If you’ve kept up with my recent gift guides for yourself, you know that I’m constantly looking for ways to develop self-love. And though it seems the internet has been in a frenzy over this for months, I wanted to write an honest piece (…cue vulnerability, eeek! ) with what I’ve done to help my ever-evolving self-compassion journey because it hasn’t always been perfect and it definitely always hasn’t been easy.
I found a lot of the advice circling the internet regarding self-compassion to be a little fluffy, you know what I’m talking about …
“Don’t sweat the small stuff!”
“Everything happens for a reason!”
(this is my favorite) “Don’t compare yourself to others!”
After 26 years of feeling awkward and uncomfortable in my own skin, I’m finally starting to feel like I actually love myself.
Half the time I’m sitting around thinking, welp, it took long enough. The other half of the time I’m like,
THIS IS PRETTY FREAKING COOL.
I put together a list of what I’ve done on a daily basis to FALL IN LOVE WITH MYSELF. I know it’s a work in progress so drop a note in the comments if there’s anything I missed!
STEP 1: REMEMBER THIS: WHEN SOMEONE PUTS YOU DOWN, IT’S REALLY NOT ABOUT YOU
Sorry, you’re not that important! Kidding, it’s true – when someone is taking the time to bust down your ego, it’s probably not even about you. Let me give you a few examples.
A few years ago I got dumped. I had been dumped before, but this case was particularly…special. The guy took the time to write a three-page hand-written letter with all the things he did not like about me. He didn’t talk about my looks, he talked about my personality. Qualities that I thought were fine…if not great. I was crushed, not necessarily because the relationship was over, but because what he said in this letter insulted what I believed to my core. Things that I was proud of. Things that I loved about myself. Although my sister made me burn the letter after my second phone call to her crying, I still held those words to be true.
I also started teaching cycling at a local studio in San Francisco in the past year. On some third-party sites, customers can review your class. After class I would obsessively check, pouring over the negative words written about me online. Although I got some great reviews, there was always a possibility for something negative. At first, I was constantly taking these reviews to heart.
IT TAKES TIME
So it took me a while to come to terms with this; it takes a special kind of person to go out of their way to write something nasty to someone else. In the case of my cycling class, if someone wasn’t providing constructive criticism – it never occurred to me that the person writing could have just had a bad day (or maybe they didn’t like me – they didn’t have to come back then)!
Most of the time when someone is taking to say or write something mean – they are dealing with their own problems. What kind of anger do you need to have bubbled up inside you to say something that puts down someone else?
STEP 2: START MEDITATING
You’ll likely hear me vouch for Headspace and other meditation apps time and time again. Taking the time to breathe and calm your mind – even for 5 minutes a day, does wonders for your self-love. The reasoning behind this is explained more deeply in the linked article. Meditation allows you to take passing thoughts, especially negative thoughts, and see them just as thoughts – rather than as a reality.
STEP 3: SURROUNDED YOURSELF WITH OTHERS THAT LOVE THEMSELVES
Negativity is contagious. I truly believe that! The more you can surround yourself with positivity and other’s that build themselves up and others around them, the more you will be able to love yourself.
And let’s say you don’t have the right person in your life to fill you up with positivity, I have a PODCAST for you. I started listening to The Lady Gang in the past year and have become obsessed. I’ll say that the point of this podcast isn’t necessarily showing others self-love, but luckily has been a by-product of the community they created.
This podcast is not only entertaining and wonderful, but the women on the podcast truly love themselves. They embrace the awkward and weird, in fact, they love sharing stories of when things didn’t go perfectly. Seeing others welcome the unexpected and unusual has honestly given me an example of self-love that I didn’t know existed. And I have laughed a lot. But that’s beside the point.
STEP 4: MAKE AN EFFORT TO HANG OUT WITH YOURSELF
I don’t know about you but I am NOT an introvert, I love being around other people. It’s how I get my energy. Up until a year or so ago, I was physically incapable of hanging out by myself. I don’t know if it was insecurity or boredom or just not finding entertainment in my own ways, but I started forcing myself to hang alone. I started with adult color books and moved to reading, and now blogging!
In my journey in finding self-love, I have noticed that I started hanging out more and more with myself. And be happy with that! Whether it’s cuddling up with a book or binging on Netflix, being totally happy with hanging out with myself has been an amazing step in falling in love with myself!
STEP 5: ASK YOURSELF, WILL THIS MATTER IN 5 YEARS?
I’m pretty tough on myself and it’s something that I know about my personality. I don’t like to do things half-way! One of the steps in my journey to loving myself was the ability to ask myself – will this matter in 5 years?
Most of the time, when something goes wrong, you can ask yourself – will this matter in 5 years? Because if not, it’s probably not worth your time or energy. And it’s definitely worth cutting yourself some slack.
So there you have it. Is there something you do differently to fall in love with yourself? Drop a note in the comments to help others start finding their self-compassion!