Lessons in Self-Love

 

“Perhaps, we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done.” – Rudy Francisco

 

You’re with them every day. You know them inside and out. All of their favourite things, what they hate, their hopes, their fears, their secrets, their entire life story. You wake up together and can’t fall asleep without them. No matter what happens, they’re always there. Forever. You can’t get rid of them, even though sometimes you might wish that you could. You’re stuck with them FOR LIFE.

It’s you.

You’re tied to yourself forever. It’s the marriage contract that you never signed and you can’t divorce your way out of it. It’s a melancholic truth that we’re born alone, we live alone and we die alone, so surely it works out better if you love the only person you will spend 24/7 with for the rest of your life. Seems obvious, yet so many of us hate, dislike, or at least want to change something about ourselves. I’m surrounded by strong, confident, inspiring people who still manage to look in the mirror and dislike what they see, who can’t see the pure radiance and brilliance that I can, and I’m sure you’ve all got friends like that too. The ones you want to bash over the head every time they put themselves down when you know that they’re walking perfection. This one’s for them. Because we all deserve to feel comfortable in the skin we’re in. After all, it’s the only skin we’re gonna get.

Loving myself has been a long journey, one littered with speedbumps of loathing and self-destructive tendencies, and god knows I still trip up occasionally, but looking back and seeing how far I’ve come is what keeps me pushing forward. So, in this post I’d like to share a few things that have helped me. It’s possible that I could be trapped in my own little narcissistic, only child bubble here, but there’s always room for a little more love in the world, so why not direct some towards yourself?

(Side note: this doesn’t include self-improvement, we should always want to better ourselves, be kinder, learn more, eat well, etc. BUT there’s a difference between wanting to better yourself and despising yourself for not being ‘good enough’. This is about finding that balance if you’re leaning towards the harmful side.)

Okay, so here we go:

  1. Be Alone

There’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. Often when we’re struggling with ourselves, we surround ourselves with people, keep so busy that we don’t have time to think about the turmoil in our minds. But what if you confronted it? Because you’ll have to eventually. We all need family and friends for comfort at times, but what if you could do that for yourself? Understand who you are when you’re alone, and try not to be judgmental, simply take note. Meditate, travel, all that self-discovery stuff, because as wanky as it sounds, you really do learn a lot about yourself. Which leads me to my next tip…

  1. Date Yourself

Now, I am a huge fan of this one. Take yourself OUT, you saucy thing. Just think: going to the cinema and nobody tries to talk/snog you throughout the film, you can actually watch it. Eating at your favourite restaurant and no one tries to steal your food. Going shopping without someone complaining that you’re taking too long trying everything on. Seeing that weird abstract exhibition that you would have missed if you waited around to see if anyone would go with you. You get the picture. As amazing as your friends/family/partner are, you can’t rely on them to want to do everything that you want to, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. Go out and treat yo’self like the star that you are.

  1. Masturbate

You knew it was coming when you saw the title, you filthbag. No, but seriously, this is a good one, especially if it’s something that you’re not so comfortable with doing. By experimenting a little and getting to know yourself intimately, you develop a sexual confidence that will change the way you perceive your body. It’s a way of learning to love your body and the incredible things that it can do, whilst simultaneously giving you the confidence to know exactly what you do and don’t like in the bedroom. Also, orgasms are great, need I say more?

(And to my ladies that have been shamed for this since puberty and need a little bit of help, check out OMGYES.com and thank me later).

  1. Eat Well & Exercise

This one’s a given. When we eat better, we feel better. Exercise gives you mad endorphins that make you feel ready for anything. If you’re someone that struggles with your body image, this will help you both internally and externally, and just be amazed at what your incredible body can do. Look after it and it will look after you.

  1. Cut Out Toxic People/Habits

We’ve all had them. The judgmental ‘friend’ with the backhanded compliments, the bitchy co-worker who looks down on you, the manipulative partner that hinders rather than helps you. It’s difficult, trust me, but you can, and you have to, CUT.THEM. OUT. Sometimes, you have to be selfish in order to save yourself and your sanity. Those that bring you down and make you feel worse about yourself, intentionally or not, need to go. And, I promise you, you will survive just fine without them.

  1. Be Grateful

Now it might be the hip, new, trendy thing to do, but writing a gratitude list every day, or whenever you’re feeling particularly shitty, can really help you appreciate the skin you’re in. On bad days, maybe it’s only “I’m grateful that I’m still breathing”, but that can easily improve to a “I’m grateful for my intelligence/cracking sense of humour/fantastic bum etc…” when you’re really feeling yourself Beyoncé style. The more you reinforce the positive things about yourself, the more it becomes natural to think and feel that way on a day-to-day basis. Be grateful that you are the way you are, because no one else is gonna be.

And, finally…

  1. Believe That You Are Lovable

This one might be the most difficult (it is for me, anyway). Streams of bad relationships, worse friendships, troublesome family dynamics, mental health issues, heartbreak, loneliness and failure only help to reinforce the idea that maybe you are just not worthy of love. But let me stop you there, because of course you are. Most likely, you’re a decent human being. You’re not Hitler and someone even loved HIM. As you are a decent human being, I can guarantee that there is someone in this world that does in fact love you in some sense of the word. Whether it’s family, friend, partner, secret admirer, pet, or whatever god you may believe in, there IS love somewhere directed at you. And if you can’t see it too clearly, then you be the one to start that love campaign. Like attracts like, love attracts love, that’s why we’re drawn to those who have confidence and high self-esteem. You would never dream (hopefully) of telling someone else that they’re unlovable, so why say it to yourself? Believe that you can be loved, and love will find you.

 

So, there we have it! Some of these tips may work for you better than others, but, above all, the idea is to be kinder to yourself than you were before. Just give self-love a go. And hey, maybe one day you’ll look in the mirror and love what you see. I hope that you do.

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