7 things i wish i knew before starting my self love journey
I won't lie to you, self love hasn't been an easy journey for me. I had many hurdles to overcome, through my own mind and also what I had heard from people that surrounded me for years. If I had one wish left from a genie, it would be that no one had to go through the journey I had to go through, but still achieve self love. This is why I have created this list for you, to prepare you, to ensure you don't have to go through a similar situation.
Self love is an ongoing journey
No one goes from self loathing or even just self awareness to self love overnight. It is a journey and a process. There will be ups, there will be downs, but the important thing to remember is why you are taking this journey; to find self love.
Why are we drawn to smiles? Well it's simple, it shows happiness. And how do you achieve true happiness? Simple, self love. Now just because the answer is simple, doesn't mean it's easy, but it's a simple, two syllable answer.
1. Small steps are the easiest way to improve self love
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT go to the hardest step and try to conquer that. Don't be me. There's a reason they make steps a certain height, if a step is bigger than the designated height, we trip over our feet. It's the same in this journey, smaller steps are far easier to conquer than trying to reach the end before even starting. We have to retrain our brain to look at our entire lives differently, and that is no easy task, so use the hand rail (aka this blog) and take one step at a time.
2. consistency is key, but mistakes are allowed
Like with anything in life, being consistent is how you stay on track. It's how you stay accountable, how you track your progress and keeps you wanting to do better than the day before. But this is a journey, it is not a checklist that once all the necessary steps are taken that you will all of a sudden have no more critical, negative thoughts. There will be days where you won't be able to stay on the same track you were yesterday, and that's fine because just like a train, you need to b able to go off on different tracks, to be able to come back to the main track.
The most important thing to remember here, is that the sooner you can get back on track, the better you will feel. After all, self love is all about making yourself feel good.
3. childhood trauma
Believe it or not, but we are taught to be self critical from a young age. Ever give a compliment to a parent or adult in your life and they responded with a negative outlook one what you complimented? You brain is making connections that compliments must be countered, and that there is always going to be something wrong with you even when someone else sees you as perfect. When we are young, we are sponges, we absorb everything around us, and self love is no different.
4. replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts
This is maybe the biggest one for me, I was definitely not aware that there was such an easy way to jump into the journey. I found this exercise to be the easiest one as I could practice it everyday without fail. I honestly think if I had have known this technique years prior, my journey wouldn't started a lot sooner.
It's rather a simple exercise, but I will run you through step by step two different methods I have stumbled across and have personally tried.
This is the way I would recommend to begin with. Let's use an example of “I look fat in this dress”. I know, a cliche which I'm sure nearly all of us have said to ourselves at one point in our life. Now a progression is where we start by changing that thought process little by little. This is how you would change your view:
- I look fat in this dress
- I have managed to fit into this dress
- This dress looks just as nice on my as it does on the hanger
- I can pull off this dress
- I look really good in this dress
This is how I started and I will admit, it took a long time to actually believe the words I was saying to myself. Using the example above, you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself and you reverse it in your head, “I look fat in this dress” to “I look really good in this dress”. You must repeat this positive thought three times in you head, and if you are an overachiever like I try to be, say it out loud.
Now I am not saying this will be a quick fix, hell, I still catch myself being unkind to something I have done or look, but the more you practice, the quicker you will be to catch yourself, and the less those negative thoughts have hold on your mind.
5. self love doesn't equal narcisim
Self love is by definition, “a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth”
Narcissim on the other hand is defined by, ” Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), or narcissism, is a personality disorder characterized by a sense of grandiosity, the need for attention and admiration, superficial interpersonal relationships, and a lack of empathy.”
Now keep in mind that a true sense of narcissim is in act a personailty disorder and should you be dealing with it, I would recommend seeking professional help to betterunderstand yourself.
A few key big differences between self love and narcissistic traits are the following;
Narcissist have little to no empathy towards others, however you can have empathy and still exercise self love.
Self love requires you to surround yourself with people who know the true value of you, to have deep and emotional connections with those around you, where as narcissists will tend to have many friendships that never have a deep connection as they need a lot of admiration from others.
Self love is all about giving yourself love and attention, it doesn't mean making yourself centre of attention in a group setting or having everyone adore you at all times. A narcissist however is the opposite.
6. comparisons of your life to others isn't beneficial
Comparisons are second nature to us. We are constantly comparing ourselves to those around us and we also compare ourselves to the person we were the day before. Sometimes comparisons are a good thing, self comparison for example can lead you o be the best person you can be. However, comparing yourself to others can lead to unrealistic expectations of your life and future, as well as leading to negative thoughts surrounding your mind.
7. who you surround yourself with is important
Think about who you spend the most time with other than yourself. Those people are going to have a direct reflection on your personality, emotions and ambition. Toxic energy can be brought into your life through your interpersonal relationships, therefore causing a major strain on any self love journey. When preparing yourself for this change, it is important to remember that there may be times when you actually need to look at who is in your life and whether changes are needing to be made or not.
Don't stop trying to love yourself
Self-love is one of the most important things you can give yourself. It's the foundation that you build your life on, and it underpin's everything else. Without it, you're more likely to experience anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, and a host of other mental and emotional health issues. Plus, self-love is just plain ol' good for you! It allows you to live a fuller, happier life, and to be more present in every moment. So what's holding you back from taking the leap?
Thanks for reading! I hope these tips help you to build confidence and love yourself. If you have any other tips that have helped you, please share them in the comments below