Here is my guide to self-love:
Treat yourself with respect. Make sure that all your choices and decisions are ones that nurture respect for yourself. Do you need to get more sleep? Well, respect that need and give yourself more sleep. Perhaps you need to nourish your body with more of nature’s medicine (i.e. healthy food). Then start eating in a way that shows your body respect. Do you need to surround yourself with people who build you up and genuinely care for your well-being? Then respect yourself enough to connect with people who do just that. Perhaps you need to get your body moving more. Respect that need and get up and start moving! We need to start respecting all our needs – spiritual, emotional and physical.
When you start on this journey of respecting yourself, remember that it won’t always go smooth sailing. Things will go wrong every now and again because – life. You might give in to that whole slab of chocolate, or stay up way too late marathon watching Brooklyn Nine Nine (love that show). You might even skip a whole week of gym because yet again – life. And when this happens, don’t beat yourself up about it. The only thing that’s going to do is create a cycle of guilt and punishment which will lessen self-love. Forgive yourself for slipping up sometimes, use it to learn more about yourself and then encourage yourself to make great decisions in the future! After all, this is a journey friends. Self-love won’t happen overnight, it takes time like any relationship.
3. Be kind
We all have that still small voice, you know the one right? The one that speaks to us and prompts us and directs us. The one that tells us we should get some rest, or help that old lady carry her groceries, or speak to that woman who looks lonely. This is the voice that speaks of good things. But sometimes this still small voice gets over-ridden by the loud, deceitful voice. This is in the form of self-doubt, self-defeat and sometimes even self-loathing. Thoughts like, “you’re not good enough”, “no one takes you seriously”, “you’re not as pretty as she is”, “just give up now because you’ll never succeed”. Yip, we all struggle with this voice and these thoughts. The trick is to shut-the-Front-door of this debilitating, unproductive internal babble. Stop it in it’s tracks. Say NO even if it has to be out loud. REFUSE to believe what it says. Counter these thoughts with kind words to yourself. Like what you would say if a friend was saying this stuff to you about herself. Now I’m not saying we need to all turn into self-absorbed narcissists. There’s a difference between being self-absorbed/narcissistic and being kind to yourself. Every time a negative thought pops into your head, before you let it run a rampage in your mind, say something positive about yourself. Deny that thought, because it is not true. You are good enough, you are beautiful, you will be successful. Break that habit of negative thinking and you’ll start to believe these good things about yourself.
In a fast-paced world that is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with, taking the time to just be is even more crucial. We don’t give ourselves enough time or mental space to really listen and contemplate. We get sucked into this lifestyle that is often over-scheduled and under-nourished. How can we expect to really know ourselves and our needs if we’re not making enough time for this. Let’s slow things down a little. You can read this post to help you stress less. Weed out all the unnecessary time-fillers. Let go of relationships that are weighing you down. And now…breathe. Quiet your mind. Contemplate life and analyze your current situation. Are you happy? Are you satisfied? Are you fulfilled? Listen and be lead. Then you can start making choices that lead to a life of fulfillment and self-love. When you are eating, listen. Turn off the T.V., get off your cellphone and just listen. How does the food taste? How is your body responding? Are you full? When you’re running on the treadmill, how do you feel? What is your body telling you? Listen and respond. By engaging in this way with yourself, you’re allowing for self-awareness. And being more self-aware is a huge part of self-love.
5. Be you
After working on all these other areas, you will naturally start to be more comfortable with yourself. Allowing yourself to be you is the most freeing thing. It is hard work to try and be someone you’re not. A big part of being comfortable in your own skin is to find purpose. What is it that you want to achieve? What do you want to do with your life? Set yourself goals that will put you on the path to achieve these things. Live everyday with purpose and intention. INTENTIONALLY move closer to your goals. This might mean setting boundaries for yourself. Perhaps you need to change up your routine. There might be people in your life who are preventing you from reaching these goals. Or perhaps you are getting in the way of these goals. Make sure you are allowing yourself to be you and all you want to be. You do YOU friend!
I hope this guide was helpful and spoke to you in some way. I encourage you to take note of which part/s stirred you up and start there. And remember, this is a journey.
How are you being kind to yourself today?