Loving Yourself When The Going Gets Tough
Why should I love myself?
I’m sure you’ve all seen, “Love yourself!” and “Be yourself, you’re amazing!”. And, as cheesy and repetitive as they are, they’re right!
When you choose to love yourself the way you are, it can help your self-esteem and, in turn, improve many many aspects about your life and the people around you! This includes your self-confidence, self-image, decreasing anxiety, improves your outlook on life, increases your social interactions, and so much more!
Realize that you never need to change for someone else. If you want to change how you are, it will be for you and no one else.
This one is SUPER IMPORTANT: YOU DO NOT NEED TO CHANGE FOR ANYONE BUT YOURSELF. Remember this. Ingrain it in your brain. Write it down. Do whatever you need to to keep it with you. Do not change if someone told you to, do not change because media says you should, and do not change to get someone’s attention. You should change because you truly want to or because you recognize that it will be beneficial to your health and happiness! And if you happen to attract some attention in the process, then rock it knowing that you did not do it for them. This allows you to be independent and believe in yourself!
Make a list of the first five bad qualities of yourself that you think of
This one is going to trick your brain. Ready? After you’ve written down these five negative things about yourself, like “I’m not pretty” or “I’m not worth it” (these are two of the long list I made for myself)… throw them away. Crumble it, tear it, do whatever you want to it but throw it away asap. I was taught this by a neurologist who makes speeches all across the US during one of my leadership training in FBLA; by throwing away these negative connotations about yourself, you are essentially telling your mind that you are refusing these ideas. You are telling yourself, “No, stop those kinds of thoughts” in a way that actually works and will make loving yourself so much easier.
Stop comparing yourself to others!
How many times have you heard this one? One thousand times? Well, make it one thousand one times now. Stop. Comparing. Yourself. To. Others. Don’t compare yourself to anyone on TV, don’t compare yourself to people in magazines, don’t even compare yourself to people in real life! Are they you? No, they’re not. Only compare yourself to yourself, see where you can grow and learn how to! Improve yourself by your own standards, not some strangers on the big screen.
Set aside “you time”
By setting aside time for yourself, you are telling yourself that you deserve to take a break from the hustle and bustle of life. You’re giving yourself time to recharge. You can do whatever you want during your time! You could take a nice hot bubble bath, catch up on that TV show you love, sit in bed with a warm cup of tea, go on an adventure, color, anything! Make it about you. Just don’t do it so often that you start putting off your work and friends.
Drink more water
Loving yourself also means taking care of yourself physically. It’s a bit hard to have a good time with a migraine and other aches and pains, you know? And water is step number one in taking care of yourself. I won’t go too much into it for now, but keep an eye out for future posts on it! Have trouble remembering to take a drink every now and then? There are tons of apps out there that are designed to remind you throughout the day so that you’re getting the right amount of H2O. Try a few out and see what you like!
Try something a bit out of your comfort zone
This can be hard for some people because stepping away from what you’re used to is, well, uncomfortable. You don’t know what to expect and you don’t know how to determine the outcome most of the time, so it’s reasonable for people to feel a bit iffy about this one. Now, I’m not saying to go skydiving tomorrow if you’re scared of heights, but I can promise that this can be a fun experience if you take things one step at a time! Say that you’re scared of public speaking (a very reasonable fear that many people have). Start by practicing lines to yourself, talking to a few old friends over Skype, then get a few friends to go out with, and continue on until you can be confident enough to be the first to present to a class or in a meeting! By going little by little in your expansion, you begin to gain confidence in everything you do because you’ve done so much already.
Recognize both your strengths and weaknesses
I would like to point out that recognizing your weaknesses and making a list of bad qualities about yourself are two similar yet different things. The “list of bad things” are qualities that you see in yourself that others most likely don’t see or don’t believe in, such as being “too short” or “too bland”. In this case, you’re choosing things that you know you can improve on (i.e. semi-poor public speaking, not the strongest spelling, etc). By doing this, you will be able to know where to go to self-improvement, and recognizing your strengths is knowing where you currently stand. And so that you are able to see where you already are efficient in, of course.
If you know me IRL, you’ll start to notice that I recommend meditating a lot. Though meditation cannot fix all of life’s problems, it sure as heck can make a lot of them easier. This allows you to just sit back, take some deep breaths, and turn yourself off for a moment or two. When you’re done meditating, you’re able to calmly step back and look at the bigger picture of things, you’re able to reason through situations better, and you’re in a more rational mindset than you were when you were flustered. By being able to do this, you will start to believe in your abilities more!
Wear your favorite clothes
Many people will agree that the clothes that you wear can impact the way people view you and how you view yourself. In this case, throw away what other people are thinking. Just… plop, into the recycle. Wear what you want to wear for a day! That favorite sweater you never wear but are dying to get back into? Do it. Those jeans that may be a tad too big but you love? Do it. Of course, if your favorite thing is nothing, then I do recommend you stay inside for the day.
Make goals and try to achieve them
I get that a lot of people make daily goals and don’t exactly get to them, and that’s okay. Try making S.M.A.R.T. goals! S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
This means that you need to pinpoint what you want to do (Ex: I want to write wellness posts for yearshinate [a blog I am attempting to start]),
be able to include a metric in your target (Ex: I want to write 10 wellness posts for yearshinate), challenge yourself a bit but still be able to do it (Ex: 10 can be a tad hard, but if I have the materials then I can do it),
keep it with other goals (Ex: this would be in other posting goals),
and within a specific time range (Ex: I want to write these posts within a two-week timeframe).
