You’re always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company.– Diane Von Furstenberg
I thought life would be easy in my early 20’s but things couldn’t be more confusing.
Amidst an array of life transitions and changes, I was struck by a profound insight into the importance of self-love.
This is the story of how I learned to choose to love myself, transforming my life in profound ways.
Choosing to Love Myself Amidst Change
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 to feel 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 through 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 love myself and create a life I love. I began searching for tools and practices that would keep me on track. I envisioned a brighter future and decided to go for it.
Daily Practices to Love Yourself
The following are three daily practices that have helped me start to love myself again:
1. 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. Whenever I thought 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 needed to develop a specific skill I was lacking. Once I knew that I could work on that skill and get things done.
2. Develop a Growth Mindset
One of my biggest blocks to self-love was thinking I wasn’t smart enough. Slowly shifting to the growth mindset, where 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.
3. Let Go of Conditional Love Statements
I noticed that I would subconsciously set myself conditional statements to love myself.
For example, if I lose a few pounds, then I’ll love myself. Or, if I score an A on a test, then I’ll 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 these conditional love statements and reframing my mindset to appreciate what I have now. This meant asking myself if losing those few pounds or getting an A meant I’d love myself. Not really, because like I said earlier, I’ll always find something that I can start loathing about myself. So having those things really isn’t the answer.
In conclusion, choosing to love myself has been a transformative journey.
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.