Let’s face it—feeling self-love is much easier said than done. Especially when we live in a society obsessed with Snapchat-filter perfection. We constantly see others obtaining status, owning the latest and greatest technologies, going on dream vacations, and living in a big house on a hill with the perfect family.
It’s no wonder we often feel like we don’t measure up.
Even worse, we begin to tell ourselves lies. We start to think that we’re weird, poor, ugly, awkward, not smart enough, or even too smart. In short, we feel like we’re never enough.
But what if we’re wrong?
What if you were good enough, just the way you are? In this very moment?
When it comes to love, it’s often easier to give it to others. But showing yourself love is just as important, maybe even more so. Here are five ways you can start showing yourself some much-needed love today.
1–Make a List of Your Positive Attributes
How often do we take the time to praise ourselves? If the answer is “rarely” or “I don’t even know what self-praise is,” let’s fix that, pronto. Try writing out a list of your positive attributes and take time to reflect on it every day.
When putting together your list, instead of being super generic in your attributes, try to be specific and have a little fun with this. (And then get really wild and add one or two new attributes to the list every week.)
For example: “I always give genuine compliments to others.” Or: “I’m non-judgmental and I always try to see things from another person’s point of view.” Or: “I have a nice singing voice and my husband/wife/next-door neighbor/puppy (woof!) loves it when I sing loudly when doing the dishes.”
Another tip? Along with the positive attributes list, try making a list of the things you are grateful for. Showing gratitude can go a long way into helping you out of self-defeating and negative thinking patterns.
2–Take Time for Yourself
Maybe you’re a super busy mom with adorable but rambunctious children. Or maybe you’re a hard-working sales rep putting in 60 hours+ of work each week. Your time can start to feel like it doesn’t belong to you anymore, and far too often you may feel like stretched taffy pulled too thin.
But how can you fully give to your children or to your job if you haven’t given anything to yourself?
This may mean taking extra time for yourself to meditate. It could mean curling up with a good murder mystery for a half hour before bed or indulging in the latest episode of your favorite guilty pleasure (if you love The Bachelor, I’m right there with you). It could mean making it to your daily CrossFit class or going to a weekly yoga class. It could even mean making a delicious snack for yourself and not sharing it with your kids!
The bottom line: fill your own cup first before you share with others. And don’t feel guilty about it. Just do it.
3–No More Negative Self-Talk
Another way to show love for yourself is to quit with the negative self-talk.
Seriously, stop. When you call yourself a name or criticize yourself, you are shrinking yourself from a human being of value down to a single element of yourself that you don’t like.
This can be a hard habit to quell, but it’s one that can have truly astonishing results. Think about it. You wouldn’t tell a 5-year-old that their crayon drawings look terrible. You wouldn’t tell your bestie that they’re hopeless for not knowing how to do their taxes online. And you certainly wouldn’t tell your loveable Grandma that she’s a basket case every time she smears pink lipstick on her teeth. (At least let’s hope you’d never do this.)
Yet how often do we berate ourselves and think negative thoughts like “I’m so stupid” or “I never get anything right”?
Instead of thinking of yourself as a total dumb-bat, rephrase the way you think about things. Try this instead: “Okay, so I don’t know how to relight the pilot light on my furnace. But there are YouTube videos that can probably teach me how to do this.”
4–Don’t Compare Apples to Oranges
Everybody is different. You don’t look the same, act the same, speak the same, or have exactly the same mind and heart and experiences as anybody else. You are a unique individual. Embrace it.
This is one I can certainly work on. For instance, I know that I’m kinda weird. I have a bizarre and irrational fear of birds (I’d never survive at Hogwarts with all the owls), I secretly cling to the hope that aliens and mermaids are real, and I’m addicted to reading young adult fiction that teenage girls obsess over, even though I’m a 32-year-old man. It’s like I’m becoming a crazy cat lady, but with books instead of cats. But I’m slowly learning that it’s okay to embrace your quirks. It’s okay to be different. Be weirdly you and own it and love it. And remember that no one is perfect, and perfect is boring anyway. Be flaw-some instead.
To make my point, let’s look at fruit. Say you are an orange. You are tangy-sweet, smell like a citrus-flavored candle, and are round with a thick skin. As an orange, why would you compare yourself to an apple? Or if you’re a strawberry, why look at a kiwi and think you’re somehow less? Every fruit has a little something to bring to the fruit salad. Likewise, we all have something unique to bring to the table.
5–Leave the Past in the Past
If we’re being real, life isn’t always hunky-dory and chances are you might have some old emotional wounds or negative memories lingering on the surface in the present moment. If you find yourself dwelling on an old memory you’re not too fond of, catch yourself and say, “I’m not that person anymore.” Because truthfully, you aren’t. You don’t have to be defined by mistakes or incidents from the past.
Another thought—try accepting where you are right now, in the moment. Sometimes we give ourselves a hard time simply because we are feeling emotional. We feel like we need to be stronger. But it’s okay if you might be feeling a little down about something. Instead of beating yourself up for feeling down or emotional, give yourself permission to feel the feels for a bit. And then let it go and move on to greener pastures.
Allow Self-Love into Your Life
Self-love isn’t something you arrive at overnight. But by taking small, daily steps, you can begin to truly appreciate your uniqueness. You absolutely can love yourself just the way you are (and I sincerely hope you will).
After all, you’re pretty flaw-some.