Can you remember the last time you said something positive about yourself?
Probably not right... But surely you remember the last time you made a mistake, called yourself something negative, or when you didn't quite measure up to a task. It's okay, having a "self-hate" mindset is not completely your fault, but it is an unhealthy mindset for your health- so combating these thoughts is very important for your overall wellness!
Don't feel like you're the only one who thinks negatively about themselves. We all possess that inner critical voice that's quick to point out our flaws and highlights our mistakes. According to PsychAlive though, the most common kind of self-critical thought is thinking you're different from other people- and not in a positive, "I'm special," kind of way. It's easy to see why though; we're surrounded by "perfect" people on social media. You know, those people who have really toned bodies, are always traveling, and seem to have everything under control. Once we compare ourselves to them and note all the differences, it's easy to get into a self-hate state of mind. "I'm not as fit as her," or, "I'm not as successful as him," are some of the negative phrases that start to flood our minds. These thoughts affect our attitudes though, which then affect our behavior, which consequently affect our life! These negative thoughts about ourselves can instill anxiety and make us feel stressed out. And in the worst case scenario even lead to depression.
With that said, self-love is vital to living well. It affects how you portray yourself to others, it plays a role when choosing a partner, and influences how you deal with problems in life. In fact, if you remember learning about Maslow's theory on the hierarchy of needs in your psych class, then you'll know self-esteem is a basic need that needs to be fulfilled before you reach self-actualization. But first, you need to accept yourself internally in order to build a good self-esteem. One you appreciate yourself through positive thoughts and actions, you're on a straight pathway to personal growth.
The thing is, you can't gain self-love from anywhere other than, well yourself. It's not something you'll gain at a yoga retreat or from any personal relationship. It won't happen after getting a new makeover or after reaching your dream body goals either…
Fear not my friend, for I have 5 simple steps that will get you to loving yourself the way you need to! Just remember, self-love is not a feeling. It's a daily practice, meaning you'll have to find a way to implement any of the below every single day.
Celebrate your achievements. We're often quick to judge our downfalls, which can lead to a constant self-punishing attitude. Instead of emphasizing our failures, we should highlight our achievements. Big or small, be proud of your accomplishments! Did you make a mistake? Was there a lesson learned? Then celebrate your personal growth and how you're a better person because of it. Find all the little ways you can be proud of yourself; how well you handled a situation at work, how lovely you styled your hair today, how you made someone else smile, how you were able to come through with a favor… there are so many reasons!
Become more mindful. You'll be better able to love yourself if you can first detect the negative thoughts that are preventing you from fostering this love for yourself. Be more mindful of your thoughts, your feelings, and the things you want in life. Don't let others' wants direct your life. Sometimes we seek to please others that we forget to do things that bring pleasure into our own life. Live your life in a way that reflects your beliefs and the things that YOU value.
Stop comparing yourself. It’s hard, I know. Almost impossible. There will always be someone out there who is more talented, more intelligent, and with greater achievements. But we have to understand that we are all in different stages of our lives, and we all have different pathways to achieving our purpose in life. Plus, we have to be realistic about the people we see on social media, even our friends who seem to have achieved way more than us after college. Know that people generally post the best part of their lives and not pictures of how they're struggling to find a job… The only thing we all have in common is that we are all unique, so embrace your uniqueness because it's what makes you YOU.
Build healthy relationships. When we surround ourselves with people who are supportive, positive and encouraging, it makes it a lot easier to love ourselves. Those friends that make you feel good about yourself, can look past your flaws, and help you become a better person, try to keep those around for as long as possible. With that being said, end any toxic relationship you may have. Anyone who makes you feel less than amazing does not deserve a place in your life.
- Take care of yourself. Let your body know you love it. Feed it nourishing foods that will give you the natural energy you need to conquer the day. Move it around through an exercise that you enjoy doing. Don't feel like going to the gym? Put on your favorite playlist or find an interesting podcast and go for a walk! Give it the rest it needs through adequate sleep. And why not, treat yourself to a weekly (or daily- I won't tell anyone) bath time. When you take care of yourself you'll feel healthier and have a higher self-esteem.
Practicing these simple habits will surely improve your health mentally and emotionally. But there is still one more simple practice that you can implement daily, and it's as simple as adding it to your morning coffee… seriously! Increasing serotonin (the “feel good” hormone) production and stabilizing its presence in our bodies helps to regulate our emotions. Low levels of this hormone in fact can lead to depression.
Now, time to grab a cup of your favorite tea, coffee, wine- whatever your choice of drink- put some CBD oil in it of course, and sit down for a few minutes on your own. No TV, cellphone or any distractions, just you. Take a deep breath in…. and let it out. And one more time. Think about the amazing things going on in your life right now, what your biggest dreams are, and how caring for yourself can make them happen.