In today’s day and age, it’s hard to go a day without feeling at least a little self-conscious about who you are. All we see are weight loss products, fad diets, and plastic surgeries — all the things that make us feel like we’re not good enough. Don’t get me wrong — if that’s what you want, jump right ahead. But should we be made to feel like this is the only option we have? Is it really necessary that we all follow the same cookie-cutter regime?
As many of you reading this, I have gone through times where I wish I was someone else. I thought I would be happier if I looked or acted a certain way. However, thanks to going through that, I have learned what it actually means to love myself.
Some of the main ways that helped me see myself in a new light were these five vital rules I’ve learned along the way.
1. Stop defining yourself by the changes your body goes through.
Changes your body goes through can sometimes stop you from loving yourself. Don’t fall into that never-ending trap. Gaining or losing weight may make you feel different, but ultimately your worth shouldn‘t be defined by your waist size. Your self-worth shouldn’t be measured in numbers. The best thing about you isn’t your body or how you look. Who you are is so much more than that.
2. Allow yourself the power of positive thinking.
No matter the hand life might have dealt you, there is always room for improvement. When you stop seeing everything in a negative light, you start to see silver linings in every situation. For example, you’re caught in the rain and you don’t have an umbrella — at least you have a house with a roof and some people don’t even have that. When you look at the bigger picture, it’s easier to apply that positive energy to the way you see yourself.
3. Stop identifying yourself by your relationships.
It’s easy to let a relationship with someone, especially a romantic one, define you. It’s natural to identify yourself by the people in your life and how they see you. However, by becoming too attached to another person, you can lose who you are. You might begin to see yourself as only a part of the relationship, not a whole person. By identifying yourself by others, you forget that you are a unique and loving person all on your own.
4. Embrace your imperfections.
As we all know, nobody is perfect. Honestly, no one. Yet we all have the tendency to spend our time trying to be. We get so wrapped up in focusing on the parts of ourselves we hate that we forget about all the parts that are brilliant. We each have individual talents and qualities that help define who we are. Similarly, we each have our own shortcomings and flaws. Once you allow yourself to no longer harbor resentment about your slightly annoying laugh or your awful hand-to-eye coordination, you will discover all the other things you can be spending your time on.
5. Learn to take a compliment.
Accepting a compliment is one of the easiest ways to boost your self-esteem — especially if you’ve spent a lot of time putting yourself down. It helps you see yourself as others see you. So next time someone compliments you, say, “Thank you” and accept it. Don’t say, “No, I’m not” or dismiss what they said about you. Breaking the cycle and allowing yourself to receive positive affirmations is a key factor of self-love, and acceptance.
I know that loving yourself isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s also not something that comes easily. But I also know that when you accept and love yourself for everything that you are, you will be a lot happier than when you were constantly putting yourself down.
There is no one like you in the whole world. So spend your time embracing that and not comparing yourself to others and wishing to be something you are not.