How to unearth unconditional self-love
I've been away for a little bit, I haven't really had much to say or many positive vibes to spread. But, hello again. I've missed you.
To kickstart a new month with new goals, self-love seems like a good place to start.
Ladies and gents, the most important relationship you have to nurture is the one with yourself, and it's the longest, so let's make it a peaceful relationship.
It won't be smooth sailing, no relationship ever is. There will be bumps along the way but these things will hopefully help you overcome them.
Stop criticising yourself
I feel like we've been programmed to be hard on ourselves and strive for the best, but that can actually be really unhealthy. Setting goals, challenging ourselves and wanting to improve is great, but not at the cost of our self-love.
Change the way you speak about yourself. Instead of 'I haven't ticked everything off my to-do list today' or 'I've eaten too many treats today' or 'my body looks so unflattering in this dress' focus on the positive self-talk. Focus on what you have accomplished on your list, say 'that chocolate was delicious and I deserve to eat what I want' and 'this dress is beautiful'.
Language makes a HUGE difference. Especially when you're around friends, family, children etc - you can teach others to be more kind and compassionate. I've made a conscious effort to think about how I want to raise my daughter and I strive to be more like the woman I want her to be.
Something I'm working on is if I'm around someone that comments on someone else's weight or outfit, I make a point of disagreeing rather than just letting it slide so that I can set an example.
In terms of how you look, criticism is never constructive. You must challenge your inner critic at every opportunity and teach your brain to be kind to your body. Make it a habit to actively challenge your negative thoughts and remember - your body is amazing and you don't owe the world pretty.
Nurture your body
Although I am an advocate for eating what you fancy and without rules - I do believe that nurturing your body affects your mental well-being. I particularly like this article about eating for mental health: it's actually aimed at parents and their children but I think its useful for explaining how our diet affects us.
I've really enjoyed yoga at the moment because it makes me feel strong and peaceful. Each movement focuses on how the body feels and that can be super useful when many of us tend to get caught up staring in the mirror instead of working out. Learning to breathe whilst exercising has been really beneficial too.
Step out of your comfort zone
It can be tempting to stay in your lane and never branch out, but you must. Whether it's wearing something that you wouldn't usually feel confident in or trying out for a promotion at work or leaning a new skill.
I'm an anxious introvert so believe me, I know how scary it is but I always feel SO much better once I've stepped out of my comfort zone.
Try to be rational - what's the worst that could happen?
Wearing the dress might feel like a huge deal at first, but once you're out of the house, walk with confidence and no one will look twice at you. Own it girl because honestly, no one cares. Wear the wacky coloured trousers or the dress that's a little more 'out there' than you'd usually go for. There are no rules!
If you're in a similar position to me, applying for jobs and going for interviews has been so daunting. I've never really felt good enough for any of the jobs I've applied for and I've felt so out of my depth in the interviews - but why? I deserve to be there as much as anyone else, even if I have the least experience.
You always have something to offer.
I'm a huge believer in attracting what you put into the world, and people are drawn to confidence. Even if you have to fake it a little bit.
Be kind and keep challenging your inner-critic.
Make time for yourself
What I find really useful is alone time. If you guys have followed my blog for a while you know I love journalling. I like to make time to write down all my thoughts, feelings and goals. I also like to write down one specific goal and clip it to my mood board on my wall so that every time I look up I'm reminded of it.
An evening of self-care can do absolute wonders for de-stressing which can really put everything into perspective and relieve any tension or worries you've been experiencing. Like I said, I like to dedicate entire evenings to spending time with myself and being kind to myself.
Surround yourself with positivity
What you consume and your environment can have major effects on how you see yourself. I recommend following accounts that advocate for self-love and make you feel good about yourself.
Actively try to diversify your account and search for people that teach you something new and fill you with positivity and joy. I'm currently reading 'women don't owe you pretty' by Florence Given and she suggests we follow people that challenge our views and lead different lives to us, in order to educate us and open our eyes to new things.
Try not to live up to a certain image. Share what you want and what makes you happy rather than the 'instagramable' version of yourself. Put more positivity and kindness into the world that you want to receive.
Similarly in person, befriend people that make you feel good about yourself. If you find that a friendship isn't serving you anymore, you are allowed to let go, or at the very least distance yourself.
Don't forget those positive affirmations either - save them, write them down, read them aloud, stick them on your wall, make them your phone background!
Remember that you aren't broken: you don't need fixing
Our whole lives we've basically been taught that finding someone to love, and love us back, is our ultimate goal. But you can absolutely find that in yourself.
You don't need a 'other half' because you're already whole. Darling, you are a piece of art and no one will love you as much as you love yourself, so take a chance on this relationship, you won't regret it.
Don't be afraid to grow and regularly shed your skin
You must learn to love every aspect of yourself, including the cellulite and muffin top, but also the regrets you carry, the mistakes, the jealousy, the heartbreak and your ignorance. You must face all of those things head on and accept them in order to grow.
You will constantly grow, therefore the process of self-love is never-ending. You must practice and work on it each day, just like any relationship. Try to enjoy it along the way.
"Be good enough for yourself first, the rest of the world can wait"