We’ve read the articles, we’ve read the posts, we’ve read how we must love ourselves deeply and connect with our true self. We’ve read how we must embrace the extra weight, the dark circles, the imperfect life and stop comparing our lives to others on social media. We’ve read all the best selling self-improvement books, the books that tell us not to give a fuck and books about how to be more Parisian!
We are told to stop doing all these things but we aren’t told how to actually do it. I don’t know about you, but I’m more strong-willed than that. Tell me to jump off a bridge, I’m gonna give that one a miss thanks. So same applies when people just tell you what to do! You just ain’t gonna do it – well, not without some guidance!
I’m not qualified to claim I know the secret of loving yourself, I’m just a lifelong student of self-development and I’m still learning myself – I’m still a little way off but I’ve made monumental progress over the last few years. Sure I have read the books but did they really make long-term changes to my perception of myself? Of course they had some impact but in fact, it’s down to us to take responsibility and look within.
There is no “one size fits all” magic book or journey, we are all so different but I do believe the foundation is the same and it’s definitely a starting point. Sometimes, that’s all we need to spark making those positive changes for the journey of loving ourselves – some basic starting point.
Placed at a crossroad, it has the potential to feel far easier to choose the self-destruct path rather than to self-improve. The self-improvement journey is not always an easy one. We have to dig deep and we are often faced with the past, areas where we need to heal and discover the truth about ourselves and our behaviours.
To unveil the mask we hide behind and the facades we create on social media and the bullshit we feed our friends and family and sadly ourselves; we need to open ourselves up to change and to do that, we must take the first steps.
So how can we lay the foundation for those steps on improving the way we love ourselves? Here are some tools I have picked up along the way so far.
- Think of your journey as a new beginning. A chance to start over. Right the wrongs and move forward. I journal a lot of my goals and desires so a great place to start is by writing down in a journal what you want to see more of in your life. What brings you joy and where do you see yourself in years to come.
- Make a promise that you will be kind to yourself during this process. Promise yourself that no matter how small the victory, you will reflect and be grateful for each step in the process. Be grateful for your victories by acknowledging them and by writing them down then express how each one made you feel.
- Connect with your creative side. Using what you have written in your journal, be open to reaching these goals in a creative way. For example, if you see yourself being more cultured and want to travel more but haven’t stepped foot outside your own town for some months, then consider taking a course in a whole new town or plan an adventure day somewhere you’ve never been before.
- Stay grounded. It’s easy to get caught up in change and moving forward – we can become dizzy in the process and our egos can get the better of us. Staying grounded is a hugely important part of the process. We view things in a more controlled, balanced way by being grounded. There are many ways we can ground ourselves – I particularly like to meditate and use visual tools to ground myself or by simply taking a walk in nature.
- Go along for the ride and trust the universe. Trust your journey is going to take you to a happier place. Ride that wave of life as best as you can. Try saying yes to things you’d usually find yourself saying no to. Step out of your comfort zone once in a while. Take a new route to a regular destination and see what happens on the way. Trust the universe will bring you, want you need.
- Forgive yourself and others. This can be a hard one as so many of us hold grudges. But forgiving ourselves and others for the wrongs frees us from the shackles. Grudges are detrimental to ourselves and those around us. Grudges are sponges for negativity and poison us from within. Seek ways to forgive yourself and others. Compassion for others starts with being kind to ourselves. I particularly enjoy chakra healing and cord cutting meditation. You can find others ways like reiki, other alternative healing practices or religious prayer.
- Respect and value your life. If I was to rewind back to 8 years ago, I would have laughed if someone told me that they saw me happy, with two beautiful children, a non-smoker, non-drinker, vegan, a working mother, who also blogged and pursued dreams and ambitions. The way I respect and value myself, my life and those around me now totally smashes away that destructive person I became all those years ago. I feel like I don’t really know who that person was but I still show that part of my life gratitude because I had that path for a reason and I will be forever grateful for any suffering I endured to be where I am today.
- Stay focused and determined. You might not reap the benefits of change straight away. Sometimes any karmic change feels like a lifetime away. But it will come and it will appear in the most glorious of times just when you least expect it.
- Share your love and happiness with the world. Spread love like it’s confetti! Let each smile bring joy to someone else’s day. Let that act of kindness change someone’s week and let that love shine brightly on those who you hold dear to your heart. I love a good quote especially if I can be moved and inspired by them and some of the best come from music. As simple as these are, here are some of my favourite quotes from a song called Go Far by Will Heard and Rudimental… “Every day is a blessing, the sun shines for you and me” and “Go far, spread love.”
Truly loving ourselves is an inside job, not one we work out externally. We all come in different shapes, sizes, colours and backgrounds. To truly love yourself, you must like what you feel about yourself not what you see in the mirror – that comes after but remember this is not the goal. It’s about loving our unique and individual souls.
I hope this inspires you one way or another and you can connect to this on some level. Even if you take the smallest thing away, that’s still a huge achievement so make sure you celebrate that and be kind to yourself.
Light and love.