Why Self-love is the Healthy Habit You Need
- Why hating yourself sucks
- I’m learning to love myself (and why you should too)
- Contrary to what your inner voice says, Self-love is NOT selfish
- How to get started + 3 ways to change how you see your Self
- But wait, there’s more!
Here’s Why Hating Yourself Sucks
Let me know if you can relate to this…
Too much of my life was wasted on wanting to be somebody else. For a long time, I thought that my life would be better if I could be this person who had all their shit together. I wanted to become this version of me that always finished everything on her to-do list, whose body was free of bumps, lumps and wrinkles, and who made Instagram-worthy, perfectly-heathy meals.
So much of my life was hyper-focused on trying to change what I looked like – because I thought how I felt inside might change too.
If this is your, allow me to save you the time and pain. If you don’t love the body you live in right now, you won’t love the body you live in after you lose five pounds, or go to the gym six days a week, or cut out carbs.
Constantly fighting to change who you are, or what you look like, is a thief of joy.
Without self-love, the energy that motivates your actions comes from an evil place. When I started really listening to my inner voice, I realized just how hateful I could be. I suspect you’re guilty of this too.
I realized that many things I did every day were an effort to change how others saw me.
Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here – change CAN be good. But, I can assure you, my intentions were NOT good.
For a really long time, I believed that if I just looked the part of the person who had all their shit together and oozes confidence, I would become that person inside. I had totally brainwashed myself that if I could just change my physical appearance, then more people would like me. Sadly, I know I’m not alone. And maybe you’ve felt this way before.
Here’s the deal: You do NOT need to change ANYTHING about you to start loving yourself.
You are enough.
I have this sticker on my laptop so that I’m reminded of that truth every day!
Truthfully, I feel so sorry for the person I was five – or even ten years ago. Every day, that girl was bullied and belittled – by the person closest to her. Herself.
She didn’t feel worthy of love, so she needed validation from others. She didn’t think that she deserved a break, so she worked herself into the ground. She didn’t realize that she could have boundaries, so she was taken advantage of.
Without any Self-esteem or Self-love, your life can feel empty. It can feel like you don’t have a purpose.
By spending so much of my day-to-day criticizing my flaws and analyzing my shortcomings, I became a hollow shell of a person. It was hard to feel happy about anything. And it was hard to recognize that I deserved better.
It took a long time, but I finally had the “A-ha!” moment. Living a life where you don’t love yourself, and all of the nasty behaviors that accompany that mindset, sucks. It’s an empty, unhappy existence.
You (and I) don’t deserve to feel like this! ☝🏽
Maybe you’re ready to take the first step towards a more loving life.
I’m Learning to Love Myself (and YOU should Too)
Let me be clear, self-love is not an overnight miracle. As much as I would love to say that I woke up one morning and decided, “yeah, you know what, I’m an awesome person who deserves to live the life I’ve always wanted.” It wasn’t that easy.
Though, I did start with what felt easy. I tried to accept that I didn’t deserve to be treated the way I was treating myself. Similarly, I tried to set gentle boundaries with others.
Honestly, I needed to start by acknowledging the person that I was – the broken parts too.
Maybe you’re also tired of living a life with the burden of self-hate. How does that old adage go? If you really love someone, set them free.
Set your Self free with forgiveness.
By first accepting who I was and what awful things I’d forced my body, mind, and spirit to endure, I chose to forgive myself. No one can change the past, but each of us has the power to effect the future. And only you have the power to change how you treat your Self.
Because what might start out as a choice to forgive your Self turns into more profound compassion. Over time, you foster that love until it turns into a mindset, and THAT transforms how you talk to and perceive your Self.
Myself vs. My Self? What?
You probably noticed that I made a distinction between the two.
I like to think of my Self as it’s own being. It helps me find motivation to treat it with kindness, compassion, and respect. My Self is a reflection of my mind and spirit. It’s my personal lens through which I see the world and respond to it. Myself is my physical body. It’s what groans when I have to get out of bed early and whose shoulders slump when I’m feeling less-than.
