Wanna know how to finally start liking yourself? Read this.
We've all heard about (and felt) that teenage self-loathing. Y'know, when you're so consumed by your own inadequacies, it's hard to focus on anything else?
But what happens when that teen angst follows you into adulthood, and you just can't quit berating yourself? When your default response is to talk down to yourself, and talk down about yourself at every freaking turn, you're self-sabotaging your own chances of happiness and contentment in the process. And that's no bueno honey.
Please know that I've been in that headspace and I wholly appreciate how hopeless and never-ending it feels. And if you're there right now, I feel for you honey 💋 it is not fun. But! ☝🏻 There is hope lovely, 'cause if I can start liking myself from where my head was at, then you most definitely can! 💪🏻
Outwardly, I probably seemed like a happy-go-lucky kinda-teen ('cause we were all pretty good at hiding our dramas right?), but there was so much I hated about myself though, crikey was there! It was mainly in terms of my physical appearance, and at the time, I could never even entertain the idea that there might be a time in the future when I could feel differently. I thought that was how I was going to feel and see myself, forever. And it wasn't helped by being called things like 'freckly ming' (yep, ming, remember that ol' 90s chestnut?), 'no tits' (despite being a nice handful of a 34C at the time 💁🏻) and 'handsome' (which did not mean I was cute btw).
As much as I don't want to reinforce the idea that you need outside love to begin to love yourself (because I don't believe that to be true), I was lucky enough to enter a relationship back then with someone who gave me a crazy amount of love and support, at a time, in hindsight, when I really needed it. It sped up the process of helping me start to see myself differently.
Fast-forward to my mid-20s though, and while I no longer had issues about my appearance, I still didn't like myself, or the young woman I'd become. I was near-obsessed with my career, earning more and I put it ahead of everything, even my own health, despite not feeling at all fulfilled in what I was doing (I was completely lost). I was a naggy, bossy girlfriend to my then-boyfriend, and I couldn't help but try and mould and change him, albeit terribly unfairly looking back. I was addicted to cleaning my house and trying to maintain it as some kind of ridiculous showhome too, rather than enjoying it and making happy memories in it. High maintenance was a pretty accurate description of me at that time, fo' sho'. But the crux of it all, was that yep, I didn't like myself, but I also didn't like my life. You all know my story from hereon in and some of the drastic decisions I then took. And I'm not advising my extreme choices as a fix-all solution for you too, but the value I'm trying to add here, is that a lot of your not-liking-yourself is likely to be down to you not-liking the choices you've made to create the life you're living in either. And they're probably choices you didn't even realise you'd made, but you made 'em all the same.
What I've found is, if you don't like your life, it's pretty hard to like yourself. If you do like your life, it's pretty hard to dislike yourself.
Plus the BEST news is, you're still in the driving seat of your life honey. You're not imprisoned in it. And you can change whatever you want to! To feel ballsy enough to make some changes though, a bit of ground work's probably needed on your self-love, and I've a box of tricks to kickstart things for you;
Remember there's only one version of you on the. whole. entire. planet.
And that really is amazing and something to truly be valued. Really pause and think about this 👉🏻 You are never gonna happen again. This life you have in front of you is never gonna happen again, and the talents, quirks and experiences you've been gifted with, only you have. How freaking cool is that?!
Now my intention here is not to then pile the pressure on you to live some amazingly full and beautiful life because it's 'so unique and magical'. My intention is to help you understand that you, yes you, are unique and magical. You're not like everyone else and you have a duty to share your you-ness with the world. Not hide it away. Embrace your individuality; your big-big toes, your ridiculous whiney-laugh, your dry skin, your penchant for Michael Jackson, your wonky teeth, your amazing cake-eating-skills...whatever. Don't try and disguise them or fight them, own them. Because they're never gonna happen again.
Try out being your biggest cheerleader rather than your biggest critic for a change.
