Not so long ago, the word self-love was inexistent in my vocabulary. Instead, self-loathing and destructive behavior controlled my days. Looking into the mirror every morning, I couldn’t possibly imagine loving the person that I saw. The constant comparing with models in magazines, the pressure I felt from society, it felt unbearable. All I wanted to be is thin. What did I think would happen, and what did my life look like once I achieved ‘the goal?’ I’m not sure. Before I even knew it, I had a full-blown eating disorder. It took me years to comprehend that the elusive number game I was playing had no end game and that something had to change. I thought food was my issue, but I slowly began to realize that self-love, or the lack thereof, was the true root cause of my problems.
Do you know what that feels like? I’m guessing some of you might.
It wasn’t until I truly questioned myself, that I was able to move past the self-loathing that dictated my entire life and into an incredibly rich life. I now eat healthy because I want to nurture my body and work out because I want to feel fit and empowered. All at a healthy weight, whilst taking care of myself and still challenging my body and mind.
It is possible without all of the negativity and self-torture. I know it, because I’ve experienced it. I’m not saying that it is easy to learn to love yourself, but boy is it worth it.
Unfortunately, we are taught from a young age that it’s a big “no no” to love ourselves. Self-love is immediately associated with being egoistic and self-centered. But how are we supposed to love others if we cannot love ourself? Might I say this very issue is the cause to many relationship problems. I know it sounds cheesy and you probably have heard it a million times before, but really think about it for a second. All this searching we do in our lives to find happiness, doesn’t it always seem to come back to ourselves? We have to learn to fall in love with ourselves first and only then will we be able to be our true beautiful goddess self.
But where to start?
- Learning to love ourselves begins with self-dialogue. You might not even realize it, but most of us have that “inner mean girl” voice that constantly tells us we aren’t good enough, pretty enough, worthy enough. A good start is to post little positive affirmations on your mirror and read them to yourself every morning when you wake up. But that’s only the first step. To go deeper, we must make it a daily routine, ingrain it into every cell of our being and slowly but surely create new, healthier messages. Train yourself to wake up with positive thoughts and tell yourself that you are an amazing, beautiful and worthy being. Make it a rule that everytime you catch yourself with a negative thought, it will be followed by a positive. Rinse and repeat.
- Once you’ve got the positive affirmations nailed, consider creating a nurturing morning routine for yourself. Meditate for 5 minutes, do a little yoga sequence, do dry body brushing, oil pulling or write morning pages. It is so worth it to get up a bit earlier and start the day in a positive and calm manner.
- Be grateful. During your meditation or yoga, thank yourself for taking time for yourself. Thank your body for being strong and healthy and never missing a heart beat. When you notice the inner mean girl voice creeping in and trying to ruin your zen, just focus on your breathing and relax. “Fake it until you make it.” Not feeling grateful right now? If you begin to practice this ritual every morning, it will eventually seep into every cell of your being, and your core will then become grounded in self-love.
The breadth and depth of this process can be so emotionally powerful and rewarding. I encourage all of you to incorporate some of these tips into your daily routine and see how you feel with it.
And remember, guilt is so counterproductive to wellness. When our bodies are telling us to rest, we should give it the rest that it’s craving. I think that it’s all about being gentle with yourself, listening to your body and responding with self. If you don’t manage to get up those 10 minutes earlier to meditate, don’t sweat it – your body probably needed it and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it.