Scrolling through my Twitter this morning, came across a tweet from Huffington Post on an article title “The One Nutrient That is Missing in Nearly Every Diet“. Needing to know what I can add to my diet to get this nutrient, I clicked on the article. Turns out, the nutrient many people are missing has nothing to do with what they are eating (c’mon Rachel stop being so shallow) and everything to do with how they love themselves. Self-love is one of those topics that I could rant for days about, but will keep it short and sweet to adhere to diminishing attention spans (just wait until part 2…).
Self-love is like any relationship, some days are better than others, and there will always be fights and challenges along the way that you have to work through, but in the end it is always worth it. I am not a perfect role-model for loving myself, accepting who I am and what I look like all of the time, but I try to put an effort in to love the person that I am. Being inspired and inspiring others to better themselves for the sole purpose of being happier is something that I actively choose to do.
The list is long but here what I consider the most important steps to self-love:
How to get a beach body: have a body, go to the beach
Our society is so heavily focused on appearance that much of self-love starts on the outside. The media has always portrayed what both women and men (yes, men suffer too) should aspire to look like, and we all know by now that it is fairly unreasonable, but it’s still hard not to compare yourself to celebrities. What I find even more challenging though is the pressure from social media on what we should look like. Although fitness Instagram accounts can be motivational and have good workout ideas they also remind you that you don’t look like; half-naked pictures of fit girls is less inspiring than you would think. When you exercise you feel better, you sleep better, you are happier; the benefits are endless. You should choose to go to the gym (or do other activity) to be healthy not to impress other people. Everyone has different body shapes, and the first step is accepting your own, and taking care of it to the best of your ability. Next time you look in the mirror don’t focus on what you don’t like and want to change, but focus on what you do like and appreciate your own beauty.
Speak confidently and people will believe you
That is what my Dad always tells us. Even if you are experiencing self-doubt, if you hold your head up and speak with confidence, people will believe you. A step in self-love is accepting you are good enough; you are good enough to get the job, you are good enough to have amazing friends, you are good enough to achieve whatever goals you have set. As soon as you have an inkling of self-doubt your confidence falls and failure happens. But if you stumble into failure, the best way to get back up is knowing that you have the ability and knowledge to do better next time. Comparing your success to others in terms of skills, abilities, personality, etc. will also hinder your ability to love yourself; what other people can do and achieve has no bearing on what you will do and what you will achieve. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small; instead of looking ahead to see how far you have to go, take a look back and see how far you have come.
Spend time with yourself
Loving yourself is similar to the process of loving someone else, you have to take the time to get to know them and enjoy their company. Our lives are busy and often times spent doing things for other people; for your significant other, for your boss, for your friend, for your kids. But it is important to get to know yourself, and learn what makes you happy and learn what makes you unhappy and act accordingly. Every week when I am at yoga the instructor emphasizes the fact that we took an hour out of our day to practice yoga; even though there are a million other things we could be doing, we took the time for ourselves. When I lived in LA for a semester, I learned the value of spending time alone. I went to movies, concerts, and dinner by myself and it was liberating. I was there because I wanted to be; I didn’t have to worry about what another person was doing or thinking, if they were enjoying themselves, when they wanted to leave.
Appreciate the people around you
If you are experiencing a lack of self love, just look at all the people around that love you and support you. The person they see is amazing, and sometimes you have to take a step back from self criticism and see what the rest of the world sees.
My favourite quote at the moment is, “Life doesn’t always give you what you want, but it gives you what you need to become to person you were meant to be.” You are who you are for a reason, and you deserve every bit of love as everyone else no matter what you have achieved, or what you look like compared to them. There is nothing you can do about who you are except take the time to better yourself; take every opportunity you can to be the best version of you and use the inspiration from other people to inspire the world around you to do the same.
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.