I am a love bug. I have no problems telling the world about all the things I love…repeatedly! I tell my family and friends how much I love them daily. I have lots of food, fruit, vegetables and meals that I love. I am the annoying one in the car that screams “I LOVE THIS SONG”… to every single song.
So why is it when I come to myself I get tongue tied? It’s like a first date. My eyes hit the floor. I shift from foot to foot. I get coy.
And a lot of people I know seem to be struck by the same affliction. I have deducted that this is down to two things; either we are embarrassed at the thought of loving ourselves or we truly don’t. Both of those are wrong.
Self-love is not being selfish.
It is about being kind to yourself. Allowing yourself rest. Turning your inner monologue into a cheer squad instead of a lynch mob. Most importantly, self-love is vital.
So if you aren’t already, it’s time to get on the self-love train with me…
Talk to Yourself as You Would to a Friend
As mentioned in an earlier blog post Don’t Give Up (https://thegirlwhowrites4.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/dont-give-up/) I mentioned how I am a productive person who extracts a great deal of personal self-worth and self-love based on the progress of my to-do list and being able to go to work. A method to help boost my self-love and self-worth in these situations is to pretend it is a friend going through a sticky patch or that is feeling discouraged and think of the advice I would give them and internalise it.
If someone gives you a compliment smile broadly and say Thank You. Do not make excuses, justifications accept the compliment; it may not come naturally but try it and see the difference,
Be Less Critical of Yourself
So many of us are so quick to talk down about ourselves and look at our flaws first that it’s hard to be positive. It is a habit that lots of us have including myself, but it can be pretty detrimental, as we can’t really expect other people to warm to us if we can’t warm to ourselves! Finding a way to praise ourselves for the things we are good at brings a more positive focus to the way we think about ourselves. I’m not trying to instill arrogance here, just a little self worth and confidence. We should focus on the good bits about us first and see our flaws as things to work on, rather that unchangeable negatives. Allow other people to see the great things about you and take compliments graciously, accept that it is OK for people to say nice things about you!
Stop Pointing out what is wrong
Make a concerted effort to only point out the positives – even if you don’t feel like it. Brainwashed positivity is more contagious than the flu and has an amazing ability for changing your perspective.
Take a Step Towards your Dreams (even if it’s a small one!)
You owe yourself your dreams, so if you are living a life where you are constantly standing still admiring them you are not going to feel very fulfilled at all. So, whatever your dream take a step towards it – no matter how small! For example; want to feel healthier? Have a meat free meal one day a week. You fantasise about living in a different country? Stick a photo of a land mark from that country on your computer at work. It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic… just a little love note to the universe telling it that you are ready for what it’s got to throw at you, something to keep you going.
Take a Step Away from Social Media
It is unrealistic to think of life without social media… it’s here. And thank god because otherwise you would not be reading this now! But sometimes it can be so intense and at times overwhelming. So – starting today – do something to reduce your usage. Make a rule that you do not check it first thing in the morning. Give yourself allocated social media times – once in the morning, midday and afternoon. Never consume more than one media at once (I.e. watching TV while tweeting; cruising instagram while on the phone etc).
Random Acts of Kindness
If you are low on love for yourself logic would have it that you need to keep as much as you can for yourself – Hoarding your happiness. However, I have found that as low as you feel if you can muster the energy to do something for someone else it magically makes you feel better. This quote really sticks with me – “Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness, and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again” Og Mandino.
Allot yourself a specific time once a week where you pamper yourself! Turn off your phone and do exactly what it is that makes you feel fabulous. If that is going to the gym, going for a run, lighting your candles, reading a book, chillaxing in the bath for 2 hours, baking, cooking or going for a walk then go for it!
People around You Play a Part in Your Self-Love
Surrounding yourself with people that bring out the best in you is so important because positivity is contagious. People that understand your value are worth so much more than those that bring you down and you really can choose who to spend your time with. If you don’t want to go to that party and would rather hang out with someone else, or yourself for that matter, then that really is OK and anyone that questions doesn’t deserve your energy.
Commit to expressing yourself without judgement. Run, cook, read, dance, sit under a tree alone, sing – do whatever it is that make you feel 100% authentically you. Do not judge yourself on it (i.e. “I’m not a very good singer”) just let your body and mind move however it feels right.
Unleash Your Inner 12 Year Old
Go into a room by yourself. Put your favourite song on. Now dramatically mime it. Dance! I have never managed to do this without feeling better afterwards. Laugh at yourself. Don’t take life too seriously. You can even bring a friend on it too.
It takes time. It takes work. It takes a lot of willpower to wade through every feeling of self-loathing and low self-esteem to come out the other side totally, hopelessly in love with yourself. But you can. And you MUST. Not for anyone else. But for yourself.
I dare you to join me this week and challenge yourself to love you! Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments.
Oscar Wilde once said that “to love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” And he was right. Technically, you’re the only one who’s definitely going to be with you for the rest of your life. So why choose to be unhappy when you can choose to love yourself? Stop running. Look inwards. Dig up all the self-hate. Turn it all into love.
You will be happy.