Self-love is not something they teach in school. I’ve never had to fill out a worksheet on what to say to myself when I feel like I’ve screwed up. What I didn’t know was how common it is for people to fall into the cycle of self-hating thoughts on a regular basis – and that’s not cool.
I recently watched this video by Cristen of Stuff Mom Never Told You, and it brought to light how often we slip into that bad thought pattern we’ve developed over the years and how sometimes, we just need to hug ourselves and say it’s okay.
So think about it. How do you interact with yourself?
How often do you tell yourself ‘Yeah, you did good today’? Or treated yourself to something good? For me, it was that bowl of ice cream while watching Youtube videos all night …rather than studying. #yolo
Self-love is a process I wasn’t familiar with until towards the end of high school and it disheartened me to realise that the way I talked about myself to myself was nothing like how I would speak to my friends. Whenever I would drop something, choke during a speech, miss the train or not get up on time, I would say to myself: ‘What is wrong with you? You’re so stupid.’ This way of thinking is hard to acknowledge at first because we’re so used to talking to ourselves like that. To be honest, if I met me in a parallel universe and she spoke to me like that, I’d walk away thinking, ‘What a bitch.’
One of the comments Cristen brings up is when we need to rely on ourselves, ‘we need an ally’. Loving yourself isn’t selfish, it’s healthy. Self-loathing and putting ourselves down is a common thought process we need to change, because we need to teach self-love as a normal way of thinking.
10 steps on how to love yourself:
- Stop comparing yourself to others. We are all works in progress and we will make it at different paces.
- Give yourself a hug or a kiss. I know it’s weird but it works. I usually do it on the mirror on my way out. Not only will you think you’re a dork and leave a lip print, but the action itself will leave you feeling somewhat satisfied.
- Treat yo self. Do I need to explain?
- Write a list of activities you enjoy and actually do them. Whether it be reading or riding your bike, make the effort to participate in those at least once a week.
- Accept and appreciate who you are now. Know your strengths, weaknesses and flaws because there is beauty in them. Personal growth is different to knowing yourself at this point in time.
- Eat good food. If you eat like crap, you’ll feel like crap. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go out and eat a burger and chips with gravy every once in a while.
- Cut out the toxic people in your life. Being surrounded with healthy relationships will help you be more positive.
- Forgive yourself. There’s nothing worse than mulling over something you’ve done that can’t be changed.
- Be active. Endrophins are also your friend.
- Remember that you are worthy and enough.
What I’ve discovered is that at the end of the day, you are stuck with yourself. There’s no better time than now to be your own best friend.
On that note, I recall a Buddhist teaching from my many hours of browsing the internet, and it’s perfect to remember when you’re hating yourself or feel unworthy:
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”