This is a guest post by Jackie from The Vibrant Dreamer.

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Do you want to embark on a self-love journey but you aren’t sure how to start? Here are four simple ways you can start working on your self-love! 

1. Compliment Yourself 

So I’m not going to lie to you… I used to scoff at this idea. I didn’t understand how this could actually work, and I certainly didn’t think it could ever work for me. I’ve never understood the idea of faking confidence and self-love until you suddenly just felt more confident. It’s always made more sense to me to try to build confidence and self-love, but I didn’t know what I was doing. 

Then I realized that saying nice things to yourself is a whole lot better than saying mean things to yourself. I didn’t want to be over the top and tell myself things I wouldn’t necessarily believe, so I started paying myself simple compliments.

Here are some examples of compliments you can give yourself:

My hair/makeup/outfit looks cute today!

I’m great at [insert activity]!

I did a good job accomplishing [task] today!

2. Replace Negative Automatic Thoughts 

Automatic thoughts are what we’ve been conditioned to believe about ourselves and others. In my personal experience, they tend to come up as a result of insecurity. Sometimes, we aren’t even aware of how negative they are and just start to accept them as fact. 

Here are some examples of negative automatic thoughts: 

Everyone hates me.

Her outfit is so ugly, how can she wear that in public? 

She’s so fat! She needs to lose weight. 

All I do is ruin everything and mess stuff up. 

These thoughts aren’t helpful and don’t help bring good into the world! They certainly aren’t going to do you any favors or help your mood. It’s so easy to fall into this line of thinking because we are conditioned to do so, but it is possible to combat those automatic thoughts! 

Here’s a few examples of some positive thoughts you can replace them with: 

I am loved; my family and/or my friends support me. 

She looks so cute and confident in that outfit! 

Her body is none of my business. 

Everyone makes mistakes and that is okay.

A good strategy I’ve found is to immediately counter an automatic thought with a deliberate one. This can help trick your brain into skipping the negative automatic thoughts entirely! 

3.  Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

I know, I know… easier said than done. I used to roll my eyes at this concept too.

When I was in an exceptionally bad place with my mental health, I used to nitpick everything about myself, especially my body. I would see random girls in stores and compare my body to theirs, and usually resulted in me feeling bad about myself. I only recently got to the point where I could leave the house without makeup on because I thought I was hideous without it. I’ve hidden people’s posts on social media before because it looked like they had the perfect life, perfect body, perfect friends, etc. 

But honestly? It takes way too much energy to worry about others all the time. On top of that, it doesn’t accomplish anything except dragging yourself deeper into a pit of self-loathing. I still compare myself to others sometimes, and I probably always will, but I’m a lot better now than I was. 

What helped me the most was remembering the following: 

Comparing myself to others takes away too much of my precious energy. 

Social media is curated; no one routinely posts their failures, their low moments, or their struggles. 

4. Allow Yourself to Take Time

You’re not going to be able to wake up one morning and decide you love yourself. I think that type of attitude is extremely harmful, and I feel like it actually prevents people from starting their self-love journey because they don’t want to fail. 

Figuring out how to love yourself is a journey. It can take years to figure out how to learn to love yourself in a society that constantly tells you that you’re not good enough. If you have a mental illness, it can also complicate your journey. 

But it isn’t impossible! You don’t have to complete your self-love journey in a specific amount of time. The time it takes will pass anyway. 

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