I spoke up about this on Instagram a short while ago, and it's so so powerful. Really absorb this 👉🏻 Who's the person who's with you every single time you're crazy-terrified, and when you're crazy-excited? Who's the person who's with you when your heart's breaking in despair, and when it's howling with laughter? Who's the person who's with you when you're mortified in embarrassment, and overwhelmed with pride? It's you. YOU are already the BFF you've always wanted to have by your side through everything, and you're talking to her like she's a piece of sh*t.
Every time you hear yourself putting you down, which I guess is multiple times a day, just try and swap the voice out. Replace your bad habit with a good one and say 'Nope, actually I'm not a feckin idiot for stumbling over my words in that meeting. I did an ace job overall and I just happened to get a bit stumbly at one point. NBD.' Basically, just talk to yourself how you'd talk to your closest buddy if she'd had a bad day. You certainly wouldn't greet your BFF with, 'Well you're a feckin' idiot aren't ye?' would you? So it's simple, nip it in the bud and stop talking to yourself that way.
Send yourself surprise love notes.
Whatever sequence of events led to your self-loathing in the first place, somewhere along the way you deduced that you're not worthy of love, affection, success and so on. And while that's obviously a difficult experience to go through, I've some awesome news for you: you're now a grown-up and you get to decide how worthy you are 🙌🏻 that's right! You get to decide! Like I said before, you have a choice on whether you carry this with you until the end of time, or change the record and start playing a new, more uplifting one.
A lovely way to do this is to send yourself some love notes, 'cause who doesn't love a freaking, surprise love note!? 😍 All you need to do is indulge in buying a set of post-its, fill each post-it with a cute message for yourself (tip: if you reeeeeally struggle with saying nice things to yourself, again just imagine you're writing them for your bestie). Just things like, 'You are enough' / 'You look gorge today' / 'Have you done something different with your hair? It looks cuuuuute' ... you get the vibe. And then stick them/hide them around your home as little surprises. Inside cupboards is particularly effective 😇 It sounds barmy and ridiculous but it works. Even if it just helps you start chipping away at your perception of yourself: that you're actually a game girl with a sense of humour, and who doesn't take herself too seriously.
Actually, she already sounds cool, can we be friends? 😊
Try something you've always wanted to do.
As I mentioned before, the chances are, a good bit, if not all of your self-loathing is down to feeling disappointed in yourself, maybe even feeling like a failure for being nowhere near bossing life yet or not liking the life you're living in. If this rings true for you, you have a case of needing-to-bring-back-the-you and listen to yourself.
This can be a life-changing choice like a new career or business, or it can be something small, like having a go at salsa or a heels class or whatever. The point is, when your inner-you is seeing that you're starting to look after you, and starting to listen to you, you begin to realise you're on the same team and you start to have more fun together. Trust me 👊🏻 you and you are gonna get on a treat 🙌🏻
Do something cute for other people.
This is probably the quickest route to liking yourself if I'm honest. And it doesn't even have to be as selfless or virtuous as volunteer work or raising money for charities, even though that's freaking awesome. Just the simple act of doing something nice for someone else, with no expectation in return, really can press fast-forward on the journey to liking yourself.
Sending someone you love a surprise card, chocolate bar or bunch of flowers, recording a stupid video on Snapchat and Whatsapp-ing it to a friend who needs their day brightening, or turning up at a relative's house unannounced with some yum M&S food. Whatever, it doesn't even need to cost anything – it's simply the act of you witnessing yourself as a good person, helps you see first-hand, that you are in fact a nice person! And hey presto, you begin to think you're not so bad after all!
All these seemingly small, insignificant things, genuinely do all build up the love level on your self-love-o-meter. They're reinforcing beliefs that being uniquely you is awesome, you are enough just the way you are, you're brave and game enough to introduce new, exciting stuff into your life if you want to, and your heart is deliciously wonderful and selfless. And the most powerful bit, is that you introduced those beliefs all by yourself. Yep. YOU did it my friend! 🍻
I imagine there must be someone you know who really needs to hear this and needs a little helping hand on the road to liking themselves. It would just be the coolest thing ever if you could share this with them ❤️️ until next weekend gorgeous-face 💋 mwah!