If I had one wish for everyone, it would be that everyone experiences deep, sustaining self-love. The kind that doesn’t get thrown off by social media posts or magazine covers. The kind of self-love that can only be built, not torn down. The kind of self-love that doesn’t stem from arrogance, but rather, pure, unabashed self-acceptance. Even if that sounds so far from where you are right now, it can still be yours.
All of the things I am about to list here are things I have done that have shifted how I think and feel about myself. Although I am still in the process of cultivating self-love (I probably always will be), I have come so far from where I once was. Regardless of where you are on your journey, I hope that these things help you along the way.
Write a Self-Love Letter
I listed this one first because it’s my favorite. I was encouraged to do this about a year ago through an online group mentorship and it was such a game changer for me. I recommend meditating or listening to positive music before you do this to get you in the spirit of writing nice things to yourself. Imagine you are writing a letter to the love of your life, except the love of your life is you. What would you say to them? Tell them why are you are proud of them. Say some things you love about them. Explain to them why you love them so much. When you’ve run out of sweet words and positivity, sign your letter and put it away. Pull it out when you need it and as many times as you need it. Nobody else ever has to see it or know about it because it’s all yours.
Thank Your Body
I have dealt with a lack of self-confidence in my body since a very young age. I remember being as young as 7 or 8 years old and hating the way I looked. This lack of self-confidence continued all throughout high school and now into college. This is something I am actively working on. Something that has helped me improve my confidence is simply thanking my body for all that it does for me. My heart beats day in and day out. My lungs help me take deep breaths when I’m anxious. The fat on my body protects my vital organs and keeps me warm. My legs allow me to walk outside in nature. All of these simply realizations have helped me have so much more respect for my body. In a society that is inundated with weight loss products and products/procedures to physically change our bodies, this can be difficult. Simply expressing your love & gratitude for your body is a small act that can combat what the media wants you to think. You can put your hand over your heart, on your stomach, or anywhere else and simply say “Thank you for taking care of me. In return, I will take care of you.” Say this as many times as you remember to say it. Ideally, at least once a day.
Mindfulness is the act of focusing on the present moment without judgment. In other words, you acknowledge your thoughts and feelings and simply accept them with no judgment. I think a lot of us tend to be our own worst critics which gets in the way of our ability to love ourselves unconditionally. When we practice mindfulness, we are fighting against the part of our brains that speaks to us negatively. Mindfulness can be practiced in a variety of ways, but the most popular way is meditation. I’ll link a website here that can take you through the steps of a basic mindful meditation. Mindfulness can also be practiced when not in a state of meditation simply by sitting in your higher seat of self. While you are in this “seat,” you are observing rather than thinking. You watch the negative thoughts happening, but you don’t give into them because you realize that they’re fueled by your ego. It is always important to know which emotions are coming from your ego and which emotions are coming from your heart. Your ego may tell you that you need to lose weight in order to be beautiful, but your heart knows that’s not true. By doing this on a regular basis, you train your mind to listen to your heart rather than feeding into your negative, egotistical mind.