By first choosing to love my Self, I’ve learned to love myself.
Self-love can be hard. You’ll be challenged every day. But, the freedom from your negativity is so worth it.
And I’m not perfect. Hey, no one is. But I’m trying. And screw what Yoda says!
Trying to be a better person for YOU is enough. Because you ALREADY are enough. Even if there are parts of you that you don’t like, you can still love your Self. Example: I really don’t like that I feel like my success is measured by my productivity, but damn. I’m trying. And hey, I’m still worthy of love.
Contrary to What Your Inner Voice is Telling You, Self-Love is NOT Selfish
So I’ve piqued your interest. You’re still reading! But, maybe you have some objections. Right about now, you’re probably thinking, “I don’t have time for this,” or “I don’t know what my life will look like if I abandon what I know. What if I lose control?”
Here’s the exciting part. By choosing to build a loving relationship with your Self, you also build your inner locus of control.
What’s an inner locus of control?
Your inner locus of control is defined by how much you believe that you have control over your own actions. You believe that your success is thanks to your grit and that you control your own life. Things don’t happen to you. You make things happen. You take action and put out the energy you desire into the universe – and the universe delivers.
By having a refined inner locus of control, your Self is empowered. You feel more independent and are liberated from your self-doubt.
You can develop a stronger inner locus of control by changing your Self-talk.
Let’s take a quick pause. I want you to think about your core values. What are some things that are most important to you?
Some things that come to mind personally are kindness, family, and authenticity. These values are the things that align my deepest friendships and bring me the most joy. However, before I began my Self-love journey, these were the parts of my life that I was falling short.
I wasn’t kind to myself, so I hardly had any genuine kindness to share with others. How could I fill up others’ buckets when my bucket was already empty?
I love my family, but I had a hard time feeling present when I was with them. I missed out on many special moments because I was so preoccupied thinking of the things I should have been doing or should have been saying. What I loved most about my friends is how real they are with me – yet I was actively quieting my authenticity with my Self-hatred.
What’s up with that?
Turns out, when you’re busy giving everyone else the love and attention they deserve, you don’t leave very much, if any, for yourself. Prioritizing kindness means prioritizing yourself. Imagine the person you could be if you weren’t running on empty. Imagine what outpouring of love you’d feel if you took the time to love your Self, first.
That doesn’t sound selfish to me.
How to Get Started + 3 Ways to Change How You See your Self
By prioritizing kindness, I became a more compassionate person. I attracted the kinds of people I wanted to be around. And not the people that I thought I wanted to be around. No. By choosing to love my Self, I found people that actually make me feel like the best person ever.
If you’re ready to join me on this quest to discover the beauty of a life filled with Self-love, here are 3 magical ways you can change how you see yourself (and Self 😉).
1. Spend mindful time alone
This tactic has looked the most different throughout my journey. It began with something simple, like taking myself to a coffee shop and finally starting that book I kept meaning to read. Another activity I enjoyed was going to the grocery store…with intention. I would splurge on ingredients and a bottle of wine, then treat myself to a special home-cooked meal and a movie that I (emphasis on the I) wanted to watch.
Now, one of the things that I most look forward to is exercising. This was the most challenging relationship I had to heal, and it’s all because I used to exercise for all the wrong reasons. I worked out because I felt like I had to, or that it would change the way I looked for the “better.”
Today, I exercise because it’s an hour of no talking, 100% alone with my thoughts time. I exercise because it’s a seriously effective way to manage my stress and reduce my anxiety. I exercise because I love how at peace I feel in my body after a cool shower following a hot sweat sesh. It took a long time to get here, but I can promise it was so worth taking that first step.
Because you know what happens now? I don’t feel panicked, or less than, when I miss a work out. I enjoy the luxury of downtime on vacation. I move through workouts (and life) with profound gratitude for my body’s strength and health.
