If there’s one thing I’ve struggled with over the years, it’s been my level of self-confidence and self-love. It’s one of the most important things in our lives that we should be nurturing and focused on growing, but yet it sometimes seems to fall by the wayside. I’ve read a few books recently and follow a lot of motivational accounts on social media that heavily focus on the idea of self-love. Loving yourself just as you are. Right now. In this particular moment. If you do that, I’ve learned that a few things tend to happen…
- You take better care of yourself.
- You believe in yourself more.
- You love others more (and better).
- You feel/think/do/act/speak better.
These all sound great, right? Don’t we all want to do these things and generally just become a better person along the way? To become a better version of ourselves? It is and isn’t as easy and wonderful as it sounds.
Why it is easy…
Self-love is all up to us. It’s about how we talk to and think about ourselves and our worth. It doesn’t and shouldn’t depend on anyone else. If we decide that it is only under our control, then it will be.
Why it isn’t easy…
Self-love is all up to us, but we don’t always allow that to be true. So why do we (and I) have a tendency to ignore taking care of and truly loving ourselves? Comparison, distraction, dissatisfaction, and general suckiness.
We compare our lives to others and find that our life or body or home may not look as “perfect” as other peoples. Especially on social media. Nobody’s life is that perfect, so as they say, stop comparing your reality to someone else’s highlight reel. The only comparison you should be making about yourself is you today vs. you yesterday. Are you happier, healthier, closer toward your goals, or better than you were the day before? Even if it’s just one of the above, because we can’t become better in everyone of these facets every single day, celebrate all of the victories and improvements along the way.
We distract ourselves with other people’s wants and needs. This is not to say that it’s not a good thing to care about other people’s feelings and what they need, especially if those other people happen to be your offspring, but it shouldn’t always come at your own expense. We use these distractions to form these terrible little habits called excuses. Excuses that have to do with a lack of time, energy, finances, motivation, resources, etc. to accomplish everything you want to. And because excuses are so easy, it makes loving and bettering ourselves not as easy.
We may find ourselves dissatisfied with our current situation and don’t know how to change it. Or we know and we just might not feel ready or strong enough to do it. What I’ve learned is there is never a right time to do anything. If you sit around waiting for the right time, you’re going to spend your life sitting around waiting. Time to act – this is the sign you’ve been waiting for.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a generally sucky situation. You lost your job. You got divorced. You experienced a trauma. You lost a loved one. I don’t want to downplay the severity of these situations and the impact they can have on a person by any means, all of the above absolutely, positively SUCK. But these are impactful situations and can seriously take a toll on our physical and mental well-being. And how we love ourself and others. If you experience one of these sucky situations, make sure to find support to get you through it, because though self-love is a solo ride, life in general is not.
Why it is wonderful…
Because, happiness. Less worry. Less stress. Living in a world full of optimism, action, and accomplishment. Setting a goal and achieving it. Appreciating everything that you have in life and everything that you have yet to have in life. Owning your journey, your struggles, your imperfections, your differences, and LOVING them! Forgiving yourself for your supposed shortcomings.
Why it isn’t wonderful…
For one thing, you have to lose or lessen your pessimistic view of yourself and the world. Maybe a little less sarcasm and losing the self-deprecating jokes when you’re in public (and private). So now you need to really worry what to talk about, right? Wrong, now you can just be your confident, amazing self and let your light shine. And a second thing is…well, I don’t have a second thing.
Notice how the section of why is isn’t easy to love ourselves is longer than all of the rest. These are the excuses coming into play again. These are all of the reasons why I, myself have struggled to really love myself for who I am and still struggle with it at times. Most of those struggles for me that have prevented me from loving me have had to do with my weight and body shape. I see that my lack of self-love, understanding of my worth, and my excuses have led me to where I am. But now I also see, and maybe I’ve known all along, that I alone have the power to change it. Yes, even I am powerful, strong, and worthy enough to change my circumstance. To change my body into a healthier version of myself, to change my mind into a happier version of myself, and to change myself into a more loving version of myself. Because when I love myself first, for the person I am right now, everything else will fall right into place.
But how do people change? Also, can people really change? It doesn’t necessarily happen overnight, but it can happen through consistent and thoughtful work towards a goal. That goal, of course, being to change. So what have I learned about the tools we have in our arsenal to accomplish this?
- Mantras: These are a word or phrase that represent positive reminders, you-go-girls, or goals you have that you repeat everyday. For example, a few of my new mantras include “I am strong, beautiful, brilliant, and powerful”, “I deserve and receive a vast amount of love everyday”, and “I am worthy, confident, and able to achieve my dreams”. These are the truths and positive words we need to tell ourselves everyday! Notice that mine are reminders of my worthiness of love and happiness, that my body is strong and powerful, and I am confident in who I am right now!
- Actions: These are the choices that we make on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis that align with our mantras and push us closer to our achievements. This is how we live our mantras and self-love. For example, I have been training for a half marathon for the past few months, so every time I went for a run, that action propelled me forward (literally) towards my goals. These actions were living out my mantra that my body is strong and powerful.
- Achievements: These are the little (or not so little) victories along the way. For example, reaching the finish line in my half-marathon this Saturday will be an achievement. It doesn’t have to be a half-marathon sized achievement though, it’s about celebrating the actions that pushed us outside of our comfort zone and forced us to change, even if it’s a little bit. These are the motivators that keep us focused and moving forward!
Without the right thoughts and words, it’s not easy to take action and celebrate achievements. Even the title of this blog post shows how easy it is to use words or thoughts to downplay our own achievements and worth. I think this saying is a bit funny, because during my first half marathon, someone was holding up a sign that said “You’re really half-assing this marathon!” I laughed then and still laugh now thinking about it. But then I thought about it a little more.
On Saturday, I’m running my second half marathon. I’ve been training and preparing for it for months, and throughout the training, my mindset about time spent running, how far is far, and how long I can run consistently have shifted. I’ve endured injuries and setbacks. I haven’t finished all of the workouts, but I did well overall. I got my butt out of bed early in the AM to run, and did some workouts at inopportune times or twice in one day to make it happen. And on Saturday, regardless of what I’ve done or haven’t done in the past, I’m doing it. So I thought, why can’t loving myself be the same? Something I work towards everyday, where I’m training my brain to think, act, and speak nicer to myself. To keep running with love regardless of what I’ve done and haven’t done in the past.
Self-love is not a destination, it’s a journey. It’s a journey that has it’s ups and downs, can be easy if we allow it to be, and is a wonderful state of being. It’s a journey I am continuing to follow and if you’re not already on it, I hope you join me so we can stop half-assing this marathon of life together.
Favorite Books I’ve Read on the Subject:
- You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
- You Are A Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
- Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
- The Body Book by Cameron Diaz
- Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson
Favorite IG Accounts to Follow on the Subject:
All of these women kickass and I’m lucky enough to know all of them! They continue to motivate me to work hard, be a badass woman, and live a healthier & happier life! Show them some love! And continue to show yourself some too!