I personally don’t believe you need to love yourself to love others (I felt confidence-less and pretty broken when I had my first baby but I loved him with all my heart) but I do know this, the more you love yourself, the greater capacity you have to be positive around others, to see the best in people, to have a more content and fulfilling life.
Importantly, if you want to make your kids’ lives better, you need to lead by example so they will love themselves too. Its’s the greatest, most empowering lesson in love you’ll give them.
In short, loving yourself is the most selfishly, unselfish thing you can do. Yes, you won’t feel love for yourself all of the time. That’s just not life and hey there PMT, you soul destroying beast.. However with a malleable brain, you can change the way you think and feel, eventually reaching a point where you treat yourself like your partner or best friend: with unconditional love.
Here are my tips.
- Surround yourself with positive people who want to build you up, not break you down. Sounds obvious right but so often we tolerate a whole load of shizz from others we just don’t have to. We keep accepting invites to hang out with those who don’t make us feel good about ourselves or we’re find ourselves forced into situations with people who don’t understand us, or worse want to see us fail. It doesn’t matter if you’ve known people all of your life or even related to said draining ‘dementors’, you have a choice on who you give your time and energy to. Don’t forget that. Streamline your relationships and start to notice how much lighter, and equally stronger, you feel. Bye bye people who make you feel hard to love. Whilst you sometimes, can’t cut relentlessly negative people out completely in some cases, slowly distance yourself I promise you, you will start loving yourself in the process.
- Do you spent time telling yourself that you’re not smart, beautiful or caring, enough? Do you endlessly berate yourself, telling yourself you need to be, and do better? Whilst we’re all guilty of that at times, and social media can amplify insecurities, it’s important to stop the cycle of negativity and replace that voice in your head with one of kindness and respect. When it comes to comparison please remember that social media platforms are a place most people share only their ‘best selves’, be it filtered selfies, achievements and awards or simply seemingly endless ‘good times’. It’s human nature to focus on the positives in life (no one is out there trying to upset you) but social media can provide a skewed sense of reality so remember that when you wish you were on another trip of a lifetime in LA. Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. When you next start tearing yourself apart, stop and replace the negative thought with a positive compliment someone has given you (if can’t think of one yourself). Keep a positivity diary where you list qualities and achievements you feel proud of big and small, so you can reflect and remind yourself of your bad-assery.
- Acknowledge how you feel. If a friend seeks comfort and advice from you, no doubt you would listen to their woes, provide support and relief to them. Well, you need to do that for yourself. You need to acknowledge and accept how you feel in the moment. I accept that when it’s PMT time, I will feel low about myself, more irritable and anxious. Part of accepting that hormonally turbulent time for what it is, in turn makes me feel less stressed. If I need to sleep, I sleep. If I don’t feel like going out, I try not to. I listen to my body. I do know though, that when I try and combat the stress head on with a run and yoga, I ultimately feel better for it.
- Respect your dreams and goals. Don’t rubbish away your dreams however big or crazy they might seem to you. I’m a big believer of dreaming big and so far, along with a whole lot of hard work, it’s helped me realise goals I never thought possible from becoming a TV and film director to now a blogger and vlogger. It’s the same for anyone who sets out, at the start of their journey: milestones literally seem miles away and often they are and that’s OK. Don’t be scared of the journey and grafting for results. It’s the only way. Write a list of what you want to achieve and respect your wishes. Tell yourself you can, and you will.
- Take time out for you. I know we’re all incredibly busy, mostly looking after everyone else but if we don’t take time out for ourselves, our reserves run low and no one feels their happiest. Stop feeling guilty about taking time for you, even if that means a long soak in the bath with a great book. I’m currently reading Arianna Huffington’s Thrive which has not only encouraged me to switch off tech earlier and to sleep more but it gives me precious time when the kids sleep doing something I love. I’ve also found that if I plan meet0ups with my friends and date nights with my husband in the coming months, it means I have fun times to look forward to which sees me through the more demanding days. By loving myself and acknowledging I deserve time out and to treat myself to things I love, I return more revived and happier than before and everyone benefits.
I’d love to read your self-love tips in the comments x