2. Never say negative self-talk aloud. Don’t give it that power!
This tactic is most helpful when you have loved ones who help keep you accountable (bonus if they ask you to reciprocate), but you can definitely rock this one solo.
When you finally decide to give in to Self-love, you’ll begin to realize just how normalized negative Self-talk is. I’m sure you’ve already found yourself in one of these situations. Maybe you even took part.
Imagine you’re at a dinner party with your close friends. Grinning, everyone is leaned back in their chair with their plates cleaned. When your host stands up to go plate dessert, people start to object.
- “Oh, no more for me! I need to burn some calories before I eat anything else!”
- “Ugh, I can’t say no! Guess this means I’m going extra hard at the gym tomorrow.”
- “I really shouldn’t. [grabs stomach] I already feel so bloated and gross.”
Like seriously, who wants to hear that? Stop talking about insecurities and Self-loathing. It’s time to ditch this social norm.
When I see myself in a situation like that, I speak up! Kindly tell the people around you that you really don’t care to hear why they can’t just shup and enjoy the chocolate cake.
Okay, maybe you’re not quite there yet. I’ll admit that I can be pretty extreme when it comes to this stuff.
But, instead, let’s start with you. Don’t you dare say anything negative about how you look in a picture. Even if you don’t believe it, say, “Awe, that’s great, we look so happy (goofy, silly, adorable, etc.).” Eventually, you’ll start believing your Self.
Yeah, this stuff actually works.
Once you’re more comfortable, maybe you kindly ask your friends and family to abstain from the Self-hate pity parties too.
For now, maybe you try hyping yourself up in the morning with some affirmations while you get ready for work. Psst. Standing in front of a mirror rocking the Beyonce pose and saying aloud, “I am beautiful. I am exactly who I’m supposed to be,” really did the charm for me.
Today, I actually love the body I live in. And, the good news, you can too!!
3. Find things that spark joy, and do them everyday.
Let’s start right now! Think of some things that bring you happiness. It can be an activity, a hobby, events you enjoy – anything! Christmas? Sure, let’s say you love Christmas. Do you know how you can spark the joy of Christmas and the holiday season? Random acts of kindness.
Gift people kindness and show them you care with simple things:
- Give someone a compliment. Bonus points if it’s NOT about their physical appearance!
- Flash a smile to the stranger you pass by at the coffee shop.
- Call a long-distance loved one.
- OR buy your friend an uplifting sticker just because it reminded you of them.
For me, it’s journaling with my collection of unnecessarily expensive pens and brushes. It’s playing a card game with just my partner as we settle in for the night. It’s using my curated-to-me coffee bar every morning and taking the time to froth some almond milk.
Though they might seem small on their own, they add up to something big. Because eventually, your day is filled with wonderful little reminders about why you should love your Self, and why you should love living in your body. Our mind and body is all we’re given – so it’s time to show them the love they deserve.
Here’s Some Help for You on Your Self-Love Journey
Self-love is a challenging journey. It needs to be cultivated and practiced. Really, it’s just like any other healthy habit. It works better if you attach it to something that you do daily. It’s time for it to be the season of self-love!
So, that’s why we’ve created this daily guided journal. Take the challenge to reflect on the moments of your day. Celebrate your wins. Acknowledge your missteps. Be excited about the process ahead and the results that follow. Are you ready to start loving your Self?
Let’s say it all together now – Self love isn’t selfish!
Seriously though, healing your relationship with your Self is hard. But I’m telling you that those inspirational quotes you have saved to Pinterest can only do so much.
If you’re ready (and willing) to set your Self free from your own negativity, it’s going to take some work. You’re going to have to practice every day to make that healthy habit stick.
So, I hope that by sharing the 3 easy ways I learned to cultivate a deeper love for my Self – you have the courage to try. Because trying is enough. You are enough.
What’s something that you can do TODAY to show your Self some love? Share in the comments below and tell us more!
Last Updated on September 29, 2022 by Kristi Coughlin