Learning to love yourself is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. For some, it might only take a few months to have a mindset change. For others, it might take years.
However, there are small changes you can start to make to learn to be okay with yourself.
It’s the first step for the self-love journey ahead.
Take care of yourself
Self-care is having a moment right now, but it really is important. Make sure you are putting good food into your body, that you’re moving, cleaning yourself. All that personal maintenance. You don’t need to become a health nut who showers twice a day. Just make sure you are treating your body with respect and listening to its needs.
Those needs might mean a Sunday on the couch with ice cream and TV. It might mean going for a run more often. It might mean going vegan. Washing your face. Cleaning up your room. Do nice things for yourself. Throw on a face mask and clean your house.
Don’t overwork yourself. Don’t be afraid to take vacation time. Sleep. Please sleep. Take lunch breaks. The “hustle” and “grind” can wait 30 minutes while you sit for lunch or a decent 7 or 8 hours of quality sleep. The more you take care of yourself, the better your work. The better you will feel.
So take your vitamins and have that piece of chocolate.
2. Halt the negative chatter
The negativity we beat ourselves with when looking in the mirror or our Instagram feeds needs to stop. Not everyone has high-end camera equipment or a symmetrical face. Not everyone has the time and money to focus solely on their looks. Listen, you are more than just a body. Your body is wonderful and can do great things for you, but that is not all you are.
Who wants to be known just as something nice to look at?
Think about your strengths. What makes you a great person? You might be a great friend, the one who makes people laugh, a dedicated worker, loyal. There are good things about you. And not all of those wonderful features can be captured on camera.
Instead of looking at your physical flaws, make silly faces at yourself in the mirror. I don’t know why this helped me, but silly faces, even my own, make me smile. I might look weird to people when I do this in public, but at least when I see my own image now there is a smile on my face.
Obviously, obtrusive, constant negative chatter is another thing that doesn’t just disappear with a newfound positive attitude. It’s work. You have to be constantly vigilant about the thoughts you are allowing yourself to believe. If your thoughts are telling you you suck, think about ways you don’t suck. Or prove yourself wrong.
Don’t let those thoughts set up camp and build a house in your beliefs. They can visit, but they don’t pay rent so kick them out as quick as you can. With time, you’ll be batting those thoughts away with a flicker of your hand.
3. Dress the way you want
There is absolutely no reason for you to feel uncomfortable. If you are going to a formal event and dresses make you feel like a doll forced to wear unsuiting outfits, then wear a pantsuit. If you are a jeans and tee kind of girl, don’t feel forced to wear a skirt when going to lunch with your friends. On the other hand, if you fancy, don’t feel the need to dress down. Don’t dress “feminine” if you don’t want to.
Don’t let people tell you that you can’t wear things because it isn’t for you. Granted, there are shapes and figures of clothing that happen to look more flattering for different body shapes. But If I am feeling that outfit, I am wearing that damn outfit. I don’t care if the colors are too bright. I don’t care if it’s too low cut for grandmom’s house. I don’t care if there is no occasion.
Wear whatever makes you comfortable. You can’t be confident if you are uncomfortable. And I want you to be comfortable.
I’m not saying you have to love yourself in every article of clothing you throw on. Trust me, I go into the fitting room and see a shirt I thought was cute on the hanger and change my mind when I see it on me. But what I don’t do is allow negative thoughts infiltrate my try-on. Thoughts like “if your chest was bigger, that shirt would fit nicer” or “if your shoulders weren’t so narrow, that top wouldn’t slide off,” can enter my mind, but they are not allowed to stay there. There is no vacancy for self-hate. Just, “hmm … this doesn’t look good on me. On to the next one.”
These are some small changes you can make for yourself to begin loving yourself. Just remember, that kind of love is never an overnight occurrence. But learning to be okay with yourself is the first step towards being happier with yourself.
It took me a while to learn to be okay with myself. And sometimes I let myself get down about these trivial tribulations. But that’s okay too. I start with a shower and a reorganization of my space and work towards okay-ness again.
Healing is not a linear process. Just remember when you’re ready, to take care of yourself and move from there.
What are some things you do to keep yourself okay with yourself?