Self-love is exactly that, a journey. This journey is life long, you will forever be unlocking new levels of self-love. What self-love is and feels like is unique to the individual. The feeling of love you have for yourself may ebb and flow when unfamiliar situations arise. During rough period of times or harder days, here are some helpful tips;
1. Remember to meet yourself where you are, exactly as you are. There is nothing about you that you need to change in this moment. Self-acceptance is such a vital step to loving yourself wholeheartedly. Accepting the imperfections, the feelings, and all that makes you YOU. You are enough NOW. Not when you have more money, not when you hit a certain weight, nothing external makes you more lovable than what you hold inside of you. You are special at every stage of your life. As cliche as it sounds, there is only one you on this Earth. Take a moment to truly understand how amazing that is. Nobody loves like you do, nobody speaks like you do, nobody is you and nobody ever will be. That is POWER. Own it. Live it. Breathe in and appreciate all that you are. You are perfectly imperfect, accept that.
2. Love & Gratitude. Gratitude helps you get out of your head and into the present moment. Take 2 minutes out of your day and list 5 things you love about yourself. No matter how awkward or uncomfortable it may make you feel. On days like this it might feel extremely difficult to think of even one thing you love about yourself but I promise that love is within you. You've felt it before, even if it was for just a moment.
I will list my 5 things to give you an idea of what this exercise looks like.
- I love how kind and thoughtful I am
-I love that I try to be a better me everyday
-I am thankful that my body gives me the ability to hug my loved ones
-I am thankful that my body is strong and able to carry me through life
-I love that I am strong, both my mind and body
3. Journal. It's hard to improve on your feelings when you don't reflect on them or know where they stem from. It is only when we confront our demons head on that we begin to see the light. If we don't confront the uncomfortable parts of ourselves, the same issues will reoccur until we do. Most of our insecurities stem from our childhood and/or trauma we have experienced at any point in our life. We cannot hold these things inside of us. Once we acknowledge that they are there,we have to work through them, and then let them go. I will list a few journal prompts that have helped me navigate my lack of self love.
-What do I imagine self-love feels like? And how would I act differently if I loved myself fully?
-What do I struggle to love most about myself? What is one step I can take to improve that?
Reminder, these questions are hard. They're not meant to be easy. Take the time to think and work through them with no judgement of yourself. Referring back to #1, accept where you are right now.
-What am I holding onto that I need to forgive myself for? (Shame, guilt etc.)
-What negative beliefs do I have about myself? Are they true?
4. Movement. MOVE YOUR BODY. It is scientifically proven that movement makes you happy. It literally releases endorphins which help reduce pain, stress, and promote happiness. HOW AMAZING. Any type pf movement will do. Walk for 5, 10, 20 minutes. Stretch. Ride a bike. Do yoga. Go on a hike. Play golf. ANYTHING. Literally anything you love that requires movement, DO IT. Don't overthink what movement is. It doesn't have to be anything strenuous. You don't have to go to the gym, lift for an hour, do intense cardio. Just do anything to get your blood flowing. You will feel so much better about yourself, pinky promise.
5. Nutrition. Be mindful of what you consume. This doesn't by any means mean you have to be perfect. Just know that the foods you eat affect you in many ways. Be mindful of that and do what you please with that information. I recommend as best as you can, eat a mainly whole foods diet. I personally shoot for 80% whole foods and 20% fun foods. I eat chocolate DAILY because I love it. That is my balance. Find your balance, what makes you feel good, and work with it.
Bonus: Be mindful of what you consume digitally. Unfollow anyone you compare yourself to or anyone that makes you feel bad about yourself. Follow people who inspire and uplift you. And if you can, limit your screen time.
You are loved. You are enough.