When you hold yourself up to a perfect ideal, you are telling life that you do not deserve love, respect, or any other good thing unless you meet that ideal. Of course, it is impossible to be perfect, so you end up feeling like a failure because you never get what you want. The good news is that you can change this!
Feelings of low self-worth are startlingly common. Worse, low self-esteem is at the heart of many, many of the issues, including negative life experiences or have difficult health issues, such as ulcers, kidney stones, or gaining weight in the stomach. You can love yourself and you can begin to feel better in your life and body.
You wake up in the morning, stumble out of bed, and go to the bathroom. Wiping the sleep from your eyes, you look in the mirror. “My God! I am gorgeous!” you say to yourself. “Wow! I’m practically a movie star!”
Doesn’t happen this way, you say? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone.
While I am being somewhat silly about the positive feelings you should have toward yourself, I am completely serious about learning to love the body you are in. Sure, you may want to change some aspects of yourself, but you can decide to love them even while you are changing them.
In fact, I wouldn’t just say that you can decide to love them, but that you need to.
By loving what you are at the moment, you begin a process of holistic change. You send out a more positive energy to all around you, which allows you to attract better people to your life. You gain confidence in yourself, which allows you to accomplish more and to stand up for yourself when you should.
In effect, loving yourself as you are at the moment is the key to changing yourself into all that you dream to be.
If you find that difficult - or practically impossible - to imagine, try these simple exercises to begin flexing that “self-love” muscle:
1. Look yourself in the eye in the mirror and say, “I love you.”
Now, this does seem easy, but it can be a horribly difficult task for some. Go easy on yourself. If, as you try this, you feel like running away or breaking the mirror, take a deep breath. Walk away from the mirror. Calm yourself for a moment. Come back. Look in your eyes again, and try, “I am okay with myself.” Once you are okay with being okay, try moving to, “I like myself.” Work on that for a bit. Finally, move to “I love myself.”
2. Change negative self-talk to positive self-talk.
Focus on how you talk about yourself throughout the day. Do you comment on your “love handles” or joke about your “batwings?” How often do you put yourself down during the day?
Don’t finish a negative or self-deprecating comment. Instead, stop yourself and change the comment to a positive one - or, at the very least, a neutral one.
Bringing your awareness to the hate you direct at yourself is a critical (and often surprising) step in developing self-love and a positive body image.
3. Dress in a way that makes you feel good.
Do you find yourself stuck in a rut of dressing in yoga pants or sweatshirts? Has it been a long time since you put any care into how you look?
If so, you are only reinforcing a negative feeling about yourself. By changing the way you dress and taking some time to look good, you will begin to take more pride in yourself.
It’s just about an instant cure to a negative body image.
Find clothes that make you feel good. Iron that shirt you love or put on those terrific heels - even if you don’t have anywhere particularly important to go. Take a few minutes to dab on cologne, put on make up, or do your hair.
It is amazing how much better you will begin to feel, and even more importantly, when you take care of yourself, you send a signal out that you are worthy of even better from life. This begins a cycle that allows you to develop a better sense of self.
Who knew that clothes had such power?
Go out and love yourself today. You are one of a kind!