I’ve never been overly fond of myself to be honest. I couldn’t tell you how other people perceive me; I’ve never been bold enough to ask! But from my perspective, I’ve always lacked something and therefore been a bit slack on the ‘Self Love’ front.
Throughout my life that something has often shifted or changed depending on the situation. Sometimes I’ve disliked my body, my face, the way I speak. Criticised myself for not being funny enough or clever enough.
“But you’re so confident!” I hear you say. And yes, I do have self-confidence. But thats the mistake people often make. Confusing Self Love with other attributes we display.
Have you ever felt disappointed in yourself? Perhaps you put on a few pounds, failed that exam you’d be working really hard for or just felt, well, a bit worthless. It’s this unhealthy judgement that indicates you’re in need for a prescription: a prescription for Self Love. (I know, cringe! but stay with me)
You see, there are some pretty epic benefits to self love. Less anxiety & depression. Being more optimistic. Healthy and hopefully happier too!
Vex King’s Book, Good Vibes, Good Life answers all the questions I’ll be talking about briefly. I highly recommend this as a step on your Self Love journey. Honest, insightful and personal, you’ll be flowing with positivity after finishing it!
WHAT DOES SELF LOVE ACTUALLY MEAN?
It’s a tricky one isn’t it? You’d think it should be the easiest thing in the world to explain but love generally is multi-layered, taking on all different shapes and forms.
The love you have for your children is different to the love you have for your partner, your friends, your job. But there’s one thing, generally speaking, that they all have in common.
You don’t judge them. You don’t punish them. If they make a mistake you console them, praise the good that they’ve been doing and encourage them to try again. Compassion.
“Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness, concern, and support you’d show to a good friend. When faced with difficult life struggles, or confronting personal mistakes, failures, and inadequacies, self-compassion responds with kindness rather than harsh self-judgment, recognizing that imperfection is part of the shared human experience.” (Neff & Dahm, 2015)
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF & BE KIND
Changing your mindset after a lifetime of self doubt and a dash of loathing isn’t an easy task.
But with a bit of belief and a guiding hand, you can get to a place where Self Love is as easy as waking up in the morning.
The first step is becoming aware of The Inner Voice; you know the little devil who sits on your should while you look in the mirror, frustrated by your body.
The voice who tells you you’re not good enough for that promotion or creative enough to start your own business.
You are not alone.
We all have one. It’s completely normal. However, to improve your mental health and give your self loving a boot up the backside, its vital we become mindful of when – and why – our inner voices pop up.
You don’t have to change the record straight away, but start by listening to what your inner voice is saying, and when.
When Does Your Inner Voice Speak?
- When you look in the mirror
- After you ‘cheated’ your diet
- When you make mistakes
- When you feel ‘lazy’
- When you’re mean
These are just a few examples, but do you know when your inner voice comes out the most?
Self-love, self-respect, self-worth: There’s a reason they all start with ‘self.’ You can’t find them in anyone else.Unknown
Mindfulness is your power. When we pay attention to that critic – the how, why and when – we are better equip to challenge that voice.
I talked a bit in a previous post, Self Care for Beginners, about how we should compliment ourselves more. That when we think negetively, take control by recognising that thought and countering it with a positive.
EVERYBODY MESSES UP SOMETIMES
I want you to repeat this mantra to yourself the next to you make a mistake, or feel disappointed in yourself.
I have made ALOT of mistakes in my life and I’m still on my own journey to forgiving myself for them. But forgiveness of yourself, the same as you forgive others, is vital on the road to Self Love.
We are always learning, growing; making mistakes is part of that. Instead of beating yourself up, think about what you could do differently and what you did well.
Be Proud of your successes, no matter what they are!
As well as focusing more on your successes, no matter how small, it’s important to take a step back from comparing yourself to others. It happens a lot now, in part due to social media.
Everything is a lot more accessible, but things are also easily angled to portray a certain image. Filters, airbrushing, spending hours ‘staging’ the right picture in the right light.
Take all of this with a pinch of salt. Look at it as you would a film or magazine.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE YOU LOVE
The saying goes that misery loves company; if you’re struggling with self love, you most likely have some negative people in your life. I’ve been there. I’ve built numerous unhealthy relationships in the past, convinced they were what I needed to be happy or that I could fix what was wrong.
Stop. Take a breath & let go.
It’s ok to let people go in your life, and it’s good for you too. However, just because you’re turning a page doesn’t mean there has to be negativity associated with it.
Vex King shares insightfully that ‘Not Every end has to be the start of a feud. We can retire roles without creating enemies’.
This was a mind-blowing insight for me, the moment I realised I didn’t have to hate an ex just because we’d broken up.
I didn’t have to envy a co-worker because they’d got a promotion over me. Make peace with it and move forward.
MAKE YOURSELF THE PRIORITY
SELF CARE. It isn’t a selfish thing to do. It’s a necessity. Have you ever noticed that when you’re tired, overwhelmed or run down, you have less patience for those around you? I snap more when I’m tired. I get less done and take it out on those around me. Taking care of your basic needs will allow you to love yourself more, be more mindful and be a better mother, friend & partner.
If you’re not sure how to practice self care, have a look at my post 63 Self Care Ideas To Get you started. It should hopefully give you some inspiration.
INTENTIONAL LIVING LEADS TO SELF LOVE & COMPASSION
There are so many positives to take away from this!
You don’t have to know what you’re doing, or where your life is heading. It’s ok to be confused by where the future may lead.
But acting with the intention of living a fulfilling, happy life will better aid you in making positive decisions; therefore, with each success you’ll feel more positive about yourself. Life will improve, and so the circle continues.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on your own self love journey! Struggles you face. Any top tips you’ve found have worked for you? Let me know in the comments!