I know, I know – you’ve probably heard it at least a thousand times like “love yourself” and “your first love is self-love”. Perhaps you tend to roll your eyes at these phrases, because somehow the idea of self-love may feel a bit too self-indulgent, vain, or even just like a modern age fad. However, self-love and – compassion are in fact essential for our mental health and overall well-being, according to studies in psychology.
For example, perfectionists, who put excessive pressure on themselves and strive to excel in everything they do all the time, often live with an unhealthy amount of self-criticism and a paralysing inner voice telling them they’re not good enough or pointing out all the flaws in anything and everything they do.
Therefore, it is not surprising that individuals with tendencies towards perfectionism may suffer from an anxiety disorder or even depression. However, by learning to become more compassionate towards ourselves, we can break away from the grips of perfectionism and begin living a more fulfilled and happy life.
To help you get started on your journey, I have listed 8 ways (tested and approved by yours truly) how you can boost your self-love onto a whole new level!
Lose that negative self-talk
I’m ugly, fat, worthless. I’m useless… If any of these sound familiar to you, you might be a culprit of talking negatively to yourself. Stop that. Even if such statements are said in a jokey way, they do impact your self-image especially as they begin to pile up in the long-run. Learn to catch yourself when you’re about to say something negative to yourself, take a breath, and redirect your thoughts to something positive about you. This may be a feature, personality trait, or a milestone you’ve reached that you love or feel proud of.
Repeating this process will reprogram your mind and soon that negative self-talk will be replaced with a more caring, loving, and positive voice. You can also incorporate self-assuring phrases or affirmations to say to yourself in the mirror every morning, like “you’re worthy, you’re beautiful in and out, you’re intelligent…”. Believe me, at first you feel like a complete clown talking to yourself, but once it becomes a routine, it feels great and can lift your spirits.
Get comfy with yourself
It is such a liberating feeling when you can laugh at yourself. Not in a mean way, of course, but in such a way that you don’t take yourself, or life in general, too seriously. Some things I like to do to have fun on my own and be more in tune with myself is to dance around the house (just blast #QueenB and move your body), do little experimental photoshoots, but also taking on little challenges every day to to push myself beyond my comfort zone. When you begin to feel okay in uncomfortable situations, you’ll feel that much more confident in familiar every day situations.
Social media can be a great tool for expressing creativity, but if it is used wrong it can really impact our mental health and self-confidence. Seeing “insta-girls” with perfect airbrushed bodies and thigh gaps can really feel alienating and put pressure on you to feel like you should look a certain way. I recommend to regularly to take a break from social media and to declutter your following list. Make the conscious effort to ask yourself why do you follow a certain person or account? What feelings or thoughts do they invoke in you? Do you feel something negative when you view their profile? If so, unfollow, simple as that. You can curate your own feed and what you expose yourself to. Sometimes this can be a family member, and it may be difficult or awkward to explain to them why you unfollowed, but remember you can always still hide their posts even if you keep following them – pro tip 😉
Find someone who inspires you
At first this may sound counter-intuitive to the tip above, but bare with me. Finding someone who somehow resembles you whether it be in their line of work, their hobbies, or if they have a similar body type to yours, these may all help you feel more appreciative about yourself, too. For example, for long I was insecure about my wide hips and thick thighs, but once I discovered the British curve model Iskra Lawrence, all of that changed. When I saw how confidently she rocked her body no matter what she wore, I felt like I could do it too. Slowly I started surrounding myself with more people like that to give me a little extra boost when I wasn’t feeling my best. As long as the person you’re comparing yourself to is bound with positive thoughts and intentions, it can be helpful. However, keep in mind that no one is perfect and we all have, and are allowed to have, bad days where we just want to crawl under the duvet. Everything in a fine balance.
Yes date yourself! Get to know yourself, what do you like? What don’t you like? Whether it be on the streets or in the sheets, spend time doing things you love and excite you. Go to that museum you’ve always wanted to visit, go solo travelling if that’s what you’ve always dreamt of, or just take a good book to your favourite café. Make the conscious effort in your every day to take out time for just yourself. Call it a personal care day, if you will. Okay, I sound too much like an introvert now. What do extroverts do on their own?
It’s no secret that advertisements often tap into our vulnerabilities causing us to feel insecure, incomplete, or ashamed about our appearance or the materialistic things we supposedly lack. It is always worthwhile to be a little critical about the ads you are exposed to and not buy into every fad. Just check with yourself that you are in it for the right reasons and motivations, and not because you feel obligated to or that you have to follow the crowd on the latest trend.
After becoming more conscious in my purchasing habits and what things (materialistic or not) motivate and inspire me, I have cut down my money spending by at least 60%. It’s surprising how much ‘nonsense’ we buy without really being fully aware of it, when that money could be put to better use, like into our savings or investing in stocks (more on this in another post).
Learn not to give a F*ck
A huge part of self-love is to be in tune with yourself, your thoughts, and the things you personally want to achieve. With that comes the ability not to give a f*ck about what others may think or say about you and your goals. This is very difficult, because we tend to seek validation and approval from others especially if our self-confidence is somewhat low. We may benchmark our success to that of someone else’s to deem whether we are doing enough.
Learn to shut out the opinions of others. Accepting constructive criticism is always helpful and can set you forward on your personal growth journey. However, when the words of others make you lose sight of your goals, it might be a good time to focus more on your vision and not let others impact you. Let the limiting thoughts of others fuel you to work harder and with more dedication towards what it is you want to achieve.
Don’t give power to toxic people
You cannot escape toxic people. They are like leaches who attach themselves to compassionate, kind, and positive people. I’ve had my fair share of toxic friendships to deal with, however, even some of your closest family members may have toxic qualities. It’s not always easy to spot a toxic person, but learning to recognise some signs and how to deal with them will help you immensely. Toxic people have a tendency to make you question yourself and the value of your emotions, thoughts, and reality. They can be very manipulative and will have you walking on egg shells around them.
I will go into more depth about this topic in another blog post, but some things you should take into account to help you better deal with toxic people are; learning to create boundaries between you and that person, understand that no matter how hard you try, you cannot change them, and don’t look for their approval in anything you do or accomplish, because they aren’t able to give it to you.
These were my 8 tips and tricks I’ve found to be helpful in my journey to becoming more compassionate and nurturing towards myself. Will you incorporate any of them into your daily life? Do you have other tricks to feel great about yourself? Let me know in the comments!