Sometimes, no matter how well-intentioned we are to be body confident and self-loving, we mess up. We might find ourselves comparing how we look to others or looking at ourselves in the mirror criticizing our body, letting that negative voice in our mind rear its head again and so the negative cycle continues. Sometimes we’re truly quite awful to ourselves. We have all been there.
But what if there was a way to really love ourselves no matter how we look? To find a way of really understanding our bodies and treat them with continued love, kindness, and respect? Perhaps this new relationship you build with yourself will be infectious and show others how to love themselves too? Then the cycle of self-love would continue on and on.
Developing a respectful and trusting relationship with our body takes time and requires the same input as the relationships we have with our friends and family. Ask yourself, do the people you love need to be perfect in order to be worthy of your love? Of course not. We accept our loved ones’ imperfections and we focus on the positives, these are the things that attract us to them in the first place.
So perhaps the key to changing the negative narrative in your mind is to recognise when it is there, acknowledge it, apologise to yourself and make amends? Start to have more healing conversations with yourself and back it up with kind gestures? Self-care is really about loving and respecting yourself and looking after your well-being. At the end of the day, we are working towards harmony, safety, and joy in all of our relationships. So why not start putting that energy back into you?
Loving yourself unconditionally is a commitment, so here are 10 tips to finding balance and peace in your heart and with your reflection.
Rediscover yourself, what do you believe in? What do you value? What is on your essentials list? An essentials list would be the list of things that are most important to you. For example, taking time for self-care by implementing a good skincare routine or spending time outside with nature? Start the day with yoga? Perhaps read a great book and expand your mind or finally take that course you have been thinking of for years?
How many times do we put everyone else’s needs before our own? It is time to start to create your essentials list and make it a priority because if you don’t prioritise yourself and your life, someone else will. Starting the day with something that is for you will increase positive feelings for yourself and help you feel more satisfied at the end of the day.
Stop comparing yourself to others. As we grow up in a society full of comparison, we internalise this feeling of not being “as good as” or “not having enough”. We compare ourselves to others, looking to see how we measure up. The problem is that comparison only works to validate our fears and self-doubts. It never leaves us feeling better about ourselves, so break this cycle today and focus on your strengths because you have plenty of them.
Be honest with yourself. This one can be harder than it seems. Some of us are so good at self-deception that we don’t even know we’re doing it. Honesty is key in all relationships and your relationship with yourself is no different. It will be difficult to love your entire self if you’re lying or making excuses frequently. Taking responsibility and accountability for your choices, behaviors, and actions, will lead to deep self-respect and have a positive effect on your self-confidence. We are all here to learn and try to become the best version of ourselves, so you are not alone in facing your fears.
Let yourself off the hook for your imperfections. We are all guilty of being our harshest critic, so cut yourself some slack because you are incredible. Our bodies weather many storms for us, for example, the skin protects your vital organs, your heart pumps blood around your body between 60-100 times per minute and the human body sends 11 million bits per second to the brain for processing and your body can heal itself. Amazing right! So much is happening every minute inside of you that you are not aware of.
So, if you were to sit and think about your life journey to this very moment and consider all that your body has done for you to get you here, would you respect it more? No doubt. Everything about you is so unique and beautiful and being different is what makes you so very special.
Treat yourself. Make time for some self-care, have a candle-lit bath with your favorite tunes playing in the background. Why not take that long lunch out with friends or family? Wear that sexy underwear you were saving for a special occasion under that dress you love so much? Just wear it today even if you are working at home. There is no reason to wait because every day is special. We should feel good about ourselves all the time, so maybe sometimes popping on something special for no particular reason is the perfect remedy?
Accept the past and all the decisions you have made. They were the right choice at the time, and every decision we make brings us to the here and now. Life is a journey of experience, some good and some bad but it is all experience that builds us into the people we are today. It is important to remind ourselves we really don’t have control of the outcome because life has so many variables. However, we can control our intention and how we move through these experiences. Holding on to a strong intention will make the ups and downs easier to deal with. So maybe try to move through life with a more positive mind? Perhaps if you need a little help try a positive mantra like “I am fortunate to be able to find a new path in life — one that is good for me.”
What makes us human is our ability to feel pain, whether that pain is physical or emotional, we all have experiences of being hurt. But what separates us from each other is how we deal with that pain, grow from it, and move forward. As Buddha once said, “Pain is certain, but suffering is optional”. You have the choice right now to let go of past hurts and move forward with your life in a positive mindset to help manage your well-being.
Be present. This can be difficult and take some practice but it is worth the investment of your time. Being present is very important as you become most powerful when the action is performed for its own sake. The experience will not be as enriching if it is performed whilst thinking about the next. Read our blog here to learn tips on how to become more present.
Practice gratitude. In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve mental health, help deal with adversity and build strong relationships. Ways to cultivate gratitude are:
- Write a thank-you note.
- Thank someone mentally, just by thinking about them. Our thoughts are powerful.
- Pick a time every week to sit down and reflect on your life, its blessings, and your successes.
- Practice Metta or Loving-kindness Meditation. This will help with acceptance toward yourself and others by strengthening feelings of love, kindness, and compassion. As Buddha said ‘unless we treat ourselves with love and compassion, we cannot reflect the same on others.’ Further instructions on how to meditate are here.
- Keep a gratitude journal. By taking time to write down your daily experiences and feelings will allow you to observe your patterns and set your intentions for your life. @patternity published a wonderful step-by-step guide on how to look beneath the surface, find inspiration, and gratitude to live more positively. You can purchase ‘Be great, Be grateful: A Gratitude Journal for Positive Living’ through Amazon.
Find your tribe and curate your sphere of influence. The people you spend time with will influence who you become so learn to say no to toxic relationships and experiences, they are bad for your wellness and self-esteem. Setting boundaries will help you preserve and protect your own needs.
Take good care of your body. Treat your body with kindness and respect by eating well and exercising regularly. What we eat really does make a difference to our mental health. A balanced diet is key to your well-being because it will give you the energy to live more actively, help you sleep better, and live more positively.
Aim to be active daily and ensure you incorporate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Try to include strength exercises twice weekly as well. Find a sport you love instead of doing something your heart is just not into? For example, don’t run because you think you have to go for a run rather go swimming because you love it! Take paddleboarding lessons or maybe it is finally time to sign up for that flying trapeze course you have dreamt about doing for so long? Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from making it happen.
So, whatever it is that you dream of doing try and make some time and just go for it! Implementing change and setting goals will help you to become a stronger, happier, and healthier person who looks in the mirror and feel proud of what you have accomplished.
Start today, celebrate you, and say out loud, “I commit to treating myself with kindness, care, and respect because my body is brilliant and I love it”.