The one person you will spend all of your time with, day and night, is you. You can’t get away from yourself. Wherever you go, you will find yourself there. You can’t run fast enough, or hide well enough to escape yourself. Since this is the case, it is important that you love yourself. Say it with me, in the words of Terrell Owens, “I love me some me.”
In life we go through many challenges. At times, negative words and actions are directed at us. We experience negativity in our homes, in our communities, on our jobs, and even in our dreams. Sometimes it may not be a negative word or action. It could simply be a lack of being acknowledged or cared for. Being ignored or neglected can feel terrible. I know people that would rather be treated poorly than ignored. Research has shown that most (if not all) people need love and human contact to develop into healthy and productive members of society. An individual may not be able to provide his or herself with the human contact that he or she needs, but as individuals, we can change the negative way that we treat ourselves. In this article, I will let you know some of the things I do to be loving and kind to myself. Let’s get into it.
Stop negative inner/outer dialogue. You can choose to be your own worst enemy, or best friend. Why tell yourself how horrible, unattractive, and unintelligent you are? Are those things even true? Everyone has made mistakes and handled situations the wrong way. It doesn’t make us horrible. It just means that we aren’t perfect, and we don’t always do the right thing. Most people, if not all people, feel unattractive from time to time. Some people feel this way more than others. We won’t all be beauty queens/kings, but then, who is? Which model or movie star do you see (including the men) who isn’t wearing makeup? They have a team of people working on lighting, preparing nutritious meals, 1:1 personal training, and providing for other needs. Once the photos are taken and the movie is shot, a whole team of people then re-touch the photos, find the best version of a scene, and edit everything until this beautiful, albeit unreal, version of that person is displayed for the world to see. Regardless of how attractive the “package” is, if someone is arrogant, rude, unkind, or conceited, they become less attractive. Attractiveness is about what’s inside and out. Work on your insides to increase your attractiveness on the outside. Feeling good about yourself on the inside is often reflected on the outside, and confidence (not to be confused with arrogance or cockiness) is attractive. You won’t believe the difference a smile makes. If you want to put on makeup to enhance your looks, then go for it. Whatever you do, just project an attitude of love for yourself, and confidence. Intelligence has to do with your ability to take in information, understand it, and use it. When it comes to intelligence, know that everyone understands things differently and is knowledgeable about different things. None of us knows everything. Some people can tell you all you want to know about engine decompression. Some people can do your makeup and make you look just like Natalie Portman. Some people can name every baseball player in the hall of fame. Figure out how you learn. Is it by hearing, seeing, or doing? Maybe it’s all three. If you want to learn something, then go learn it. Don’t expect to know everything. Even the smartest people in the world are ignorant about something. Maybe you will be the person to teach them.
Accept yourself for who you are. Who cares if you can’t throw a spiral pass, if you burn dinner almost every night, if you can’t change a tire, or if you can’t figure out the whole makeup thing. You may be a great listener. You may be able to figure out how to solve a problem quickly and efficiently. You may be able to braid hair like no one else. You may be a master of the barbecue grill. Your skills, or the lack thereof, all make you who you are. Everyone has gifts, skills, and talents. Figure out what you are good at. Work on getting better at those things. Learn to accept yourself just as you are, and love who you are.
Loving yourself just the way you are doesn’t mean that you should ignore obvious things about yourself that need to change. Be honest with yourself. If everyone complains that you never listen, then start listening. If you never admit when you are wrong and it is affecting your relationships, then start acknowledging your mistakes and admit when you are wrong. If you find yourself annoyed often with the slow moving people around you, work on being more patient. If you notice that your health is far from where it needs to be and you want to make a change, start taking better care of your body. If you are mad at yourself for not achieving a goal you have set, figure out if the goal was right for you. If it is, then make a plan for achieving the goal, and stick to it. If it isn’t, then let it go. I could go on for days, but you get the idea. Figure out what things you need to change about yourself, and start making changes. If you can’t think of anything, then ask someone you trust, who you know will be honest with you. Listen to them, and don’t be defensive.
Change is not easy, and it is especially difficult to change the way you think. You didn’t get the way you are overnight, and change is not likely to occur over night. Make a commitment to making small changes each day. I have to make a concentrated effort to make small changes in how I communicate with my significant other constantly during the same conversation because he values not being interrupted (imagine that! He’s crazy, right? J/k I know it is me. I chronically interrupt him, so I am working on being a better listener.). So, love yourself by working on you.
Recap of how I work on loving myself:
1) Get rid of the negative words and thoughts that you direct at yourself, and talk to yourself in a positive and loving way.
2) Learn to love and accept yourself for the things that you can do and the things that you cannot.
3) Be honest with yourself and work on changing the things about yourself that you obviously need to change.
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