A Lesson in Self-Love (Plus 9 Ways to be Kind to Yourself)

I am constantly learning about myself and the world around me. One of the most important lessons I learned was how to love myself. I learned this lesson, not surprisingly, by failing to do so. And I’m still, at times, failing to do so.

I believe that in order to find yourself, you do have to lose yourself. It’s only once you’ve lost contact with yourself that you discover who you really are. Now I’m not saying to go out there and deliberately act like someone you’re not. But making mistakes might actually be the only way to re-discover your true self.

I have always felt a need to prove myself – call it insecurity or what you will – but this need drove me to do stupid things. When I didn’t love who I was, and felt that I needed someone to love me in order to love who I was, I made a complete fool of myself. Looking back on it now, it didn’t feel like I was being myself at all because I was trying so hard to be what I thought others wanted me to be. I wanted to be like everyone else, fit in the crowd. I think that as a society, we don’t encourage people to be individuals anymore and that puts a lot of pressure on certain people, especially teenagers, to act and behave a certain way. I’m not saying that there’s a right or a wrong way to be, I’m just saying that if you’re going to do something or act a certain way, make sure it’s because it’s who you are, and not just what you think you should be doing. Because when you try to be someone that you know you’re not deep inside, that’s when the self hatred gets worse. It’s a cycle. You go against your nature, regret it, punish yourself, hate yourself and it comes around.

So the lesson to take from all of this is that loving yourself comes from knowing who you are. It comes after years of making mistakes, years of failing, of finding yourself, peeling away the outer layers to get to the core of the real you. It’s not an easy road but it’s one worth embarking on. You’ll make mistakes, stumble along the way, but once you find your true path, it’ll be so worth it.

Here are some steps you can take to show yourself some more love:

  1. Forgive yourself. Sounds simple enough, right? Yet, we find ourselves blaming ourselves for past mistakes time and time again. This has got to stop. Tell yourself it’s okay to make mistakes. After all, you’re only human and nobody’s perfect.
  2. Don’t talk down on yourself. Every now and then, you come across a jerk who puts you down and fails to see all the positives about you. When that jerk happens to be you, you’ve got no excuse. It’s not okay for you to say mean things about yourself (or others for that matter) so whenever you catch yourself doing that (as I have many times before), take it back and apologise, replacing it with something nicer. For example, if you catch yourself saying, ‘What the hell were you thinking? What is wrong with you?’ First stop and apologise. Say something like, ‘I’m sorry, that was really mean. There’s nothing wrong with you’ and then replace it with something like, ‘It was just a mistake. I’m sure next time you’ll do a lot better. Keep trying, you can do this’.
  3. Don’t compare yourself with others. Whether it’s the way they look or what they have in their lives. Remember, they’re at a different point on their path than you are. If you compare their happy ending to your beginning, you won’t enjoy the beautiful journey that awaits you because you’ll be too busy comparing.
  4. Acknowledge your accomplishments but strive for more. Be proud of yourself, you’ve come so far. Never forget that. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back. You’ve done a great job, but now it’s time to do even better. Let’s push ourselves.
  5. Remember that beauty is not skin-deep. It’s the beauty that’s on the inside that’s going to shine on the outside. Never forget that appearances aren’t that important and they’re also highly subjective. What I may think of as beautiful (as in, physically attractive), you may not agree with and vice versa. Keep in mind that confidence and a big bright smile can make someone of average looks (again, subjective) appear ten times more attractive. It’s all about confidence, peeps!
  6. Don’t give a damn what the haters say. Not everyone is going to like you. Fact. But that doesn’t mean you’re not an amazing person. It just means you’re not on the same wavelength. Which is fine. Sometimes, personalities mesh. Focus on the people who do think you’re amazing because these are the people who actually care.
  7. Remember that you’re loved. Sometimes it’s easy to think that we’re alone in this and that no one loves us. But if you look around, you’ll find you’re surrounded by friends and family who really love you and would do anything to make sure you’re okay. And even if you are truly alone, just remember that you’ve got you and you are stronger than you think.
  8. Play dress up. We’ve addressed the fact that appearances aren’t that important and that it’s not good to rely on external factors but once in a while it’s fun to experiment with fashion and makeup, and it can give you a dramatic boost in confidence. When you look good, you feel good so why not take that extra time to work on your style. Just make sure you’re doing it for you. Remember to accentuate your features without trying to change them.
  9. Pamper or reward yourself. Every now and then, treat yourself to something new. That dress you’ve had your eyes on or a slice of cake with a cup of coffee at a nice cafe. You deserve it. Since it’s easy to forget how special you are, remind yourself with a reward for a good work or for simply being the amazing person that you are.

Hope this post helps you and that you enjoyed reading it.

Till next time!

XX. Nina.

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