I know everyone is talking about self love lately. It seems like it is very much “on trend”. And I am all for it, because finally it might mean that we spend more time working on finding that warm fuzzy feeling of love for ourselves rather than scrutinising over if our legs are long enough, armpits smooth enough, skin dimple free enough. I hope self love becomes as fashionable as peddle pushers in 1999.
Some people imagine Self love to be this airy fairy unicorn pooticle that only exists in an alternative universe and I do totally understand it does sound all a bit My Little Ponyesque. As if self love will change your life and make you happier… Oh hang on a sec, it will. It will? YAAAAS! It will, but (and it is a big but) self love is not a “click of the fingers, bolt of lightening mythical magic” that strikes you down one day. Self love is a practise. It is action steps of implementing self care to allow you to see yourself with worth and to realise you are enough.
Self love is a practise. It is action steps of implementing self care to allow you to see yourself with worth and to realise you are enough.
STEP 1 - GRATITUDE!
It seems like the #selflove101 and although it’s a repetitive notion, it is one that we need to keep repeating. There is something in us humans that make us focus on all the things we don’t have. All the things we have decided we are not. All the things that we are lacking. That, in itself, will cause us to be in a state of negativity. Nothing about giving attention to who we are not, will make us feel good or positive. So, a way to find happiness and love and joy with who we are, is to be grateful for what we DO have. In doing that it enables us to live in joy. To appreciate our blessings and realise how blumming lucky we are.
Writing a list of 10 things we are grateful for daily, gets us into a positive mindset. When we are in this space mentally, it sets us up for a good day. We feel more productive, calmer, happier, more grateful, which in turn leads us to a better headspace. Nothing beats being grateful for who we are and what we do have!
A way to find happiness and love and joy with who we are, is to be grateful for what we DO have
STEP 2 - STOP THE SHAME BY REFRAMING OUR THOUGHTS
One of the biggest resistances to loving ourselves is this exhausting habit of shaming ourselves. The negative self talk we do in the mirror, the body shaming we do, the unkind things we repeat in our heads. These patterns of thinking that we have built up over the years that halt any thoughts of kindness we could have for ourselves. We need to stop and think twice about what we are saying to ourselves. That stuff sticks. And if we say it for long enough, we believe it. We begin to attach to the stories we tell ourselves and truly believe them. That we are not pretty enough, smart enough, funny enough, thin enough, strong enough, curvy enough, beautiful enough… This feeling of never being enough. But if we can believe the negative stories, we do have a chance of believing the positive ones. By catching our negative thoughts and starting to be aware of them, we can start trying to reframe them and attach to the new, positive stories that will bring us joy and peace and give us a sense of love, for ourselves.
When we start with the “I wish my bum was bigger, or, I’d be happy if I were taller” thinking, we can start to reinforce a different story. “I am beautiful just the way I am. I am happy. I am enough. I am proud of my kindness or my progress so far. I am a good human being”. By using “I am” followed by positive thoughts we can change our story and also reframe old patterns and try and build new habits of thinking. All of which will again, remind us of what we do have.
By catching our negative thoughts and starting to be aware of them, we can start trying to reframe them and attach to the new, positive stories that will bring us joy and peace and give us a sense of love, for ourselves.
STEP 3 - STOP COMPARING OURSELVES TO OTHERS
It will not serve us. It will not make us feel better. It will not propel us to think nicer thoughts or live nicer lives, so why do it? Self-love is about who you are, not anyone else. Just because someone else may have a 6 pack, that does not mean you are not “fit” enough. Just because someone may be beautiful, doesn’t mean you are not gorgeous. Beauty looks different on everyone, but people who are self-assured, comfortable in their skin, think lovely thoughts, shine a confidence and beauty like no other. Beauty comes from within. I spent years feeling anxious that everybody else was “skinnier, prettier, more popular than I was” The feeling of feeling “less than” used to eat away at me and consequently made me behave in ways that held me back from being the best version of myself. The feeling of “If she is beautiful then I mustn’t be.” Made me respond to my feelings with unkind actions. To myself and others. When I finally realised that these thoughts and then actions did not make my life better, and in fact made me feel worse, I started focusing on accepting myself and feeling “enough” It began to sink in, noone else is better than you and you are not better than anyone else. We are all just different. I have things that I am grateful for and proud of. And you do too.
Beauty looks different on everyone, but people who are self-assured, comfortable in their skin, think lovely thoughts, shine a confidence and beauty like no other.
STEP 4 - BE KIND AND EMPATHETIC
We often find it easier to be kind and empathetic with other people. When someone is mean to our friends, we defend them, when our loved ones are feeling sad, we empathise with them, but giving ourselves the same respect always feels so much harder. In order to really feel self love, we must stop giving ourselves a hard time, we are doing the best we can. Have kindness for yourself, be gentle with yourself. We do not have to be perfect. If we have negative thoughts, if we have a day where we can’t do any of the above, it’s OK. Self love is in no way about getting it “right” You will not be perfect. You will not always like your behaviour. But we should always try to accept ourselves. Accept our grumps, accept the bad days, accept the ups and downs, accept who we are, for exactly who we are, whilst always trying to have good intentions. Forgiving ourselves for not being perfect will relieve us of any guilt we have about not being the most zen, happiest, tolerant, fittest, smartest, funniest, most popular human on the planet. You are enough, just as you are!
Have kindness for yourself, be gentle with yourself. We do not have to be perfect.
STEP 5 - PRACTISE
And the biggest step of all, is to practise all of the above, over and over again. Just when we think we have got it all sussed out, just when we start to believe happy thoughts, nice thoughts, loving thoughts about ourselves, an old thought pattern will come back in and bite us on the bum. It might be with a scroll of our finger, the comment from our partner, the fit of a pair of jeans. It could be the smallest idea or thought that knocks us off the self love unicorn ride. But, if we fall off? We just get right back on and keep practising. We get better at languages with practise, we get better at deadlifting by practising. The only way to become better at self love, is to practise. It’s hard to unlearn all those negative thoughts that we have built up along the way, but that is not to say we cannot relearn. It is never too late to change our thoughts to joyful, happier, kinder ones that can then become habitual and will inevitably lead to better feelings about the world, the people around us and essentially, ourselves.
The only way to become better at self love, is to practise.
And if all else fails, pull on your fav undies, or don’t wear any at all, and dance to your fav song like no one is watching.