AIN'T NO SHAME IN THAT SELF LOVE GAME: 9 WAYS TO SHOW YOURSELF THE LOVE
THE TIPS: 9 WAYS TO SHOW YOURSELF THE LOVE
I'm a realist first and a dreamer second; always pragmatic and only (very) occasionally wistful. So you're not going to find me frolicking around chanting affirmations in the moonlight or tattooing an image of my naked body across my back. Yet. Honestly, I hope I dig myself enough to do those things someday with unbridled enthusiasm, but for now the below are quick, easy self love baby steps that even the most practiced in self-criticism can bear.
- Buy yourself flowers. They don't have to be anything fancy or expensive, but they certainly can be if you're in the mood! I love Trader Joe's $3 freesias.
- Write down one thing each day that you like about your body AND another thing you like about yourself in general. A little positive reinforcement goes a long way when you've grown accustomed to a negative internal monologue. I pick things like "eyes" and "my sense of humor".
- Find at least 5 minutes for yourself each day when you can do something that brings you peace, makes you smile or makes you feel grounded. For me this is journaling and meditation. And snuggling my stinky doggie.
- Take yourself out on a date. How much time do you spend tending to everyone else around you before you consider your own needs? A LOT, right? Yeah. I thought so. Give yourself that same consideration by carving out a time to cater to your needs and wants. Think about what sounds incredible to you right now. A burger and a movie solo? A picnic in the park with your favorite books? A day at the spa? Whatever it is, schedule it and make it happen. Even if you only do this once every few months, it is glorious. Trust me.
- Respect your boundaries and ask others to do the same. You know your own limits, what you're comfortable with and what you're not, what is good for you and what isn't. You do you and don't be afraid to ask your spouse, friends and colleagues to respect your choices while you do.
- Give yourself a break, physically and mentally. When you're super sore and tired, take a day off from the gym and curl up with a book instead. Sad or pissed or frustrated? Take a breath and ask yourself what you need to feel better. Then DO IT. Taking time to take care of yourself does not make you weak or selfish. It makes you wise.
- Pick one thing you can do to reduce stress and try it even once a week. Meditate for 5 minutes (I love the Headspace app for guided meditation), try yoga or play around with taking 5 minute walks during your work day when your stress hits peak levels.
- Get sufficient rest. Since this can be a tough one to tackle, especially with careers and kids and life in general, try picking one day each week when you don't set an alarm or simply allow yourself to linger in bed with the newspaper. Rest is free and readily available and also the greatest gift you can give your brain and body. It's impossible overstate the power of sufficient rest.
- Eat more greens and nourishing foods like whole fruits and vegetables and healing superfoods. Try starting with more veggies in even few meals out of the week. Baby steps are just fine!
I've suffered a lot of heartache in my life and more often than not by my own hand. I started to pick myself apart when I was in grade school, long before I even entertained the idea of accepting or even loving myself. An intrinsic desire to be better, stronger, smarter, skinnier, happier, kinder, more compassionate, more successful, more cultured, more generous, more accomplished, more everything has driven me in every chapter of my life. Somewhere, somehow I got the idea that if you tried hard enough you could fix anything, make anything perfect, make anyone whole.
Some might say that never letting good enough be good enough has yielded positive results for me - a lucrative (but unfulfilling) career, a dramatic "fat to fit" transformation (awful term, and an oversimplification), an epic travel diary worthy of Conde Nast. I can't deny that being unsatisfied with the status quo has served me in some ways. But the tricky thing with relentless self improvement and endless life upgrades is that they're accompanied by an underlying "not good enough" message that replays itself like a broken record. And unfortunately, no career, relationship, body or lifestyle can fill in the deep chasms forged by such a damaging missive.
After a couple of rough years and some hard-won clarity, I see now that most of the hardship I have faced with my physical health, relationships, career and overall wellbeing can be traced back to playing that message over and over. My heart breaks for young women who step on the "not good enough" treadmill as young as I did. It breaks even more for women in their 50's, 60's, 70's who have never been able to step off it. I know the pain caused by setting impossible standards, constantly comparing yourself to others, being your own worst enemy. We all deserve so much more. We deserve the kind of content, satisfaction and happiness that simply loving and accepting yourself can bring. Or so I'm told...
Truth be told, I'm just learning to untangle career success, personal accomplishments, physical appearance and people pleasing with my own sense of self worth. And f&ck is it tough work. But on the mornings when I wake up feeling comfortable in my own skin, or on the days when I walk down the street feeling strong and proud and good enough, I know it's worth every ounce of effort to change that old narrative. Above are the small things I do each day to show myself love, and a few things I'm currently working on. Together, they seem to be effective baby steps towards mastering the whole self love game. With all of my heart, I hope that you can find time to do even one of these things and to show yourself love everyday, because your relationship with yourself is the single most important one you will ever have.