“You’re always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company.”
– Diane Von Furstenberg
You’d think life would be easy at age 22, but things couldn’t be more confusing.
A lot happened in one year. I graduated from college, got engaged, and got a job in the field I wanted. I even moved to a new and beautiful city but my excitement only lasted a few months.
You see, an uncomfortable feeling settled in and I started feeling stuck and unhappy. But it just didn’t make sense because I had everything I could ever want. I sat with this feeling for a few more weeks and then I realized what was wrong. Now that I had finished school and had nothing big to worry about, I had nothing to complain about externally, I had no scapegoat to distract me from my bigger problems.
Those bigger problems had everything to do with my self-loathing attitude. I struggled feeling comfortable in my own skin, had a huge amount of insecurities, and unresolved inner conflicts that all bubbled to the surface as soon as I didn’t have something to distract myself from them.
Once I realized this, it all made sense. I realized that no matter what I achieved or had in my life I would always be in a state of lacking. I would always find a way to feel unhappy. My perception of myself is the lens in which I view my life and the world around me. My toxic attitude was rendering me incapable of seeing the beauty that was in front of me.
I knew I had to do something because if I kept living this way I would continue setting myself up for an eternal state of lacking. I would be choosing to stay the same and relinquish my right to choose what is of my life.
So I decided to choose to create a life I love and that starts by learning how to love myself again. I began searching for tools and practices that would keep me on track. I envisioned a brighter future and decided to go for it.
These are three of the biggest daily practices that have helped me start learning to love myself again.
Replace Your Negative Self-Talk
First I started becoming aware of what I was saying to myself. I was saying things like; you’re stupid or ugly, sometimes multiple times every day. Once I knew what my thoughts looked like I could start changing them.
What helped me a lot was focusing on what I can control and what would be a constructive thought without judging myself. Every time I would catch myself thinking I was stupid, I’d pause, take a deep breath, and change my language. For example, if I was struggling with a project at work it wasn’t because I was stupid but because I need to develop a specific skill I was lacking. Once I knew that I could work on that skill and get things done.
Incorporate the Growth Mindset
One of my biggest blocks to self-love was thinking I wasn’t smart enough. Slowly shifting to the growth mindset, in which I believe that my intelligence is something I change and build upon, has been hugely important. Instead of saying I can’t do something, or that I’m stupid, I say, I can’t do something …yet.
The point of the growth mindset is to believe that you’re abilities are always expandable. You can always grow as a person as long as you put in the work. You should check out the book on this topic here.
Letting go of Conditional Love Statements
I noticed that I would subconsciously set myself conditional statements to love myself.
For example, if I lost a few pounds, then I loved myself. Or if I score an A on this test, then I think I’m smart and feel proud of myself.
You can see how this is unsustainable because you’ll always find a way to set yourself conditions. Instead, I decided to let them go completely. Of course, it’s a gradual process but eventually we’ll stop being so hard on ourselves.
I started identifying what conditional love statements and reframe my mindset to appreciating what I have now. So what does that mean? For me, that meant asking myself if losing those few pounds or getting that a really mean I’ll love myself. Not really, because like I said earlier, I’ll always find something that I can start loathing about self. So having those things really isn’t the answer.
So now I’d love to hear from you, do you struggle with self-love? If so, which one of these tips do you think will help you the most? Let me know in the comments below.
Photo by Leo Hidalgo