1. Give up perfectionism. Perfection is impossible. Sorry, but it’s the truth. While it’s great to try to achieve your best, the constant struggle for perfection will break you down and turn you into a whimpering, shadowy version of your beautiful, confident self. Perfection doesn’t exist, so stop manipulating your physical appearance and mental ideals to conform to someone else’s ideals of what is perfect. Being yourself is always enough.
2. Love your reflection. When you look at yourself, try to avoid that whirlpool of self-doubt. My ears are too small for my head. Ugh, I’m breaking out on my chin. Why can’t my stomach be flatter? Pointing out your physical flaws is not going to do you any good. Instead, acknowledge the things you love about yourself. It may be difficult at first, especially if you’ve been hanging out in that whirlpool for too long, but with practice it will become easier and easier to embrace your imperfect reflection. Plus, the more you love your body, the more free you will be to morph into the self-assured, powerful person you’ve always wanted to be.
3. Feel no shame. You are worthy, so stop bringing yourself down. Shame causes us to shut down rather than open up. Closing yourself off from the world only serves to increase your self-imposed shame and drag you farther from finding happiness with your self. By developing shame-resilience, a self-developed pattern of constructive and positive ways to embrace and grow from seemingly negative experiences, you can come out the other end of hard times feeling stronger and more open to the world — as opposed to the weak, closed nature that self-shaming encourages. To put it simple, keep looking on the bright side and keep knowing you’re good enough, even when things look bleak.
4. Get creative. Laugh, sing, paint, dance, cook, play with Legos — do whatever creative venture feels right. The realm of creativity is often the first place where we allow ourselves to exist unencumbered by self-imposed standards. It’s a good place to start on your journey towards self-love. You don’t have to compare your work to that of others. You do not have to get it ‘right’. You simply allow your ideas and emotions to unfurl and exist in the world without judgement.
5. Stop talking to yourself that way. We all have negative self-talk, but if you are constantly berating and shaming yourself, take a moment to think about it. Would it be acceptable to say those things to anyone else you love? Probably not. So, stop harassing yourself and love yourself as much as you love others. You are pretty awesome. Treat yourself a little nicer.
6. Find your strength within. Whether it’s alcohol, food, shopping, mirrors or others’ opinions, we are all guilty of seeking solace in unhealthy places. Rather than trying to numb your problems with external distractions, look deeper within yourself. Trust that you are capable of handling anything that comes your way, and know that you are intrinsically good enough. We all have stress. Those who are happier with themselves know how to accept their stress and move through it rather than avoid it.
You are beautiful and unique. You are the only thing standing in the way of your success and happiness — not your weight, or your acne, or your career, or your wrinkles, or your hair, or your voice, or your financial situation, or your friends and family, or whatever else may challenge you. The answer to self-love and happiness lies within you. You just have to decide to embrace yourself.