We often look to society and use that as a comparison for how we should be. We see people be shamed for being too fat, too skinny, not dressing the way someone should at their age, for looking too fit at 40+ years, for what we eat, what we don’t eat, where we eat, where we don’t eat what political party we’re affiliated with, how much money we have, how much money we don’t have and on and on and on. Magazines airbrush images, filters take away blemishes, spanx suck in what’s falling over our pants waist, and social media shows allegedly perfect lives with pictures that show none of that. Is it no wonder many of us struggle with self acceptance? With loving ourselves? They say comparison is the thief of joy, but then society will tell you why you should be someone different than yourself.
The definition of self-acceptance, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is:
the act or state of accepting oneself : the act or state of understanding and recognizing one’s own abilities and limitations
while the definition of self-love, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is:
an appreciation of one’s own worth or virtue.
You cannot have self-love without self-acceptance. I think this is one of the hardest things to do as a human. We look at ourselves in a mirror and we sit there and pick ourselves apart for how we look. We have this image in our brain of what we should look like and when we don’t live up to that image, we destroy ourselves. We make a mistake (as do everybody..after all, we’re only human) and we go hard at ourselves over how stupid we are or careless or anything like that. We may be compassionate for others but we will rarely show very little compassion for ourselves. We aren’t as perfect as we’d like to be and we have a fit. Here’s the skinny, NOBODY is perfect and to expect ourselves to be that way is unrealistic.
We engage in so much negative self-talk to ourselves that it doesn’t take much to affirm our beliefs. Can’t fit into a dress I like? Well of course I can’t, after all, I’m fat. Got rejected by a boy I liked? No wonder, he doesn’t think i’m super hot like this or that actress. Our worth is often tied up in what others think of us or more exactly, what we think others think of us.
In fact, in most cases, we would NEVER talk to someone the way that we talk to ourselves. We would be appalled if someone were to talk and treat to our daughters /sister/mothers/aunts/friends the way we treat and talk to ourselves. Yet, we don’t think twice about that language to ourselves. It’s the ultimate form of hypocrisy.
So the question is how do you train your brain to appreciate your own worth. What can you do to flip the script and going from tearing yourself apart to truly loving yourself? Here’s 3 things you can do to start changing your mindset.
- When you lay in bed at night, before drifting off to lala land, start thanking your body and showing gratitude and love for what that part does. I always seem to start at my feet and work my way up to my head. “Thank you toes. I love that you guys help provide my balance. Look at you hammer toe, being all cute and unique like that.” “Thank you calf, you look amazing (especially on my tiptoes)! I love how strong you are when I’m doing my leg workouts.” “Butt, you’re the best! You’re cushy. That’s nice because when I fall, if I didn’t have the cushyness of it, I would probably break you. So thanks for that!” “Thanks belly! I love that my daughter and I can laugh when she drums on it like a drum. If you were completely flat, it wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying.” Like anything, it may be hard at first to come up with positives for a particular section of your body. You’ve had a lot of training looking down on that part and hating it. With practice, it should come easier and easier. Do this every night. Repetition creates success.
- Get a blank journal and write a love letter to yourself every day. Think of everything you would absolutely die and giggle about to have a hot dude or dudette say about you. Really go all out here. If it helps you can sign it by your favorite celebrity. Mine would be Ryan Reynolds or, even better, the Rock..mmm…the Rock… “Dear Sara, I think you’re totally hot! I love the way that your butt looks when you are in those jeans. You know the ones. The jeggings that just hug all your curves in allllll the right ways. Yeah..those ones. They make you look so sexy. mmm…”
- Do this once only–Write down everything you hate about yourself. (Bare with me here) Write it all down. Get it off your chest. Then light that bitch on fire and watch it burn. The fire symbolizes the death of the old beliefs. Out of the ashes will rise your new beliefs…so write down all the opposite things of what you just burned. “I am smart. I am amazing. I can do anything I set my mind to. I have the best nose, it’s just so cute.) and hang that up where you can see and read it EVERY DAY.
Like anything else, doing these three things may seem like lies to you, at first, but that is only because you have been telling yourself lies all this time and now, now you are telling yourself the TRUTH.
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