The very word ‘self-love’ is enough to make some folks cringe. Right? You either think of Hailee Steinfeld’s ‘Love Myself’ masturbation anthem or you find the whole movement of ‘loving yourself first and the rest will follow’ a little gimmicky. Eh, it is - but the sentiment is accurate: to truly be happy, your sense of self needs to derive from your own confidence and sense of self-worth.
But how do you love yourself in a way that doesn’t feel ridiculous, cheesy or um, inappropriate? I’ve often wondered this very thing myself (even writing a blog about self-love for 365 days a few years ago). But what I’ve found over many ups and downs in my own confidence after break-ups, fights with friends, career shifts and other difficult times is that simple everyday reminders of why you’re awesome work best.
Will you always believe it? Will you sometimes feel ridiculous when you’re doing these things? Will you struggle with making yourself a priority and not putting yourself down? Of course. But if you maintain all or a couple of these, you’ll notice yourself become a little happier — and maybe, even like yourself more than you do now. All you have to do is try:
1. Only Invest in People Who Invest in You
It’s difficult to take a long, hard look at the friendships you have with people in your life. From people you met in college and have taken different directions to new friends who bring excitement and drama, it’s important to take a step back and really understand each person’s purpose. If you have a friendship (or several friendships) where you’re giving so much and not getting anything in return, it may be time to establish new boundaries or reconsider how much of a role they play in your life. The same goes with coworkers. Even if you can’t distance yourself in the office, you can set new goals for yourself to grow professionally and get out of a toxic environment if it’s not serving you. Remember, your time toward someone should always be balanced in the time and care they give in return.
2. Drink a Glass of Water Every Morning
Do you often look forward to your morning cup of Joe before you even fall asleep? Me too. And while it’s fine to have your typical daily brew, try starting each morning with a full eight ounces of water. Besides being great for you and hydrating your skin, it takes about 2-3 minutes to finish a glass. In this time, think about your day ahead, think about things you’re thankful for, think about what you’re looking forward and take a moment to breathe before the chaos of the day sets in. Consider this your time out to wake up, refocus, and reconnect.
3. Edit Your Mind
We’re all guilty of comparing ourselves to other people: she’s smarter than me. She's happier than me. She’s in a healthy, happy relationship and I’m single — what’s wrong with me? But probably worse than the act of comparison is when you talk down to yourself, time and time again. Give yourself a hard time for something you said in a meeting? Whatever it is — take a moment to edit your mind and your thoughts each day. Start small: at the first sign of negativity, take a deep breath and focus your attention somewhere else, or if you feel comfortable, remind yourself of a positive quality you have. It’s those tiny edits over time that make your story a whole lot friendlier.
4. Don’t Catastrophize
If you find yourself spiraling down a rabbit hole, considering the worst possible outcome that could come out of every. tiny. little. choice you make or don’t make. Like, if you turn 30 next year and you don’t meet the love of your life, so you don’t get married, and then three years pass and OMG should you freeze your eggs?!? Letting yourself think five years into the future isn’t healthy unless you’re considering your financial plan, so make an effort to find the small joys in everyday living. It’ll help keep you from going down a dark, depressing road and instead, lead you to seeing the good stuff that your life already has.
5. Break Up With Your Phone Each Day
Make a rule for when your phone isn’t allowed: when you get into bed at night. When you’re walking your dog. While you’re at work (if you’re brave). Whatever the time is, disconnecting yourself from being in constant communication with friends, family or social networks will help you live more in the present moment, and prevent you from analyzing every post or time between texts. Though your phone might be one of your favorite personal possessions, it’s not as important as making true, rich connections, without blue bubbles.
6. Create a Big Moment Journal
Keeping a daily journal can be tough, and you might find yourself struggling with a gratitude journal because you often are thankful for the same things (family, friends, coffee, wine, sex… cat videos?). But a ‘Big Moment’ journal (or OK, the notes section on your phone) is a place where you can record moments you don’t want to forget. Maybe it’s when your boss gave you a raise. Or when you went on a first date that didn’t bomb. You get to define what ‘Big’ means to you, and when you’re feeling like ‘nothing good ever happens anymore’ — you can read through it and remind yourself of all the things you’ve achieved and been lucky to experience.
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