A Beginner's Guide To Self-Love For The Self-Loathing
Despite writing a book, maintaining a blog, and owning a business dedicated to self-love, I happen to know a thing or two about self-loathing. The truth is, I have spent so much time hating so much of myself — my nose, the way my belly rolls in a bikini, how shy I get in social settings and the fact that I can never think of the right things to say in the moment —; I have loathed the very essence of my being, and prayed to wake up as someone new, someone different, someone more confident and eloquent and also three sizes smaller; I have been there (you know where) and back again (a couple of times); and against all odds, I have learned (am still learning) to love myself.
This self-love stuff, though, it doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s not a switch you can flick, or a button you can press, or even a set destination you can arrive at. Nope. Self-love is a journey. A long one; a never-ending one. In a society that is constantly telling us we’re not enough, it takes a lot of commitment, dedication, and focus to change your thoughts, change your mind, and change your life.
But you’ve got to start somewhere, right?
This is for the girls who are still reading this because everything I’ve said above feels familiar to them; this is for the girls who want to laugh out loud in public places and really mean it, this is for the girls who have grown up in a world that tells them they need to be thinner and taller and quieter and confident and have a big butt and also smile more but not too much and be funny and not give a f**k and never cry but make a sandwich and also that your words don’t matter really.
This is a beginner’s guide to self-love for the self-loathing.
Always start your day with love.
The moment you open your eyes in the morning, start your day with love. Say the word. LOVE. And then make a mental note — or better yet, a physical list — of everything you love about yourself. (Please save the modesty, here.)
While the task sounds simple enough, it can be quite daunting when you’re new to it. Don’t be afraid to phone a friend or ask a family member to help you out. Seeing yourself through another person’s eyes is often a great way to gain perspective.
Try to be mindful of what you focus on. Remember that self-love isn’t just about body image or what’s on the outside. It also has everything to do with what’s on your inside as well. Believe it or not, there is no one else on earth like you, and that alone makes you worthy of (self)love.
This practice not only sets the tone for the rest of your day but also gives you ammo to dip back into, if or when you start feeling down during the day. Remind yourself of the list you made this morning; add to it if you can.
KonMari your social (media) circles.
Marie Kondo — better known as KonMari rocked the world with her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and ever since my sister-in-law introduced me to the idea of it, I’ve been applying KonMari’s methods to my personal social media accounts.
If you’re unfamiliar with KonMari, her principle is basically to take stock of everything you have; pick it up, touch it, and evaluate how it makes you feel. If it brings you joy, you get to keep it. If not, out it goes.
Now, considering how much time we spend on our phones, engaged on social media, and blindly scrolling our feeds, I’m suggesting you KonMari your social media circles, ASAP.
Step 1. The Broad Range
Examine all the social media apps you have or use.
Does the app bring you joy? Fine. You get to keep it.
Alternatively, does the app contribute to your angst, anxiety, or self-loathing? If yes, it’s time to sign off...indefinitely.
Step 2. The Close Range
Now that you’ve narrowed your social media apps down to strictly the ones that bring you joy, it's time to reconsider who you’re following.
Literally, take the time to go through your list and curate a feed that makes you feel good.
If someone you follow’s posts bring out any negative feelings at all, it’s time to unfollow them.
Need help? Read Urban Alchemy’s The 4 People to Unfollow (Like, RN) on Instagram.
Clearing the negativity makes room for positivity.
Here are 6 Instagram Accounts to Follow that will actually make you feel good.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
I started seeing a counselor. There I said it.
And I know now, that it doesn’t make me weak or broken or a failure. Actually, quite the contrary — it makes me strong.
And if I’m being completely honest, it’s not as scary as I had built it up to be in my head. It’s actually kind of empowering. To know that you need help and then ask for it is one of the most incredibly empowering things you can do for yourself.
Whether you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or simply feel like you’re stuck in a rut, there is always help available to you.
Seek a counselor or a therapist. (At this point, I’m not really sure if there’s a difference?)
Find a medical professional.
Phone a friend and ask for help.
Join a support group.
Enrol in Love Bomb Bootcamp.
*Feature image via Instagram.