"To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance."
Love Yourself. Self Love. Put Yourself First. If you want other people to love you, you must love yourself.
We all know this is generally much easier said than done. Of course we all want to love ourselves, but it's not always that easy, is it? The day I took that photo, I remember sitting on my desk, pinching my belly fat that hung out of my new (bigger ) jeans. Then I found myself scrolling through my old IG pics saying to myself "Damn, look at how skinny and fit I was back then!" and wishing I could get that same desire or drive to get back to that point. It crosses my mind, every now and then, usually when I get up in the morning and get ready for work. But lately, that's all it has been, just a thought, an idea, that has yet to come to fruition.
Then one day while watching one of my favorite IG'ers @gofitjo's story. She talked about her relationship with "getting fit" and that although she was devoting time at the gym, she wasn't quite "feeling" it. (What! Gasp! My IG fit Inspo not feeling it!) I was just happy to hear she was being "real". Then she asked her fellow viewers if we were at a point in our lives that maybe needed more attention than the other. She made it ok, to not think and be a fitness guru 24/7. I sat back and thought of where my mind, soul, and energy was the last time I was all gung-ho on working out and staying fit. Well, I was a stay at home mom, who wasn't working or going to school. I had quite a bit of time on my hands to truly devote time to my physical goals. (To the point where I was literally going to the gym twice.) I was at a different place in my life. I look at myself now, completely content and happy at where I am (I worked hard to get here, being a full time student and working at the same time) and this was my first time in the real workforce, a 9-5 and doing what makes me happy. So why was I being so hard on myself?
So here's what I've realized (again and again) cause this whole Self-Love is like a renewal of vows, you have to stop what you're doing every now and then and remind yourself.
- Stop Comparing Yourself To Others.
The entire world encourages us to compare, to want what others have, to want to be like others. Focus on you and what's great about who you are, what you have, and what you do. Don't waste any more time comparing yourself to those around you. This is the first -- and most important -- step to loving yourself now.
- Focus on your achievements -- big and small.
To often, we focus on the things that went wrong (or could go wrong) and not on the things we did right. It's okay to acknowledge the things that didn't go swimmingly, but if you really want to love yourself, you have to spend most of your time thinking about what you did/said right. And, remember, even the little things deserve a pat on the back.
- Look past the mirror to your true self.
It's all too common for people to define themselves by the way they look. Remember: you are more than what you look like. Yes, it cannot be denied that appearance is important and has some merit, but it is not everything. The way culture is set up, it's hard to remember that sometimes.
- View yourself from an another perspective. We all have the tendency from time to time to get wrapped up in our own minds. Our thoughts and ideas take over and we tend to forget that there are millions and millions of other opinions and ideas out there in the world. The next time you find that you're giving yourself a hard time, take a step back and try to look at the situation -- and yourself -- objectively.
- Make a list of all your awesome traits. Feeling like you're not quite up to par? Stop. Drop what you're doing. Grab paper and a pen. And get to work. The activity might seem like a silly one, but, seriously, taking some time to write about how great you are will help you to realize that, no matter how you might feel about yourself sometimes, you really are pretty awesome.
Loving yourself isn't easy, it seems like the kind of thing that should come naturally, but I think most people are filled with reasonable amount of self-doubt and, as a result, their minds fill with self-deprecating thoughts from time to time. So start embracing your awesomeness and use the five tips above to start loving yourself now. There's no time like the present to learn to love yourself!