Lately, I’ve been going through a time of self-reflection and rediscovery. Though times fell upon me after I came back from vacation, and although I don’t want to go into too much details just yet, these past few weeks have been some of the most difficult moments of my life. But it’s also been very enlightening. I’ve discovered things about myself that I just never realized. I’ve always been very hard on myself whether it’s in my personal life or my professional one, and often took people’s criticism personally. Soon I realized how self-criticism can quickly turn into self-hate. In a time when the world seems to lack love, isn’t it better to help spread a little more of it? Starting with yourself. Here are a few ways that you can begin to love yourself more and, in turn, love others.
Be kind to yourself. Nobody is perfect and people make mistakes. Accept yourself for who you are, flaws and all. There have been moments in my life when others have made me feel inadequate. One thing that I learned is that if you can’t deliver criticism in a constructive way, then you are not in a position to say anything. Instead, silence the noise that comes with harsh judgments and comparisons to others and focus on the positive. What are your qualities and your strengths? What do you most admire in yourself? When you focus on the beautiful person that you are, all the other bullshit just doesn’t hold up.
Be grateful. For the past few months, I’ve been writing in my Five Minute Journal almost every morning and it’s truly transformed the way I see my life. Where I would usually think of all the things I don’t have in my life and let it bring me down, I now see all the things I do have in my life, and how lucky I am to have them. The more grateful you are, the more life gives you.
Stop being sorry. Oh sorry! I’m sorry! So sorry! Ever noticed how many times you say “I’m sorry” in a day? We say it over the most random things, but why? Sometimes saying sorry doesn’t even apply to the situation, but we still say it. Instead, replace “I’m sorry” with “Thank you!”. Someone gives you a compliment, don’t excuse it, just say thank you. A random stranger holds the door open for you as they walked through, say thank you. Say thank you as many times in the day as you can. It’s a small gesture that shows your gratitude and makes other people feel good.
Love your body. Most of us look in the mirror and see a list of things we want to change about our bodies. Yes, you may want to lose 5 pounds (or 10), maybe you want to gain weight, or maybe you just want to be a little stronger. Whatever your fitness goals, you will never achieve them unless you love yourself now. Love every part of your body and treat it like a temple. Feed it the nutrition it needs to function properly and do activities you enjoy and that make you feel good.
Do what makes you happy. We have a tendency to want to make others happy. While there’s nothing wrong with that, putting aside your wants to take care of someone else’s often takes away from your authentic self, drains your energy and deprives you of taking care of ourselves. If you want to do something, then do it! And understand that the things that you want and feel are completely valid. You don’t have to change to make someone else happy. And if someone disapproves of your choice, it’s ok. Usually, the disappointment someone feels when you say no is more about their own feelings and wants than your self-worth. Doing what you want is not selfish, it’s self-love.