Self Love Club
Self love is a journey. I think for most of us, self love can be a difficult thing to put into practice. When I hear people say that “you are your own worst critic,” over the years I’ve come to realize that this statement is very true for myself. In every part of my life, I had become accustomed to the negative thoughts that flowed in and out of my head throughout the day. It had become a nasty routine to criticize any and everything about myself. The toxic voice often said things like,
You’re not pretty enough.
You’re too strange.
You’ll never succeed.
Why are you even trying?
No one likes you.
You’re too much.
You’re not enough.
Thoughts like these tended to plague my mind day in and day out. When talking to my therapist, she said that negative self-talk can become a habit, and for me it had. It was to the point that I didn’t even recognize when I was doing it, I just let the thoughts weigh on my shoulders and slowly infect my self worth. In the past year, I realized that this was a habit that I needed to kick. I learned that being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others.
Over the past year, I learned some tips and tricks to be more kind to myself and show myself love. While it’s still a battle everyday, I do my best to remember that I am enough the way that I am and I am worthy of love and kindness just like anybody else.
So here are my tips and tricks for curating and cultivating self-care and self-love.
Be Intentionally Kind
A big step for me in being kind to myself was to combat the negative thoughts with positive ones. When your mind has been trained to be mean to yourself, you have to be intentional in looking at the good. Whether it be giving yourself a compliment, recounting the things you did really well that day, or repeating a positive mantra, being intentional in doing this everyday will help to retrain your brain from looking at the negative to becoming more positive. Sometimes keeping a journal to write these things down can help you to remember to keep this practice every day.
Take Care of Your Physical Health
An essential role in loving yourself is to take care of your physical health as well. It’s been studied and proven time and time again, that exercise greatly boosts and promotes a positive mood. Exercise releases endorphins in your brain, which has been shown to combat the effects of depression and anxiety and will give you an emotional pick-me-up. So do something active that you love: run, dance, lift weights, take a kickboxing class, whatever gets your blood pumping that you enjoy doing! Also make sure you eat well too, to get all the nutrients your body needs to be happiest and healthiest!
Be With Your People
When going through especially dark times, I tend to find myself feeling alone and unwanted. Because of these feelings, I will isolate myself even further from those that love and care about me. This is something you absolutely should not do. While it’s ok to have a day or two where you want to be left alone, please don’t keep yourself from the love and care that your friends or family can provide. Even when you feel unlovable and unworthy, you are wanted, you are cared for, and there are people that want to help and support you through the highs and the lows. Don’t isolate yourself from people that love you. One of my absolute favorite quotes comes from the ever so lovely human, Jamie Tworkowski and it reads as follows:
“You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living, breathing, screaming invitation to believe better things.”
I believe in this statement wholeheartedly. We are created to live in a community with each other. To help each other up when one of us falls. To speak words of hope and kindness into the hearts of our fellow friend. There are times when life will feel so heavy that you feel like you have to battle it out alone, but I urge you to allow the people in your life who love you to hold your hand through these hard times and to carry the weight of the world with you.
Treat Yo' Self
I’m an avid fan of the show Parks and Recreation, and within this show a new “holiday” was born: Treat Yo Self Day. The idea of a Treat Yo Self Day is this: you spend an entire day indulging in the things you love, whether it seems really silly or not. Having a Treat Yo Self Day is a great way of intentionally showing yourself love and treating yourself the way deserve. A Treat Yo Self day can look any way that you want it to, because it’s all about you. So if you love to create and work on art projects, you could spend a whole day doing that. Or if you love movies and television and you decide you want to binge watch the entire season of Stranger Things in one day, then go for it! Pamper yourself, let yourself eat comfort food that you love, take yourself out on a “date,” indulge in your passions and marvel at the beauty of the world we live in.
Finally, just remember that it’s okay to not feel okay. There are going to be days that no matter what you do, the world just feels like it’s working against you, but in these times please don’t forget that things will be okay. You are enough just the way that you are. You are perfectly imperfect and are worthy of love and compassion. Allow yourself to give these things to yourself because you deserve it.