My post for the 15 Things I Learned in 2015 was all about Embracing Your Place and being happy where you are now. Part of being happy where you are is learning how to be happy with yourself. Hence today’s item on my list:
Loving Yourself Isn’t Optional It’s Required!
Learning to love myself was super hard. I’m always my own worst critic. Maybe it’s the perfectionist in me or the drive to grow and be a better person with every passing day, regardless criticizing yourself daily is more hurtful than helpful if you’re guilty of that stop. Seriously cut it out.
I read somewhere that you should never say to yourself anything you wouldn’t say to a friend. Let’s take that a step further with you should only give yourself constructive criticism. When I would get up in the morning and get ready for the day I’d see my reflection in the mirror and so the inner monologue would begin…
“Wow, I look rough today.”
“Can my face be anymore chubby?”
“Look at that weird freckle. Gross.”
“I really need to lose 50 pounds or more like 100.”
Insert every negative self-image comment possible. If you read yesterday’s post I mentioned Negative Nancy and how that rude girl needs bound and gagged. Well she can be a persistent witch with a B.
First I had to become conscious of what I was doing to myself. Then I had to shut that voice up! When I would start berating myself I’d say, “No, that’s not true.” Sometimes this meant I had to walk away from the mirror and quit zeroing in on every little thing about myself I didn’t like. That’s tough but if I can do it so can you.
Once I mastered cutting off the negativity then I had to fill myself with positivity. Brace yourself, this is going to sound extra silly but I swear it works. When I would see my reflection even if I didn’t feel like it I smiled at myself. I found it lifted my mood a bit. And then I would compliment myself. I know sounds super crazy, right? Sometimes I would seriously start laughing at myself when I did this.
Then the first awkward compliments began. I started with a physical quality and an inner quality. For example, I would say. “I love my blue eyes and the way I handled that bad situation yesterday was on point.” For me, it was easier to compliment my inner self than my physical self. That was my weaker area so I had to put the emphasis on my physical self. With this came constructive criticism and I realized it was time to take care of my body. I’d spent a lot of time working on my emotional self but I ignored the physical health needs of my body. Because being fit has always been a great failure of mine. It’s something I’ve yet to master but I’ve come leaps and bounds from where I was this time last year. Yay for progress! (See what I did there? Honest constructive criticism. LOL!)
Little by little as the days passed I started being nicer to myself which in turn built confidence and allowed me to shine in a way I never thought possible. I’m not saying you should go around being all cocky. That’s not what loving yourself is all about. It’s having respect for your needs and realizing you can’t fully love and care for others unless you’re making time to take care of your own needs first. I struggled with this because it felt selfish to me. And selfish is the last quality I ever want associated with Michelle. BUT you can’t fill another’s cup up with love if you’re running on empty yourself.
You have to realize you’re a gift. You have things—talents, knowledge, a smile, a laugh, etc.—things that someone else needs. By loving yourself with a genuine love you can share that with others. Sharing love makes my heart happy. 🙂 This is no shocker. I mean I did used to have blog called Share The Love. Remember that?
I’m still working on loving myself and when I fail at something I’ve learned to not berate myself. Instead I look at the situation and make adjustments and observations so I don’t do the same thing again.
You know the saying you can’t fully love someone until you learn to love yourself. It’s true. Like seriously legit.
For me doing these “silly” things was how I learned to love myself. Maybe this will work for you. Or maybe you’re already ahead of the game and you know how to love yourself. If so, I applaud you!
You are special and a one of a kind type of awesome. Embrace it. Will everyone love you? No but not everyone can handle confidence and real honest love. But that’s not your problem. Learning to love and respect yourself however IS your problem. You can’t be joyful until you learn to love yourself. I mean YOU are the one person you can’t escape from. Why not be happy with yourself? It beats the alternative—misery.