You’ve got so many better things to be doing that hating yourself. This sounds pretty obvious, so why do we waste so much time being self-critical?
Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand.
Over the years, I have spent so much time crying about a non-existent thigh gap, or telling myself I’m unlovable – what a total and utter waste of my energy that was!
It doesn’t change us for the better, doesn’t help us to develop into the kind of person we want to be. Self hate just makes us feel sad and tired, and prevents us from offering the world the unique gifts that we were born with.
Learning to love myself has been a long and winding road, but I feel like I’m there for most of the time now.
For anyone that needs some support with this process, here are a few simple things that I do every day, that have really helped me to find some peace with myself.
Be Kind To Yourself
‘I’m a failure, I always mess things up…’
Stop right there!
Let’s be very clear about something. If it is too nasty to say to a friend, it’s too nasty to say to yourself.
‘I am an ugly pig.’ is not an acceptable way to speak to yourself.
‘Look at that disgusting cellulite,’ is also not OK.
It’s not acceptable to tear yourself down because of your appearance, perceived success, academic intelligence, mistakes you have made in the past… or any thing else for that matter.
(It is absolutely a good idea to keep working to be the kindest, healthiest and most fulfilled version of yourself. But that isn’t going to come from a place of shame.)
It can feel challenging to stop this habit of self criticising and judging after so many years, but don’t worry. Once you have started to notice this nasty talk, you have done the most important work.
The next time you catch yourself making a horrific comment about yourself, stop what you are doing and say:
‘Wow, that was rude and inaccurate.’
Then make sure you replace it with a positive thought, like:
‘My legs are beautiful,’ or ‘I am strong,’ or ‘I am proud of the person I am becoming.’
It doesn’t matter whether you believe it at first. This isn’t a debate. We are teaching our inner critic that we have boundaries. Over time that little villain will become quieter, and we really will start to feel good about ourselves.
If you do want to lose weight for your health and confidence, that’s great! But you aren’t going to get there by hating yourself. My body type has really yo-yoed throughout my life, and I have learned this:
If you lose weight from a place of self hate, it will just pile back on in the months following hunger. But if you love yourself first, you will start forming better habits that last a lifetime. Besides, it doesn’t matter how much weight you lose. If you still hate yourself, then it will never be ‘enough.’
Since I realised that I had an emotional relationship with food, I have been lighter and stronger than ever before.
I used to compulsively overeat and then beat myself up and diet. But then I realised there was a theme. Almost every time I overate, it was because I was feeling unloved or not good enough. I would try and crush those feelings under the weight of unhealthy food, and then keep hating myself because I didn’t feel healthy and vibrant.
As soon as I started focussing on loving myself, weight dropped off me faster than I could keep up with. And I never starve myself, I just eat when I’m actually hungry!
Say Thank You
Every morning, the first thing I do is open my eyes and say ‘thank you for another day.’
You can choose who you are saying it to. Mother Nature, Earth, the Breath in your lungs. It doesn’t really matter who you say it to, but it is important that we acknowledge how lucky we are to have another 24 hours on this amazing planet.
When I get back into bed in the evening, I say it again.
‘Thanks a lot for today. I particularly appreciated that walk in the forest.’
Taking just a few seconds every day to appreciate that you are still alive goes a ridiculously long way to transform our mindset.
Because let’s be clear, there will always be a reason to be annoyed, sad or angry with yourself. I don’t think we should fight against these feelings, because smothering our authentic emotions is pretty toxic.
But it is important to remember that every single day is a gift. We might not get another 24 hours. Whether or not we are comfortable with this idea will not make us any safer from a car crash or a shocking diagnosis. But remembering how precious life is will help you stop being so critical about things that don’t really matter.
I have some dear friends who have survived cancer, and others that didn’t make it. And do you know what they have told me, time and time again?
I wish that it didn’t take a cancer diagnosis to appreciate what matters in life.
So let’s decide to appreciate our life whilst we are healthy, and to stop wasting time and energy being hateful towards ourselves.
Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation have absolutely transformed the way I feel about myself.
You don’t need to pay for any expensive equipment or classes, and you don’t have to sit there meditating for hours every day.
Personally, I do a 20-30 minute yoga video on Youtube every day. I like doing Adriene’s 30 day challenges, but you can find whatever practice feels best for you. Occasionally, I forget. I don’t get mad about it, I just say thank you to myself for the rest and pick up again the following day.
If you prefer the idea of sitting meditation, there are so many guided meditations available for free out there. I recommend the app called ‘insight timer’. You have a bell for silent meditation, and thousands of free guided meditations to help you get started.
Another positive thing to do for yourself is start using ‘affirmations.’
These are positive things that you say out loud, and they really can transform your life. You can write a couple of affirmations that you like on post it notes, and stick them strategically around the house to remind you to say them.
Here are some examples:
‘I am so grateful for this day.’
‘I am beautiful inside and outside.’
‘I am healthy and strong, I eat when I am hungry.’
Just choose a handful, and say them when you notice the post it. You can also set reminders on your phone which pop up with the affirmation once a day, but I would limit yourself to 3 – 5 a day so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
Think about whatever you are finding difficult at the moment, and create the affirmations which you think will help you the most. Make sure they are uplifting, and wish noone any harm.
For example, these ‘affirmations’ might seem like a good idea, but they probably won’t help you find peace with the world:
‘I am better than those bitches at school.’
‘My ex husband’s new wife is uglier than me.’
‘F%ck the haters.’
Affirmations spoken in anger or jealousy will only feed the part of you that likes to criticise. And guess what? Strengthening the inner critic will give it more ammunition to attack you with too!
I hope you found some of these suggestions helpful! Is there anything you do to help you to love yourself? Please comment below, I’d love to hear from you!
You might also like to read:
- Putting Yourself First Is A Truly Selfless Act
- What Sensitive People Should Know About Love
- Success: The Great Lie of Our Time
Are you a book lover? You might like to check out The Highly Sensitive Nomad book, which I released last week.
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Thanks so much for your precious time, and I’m wishing you all the love that you deserve.