Another tip I can give if you have a bunch of goals for one day is to highlight two or three of these goals. If you can finish at least these, then you will still feel motivated to do more the rest of the day and the following day!
Set affirmation statements for yourself!!
This simple means to set emotionally encouraging statements about yourself. Say them to yourself. Write them on your hand. Do whatever you want to keep them with you. It can be as simple as “I’m a good person”, and you can set as many as you want for yourself. As for me, I have this thing where I write them on sticky notes whenever I feel down, then I pin them to my wall. I have things on my wall like, “Your problems and emotions are valid”, “I’m proud of myself”, “You are worth their time”, and so much more. A lot of people want to hear certain words when they’re unhappy, but others may not know what you want to hear. This way, you know exactly what you want to hear and you can tell it to yourself.
Sometimes you just have too many words in your head. I’m sure plenty of you know the overwhelming feeling of a bunch of things swirling around your mind like a storm. It’s just too much! This will help. You can do a brain dump at any point of the day when you have a paper and pen, or a computer, at hand. As the name entails, all you do is plop your brain onto your writing. That’s it. Just, write everything that’s going through your mind. It can be in sentences, bullets, words, drawings, anything. This allows you to take all that’s in your brain and get it out onto something that you can actually look at. This can relieve stress and anxiety more than you could imagine.
Just like with the water tip, you’ve gotta take care of yourself! Take a break from work or school or whatever indoor activity and just step outside for a few minutes. Go blow the dust off of yourself, stretch out, get some fresh air. It’s raining? Go dance in the rain! Sunny? Bask in the light. Kind of cloudy or windy and bitter? Get a nice warm coat on, some good shoes, and bring a cozy cup of tea or something warm outside and just watch nature. You don’t have to go anywhere, don’t have to do anything important, just get outside.
Try out some new healthy foods
It’s important that I put the word “healthy” in there. It’s easy to go out and try the new drink at Starbucks or Dutch Bros or find an ice cream flavor you haven’t tried yet. While these ideas are fine and dandy (and you definitely can go out and do just that every now and then for a little treat yo’ self), but filling yourself with wholesome, healthy foods can give you energy and make you feel good in general. Personally, I love making juices with a bunch of new and fun recipes or going to a world foods’ market and seeing if I can find something strange and unusual.
Write yourself a love letter
Who doesn’t love to get a letter of admiration? If you do, then why not send one to yourself! You know yourself better than anyone else, so you know exactly what you want to hear. You can make it as fancy or understated as you want: go for the big loopy cursive or just simple print on lined paper. It’s for you, and that’s what matters.
I get that this one can get a little difficult, especially when you’re down in the dumps, but trust me when I say that this will help. You know that feeling you get after you clean your entire room? Yeah, that’s a good feeling. Even if it’s just picking up a few things off the floor, the improvement will help you feel more motivated and will give you a better environment to be in! I like to think that your space can reflect your mind space. If your environment is cluttered, it’s a pretty good chance that your mind is a bit all over the place and muddled. Once everything is clean, it’s therapeutic to your mind and allows you to organize your thoughts, too.
Start a “pay it forward”
Pay it Forward, if you have not seen the movie about it, is essentially where you do something nice for someone, and they go off and do something nice to someone else. Simple as that. We actually did this in Oregon FBLA during my time as a state officer, and it felt good to do something for others! And, if you’ve never seen the movie about it, I totally recommend watching it. Maybe you’ll get some inspiration to go out and do something incredible!
Take a moment and just, admire yourself in the mirror
Literally just, look at yourself in the mirror. Note the little details that you like. Your eyes, your hair, your skin tone, your stomach curves, that one little mole on your hip, find your birthmark, anything! By positively combing through all of the things you like about your physical self, you’ll find it easier and easier to accept and love the things you didn’t like before!
Turn up your favorite music
Sometimes you just need to throw some jams into your day. Pick out your favorite playlist or radio station while you do other things! If you love music, you know the effect it can have on some people, which is exactly why it’s on this list.
Try out new music!
You may absolutely adore your playlist on Spotify or YouTube, but this can get you into a rut of not trying new things. You’re sitting there, listening to the same things over and over again. So, spice it up! Ask friends and family for some recommendations, and I’m sure they will give you plenty of new music to try! And you never know when you’ll find your next favorite song.
Make the choice to be happy and loved
This one is kind of the same to the first, but I felt like I should say it again. If you want to change your habits, do it to make yourself happy and to love yourself. Do not do it for the satisfaction of others. This list is about YOU. Not your mom, not your dad, not your aunt, not your weird, critical cousin, not your “omg, don’t like this about you” friends, not that guy who sits in the back of your class, not your manager, just you. If you do some of these things, like just looking at yourself and saying “huh, I’m not that bad”, then don’t change yourself. I cannot stress this enough.
It can get rough from time to time, and that’s okay.
I hope these simple tips can help some of you beautiful people out there who have trouble accepting yourself for who you are. It’s alright to have some bad days, it’s okay to feel sad or depressed*, but those tough times don’t have to last forever. Learning to love yourself is an incredible way of living, so please please try it out.
If you or a loved one has chronic depression or other mental illnesses, these tips can possibly help for a while but they are in no way a cure. I am not a medical professional, I am not certified in any medical field. For actual, long-term help, please seek out a medical professional such as trained doctors or therapists.