Discovering the art of self-love

Esteem; we all know what it means, we all have people around us whom we admire, respect and hold in high regard. Why, then, do we have such a high tendency towards hating ourselves? Especially, when it comes to our physical self? 

 The media, society, parenting, human nature; these are some of the factors involved in the creation of our self perception and our perception of others. Depending on your individual journey, you may perceive your physical self as ugly, unworthy and unlovable. I was one such person.

For as long as I can remember I have suffered from low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. Along with a long list of other symptoms, it has resulted in me considering myself ugly for most of my life…until recently, that is.

Many of you reading this will have had some experience feeling like this. It’s a horrible feeling and is so destructive to your self-esteem. For me, my journey to self love was one I never expected. I had been in a relationship for many years with a person who did very little except fulfil my belief that I was worthless.

4 percent of women consider themselves as beautiful around the world — Dove.com

Ultimately he cheated on me with a woman 10 years younger than me, and even then I fought for the relationship. It was only once that relationship was over, when I was at my lowest point but totally free, that I had a light bulb moment.

 I decided that the years of seeking validation from others about my appearance but never being able to accept a compliment (because I believed that the compliment giver was just being nice) were over!

72 percent of women feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful — Dove.com

Here are some ways we can all learn to love ourselves.

Pay yourself a compliment

My first step was simple, I was going to give myself a compliment every day, yes, every freakin’ day. Take the time to appreciate yourself – physically and mentally. No matter how big or small.

  • I have great eyes
  • My hair looks perfect today
  • I’m smart 
  • I am good at networking
  • I’m great at bringing my friends together.
  • When I did X today, that was a really nice thing
  • I am a good friend

But of course, the list is yours to choose!

Workout

Next, I was going to get back into working out. I’m not massively keen on the gym

environment so I tend to use workout DVDs or do things outside of the house. I can highly recommend:

  • Jillian Michaels: All of her stuff is great and she makes you feel great about yourself whilst hating her for what she is making you do!
  • Daniel & Kelli, husband and wife fitness duo on their YouTube channel: Fitness Blender; they are great motivators and have such a wide selection you can never get bored. 
  • Going for a jog in my local park. I love going for a jog on a cold day, as weird as it sounds, I always feel so refreshed afterwards.
  • Challenges (crunchie, plank, squat etc etc): There are always some of these around, you can post your progress on social media, and I always find the exposure of publicly announcing that I am taking part makes me less likely to quit.

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Control your diet

I had let my diet get out of hand. I was rarely cooking and instead opting for convenience meals; an upgrade was required. Variety is the spice of life, below are things I do to keep my eating habits interesting.

  • ALWAYS have breakfast! It is so important, it improved my efficiency at work and stopped me from feeling so foggy in the morning.
  • Snack: everywhere I go I have a selection of snacks – bananas, yoghurt, apples, dried fruit.
  • Treat yourself: have that frosting covered cupcake you squealed at the sight of. It’s about moderation, that’s the tough bit! But you don’t have to never have processed sugar ever again.
  • Plan your meals: I try to make sure I do a weekly shop where I plan my meals for the week ahead before I go to the shop. I found that this way I shop quicker and leave with fewer chocolate-coated items.

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Surround yourself with people who care

I wanted to surround myself with people who care about me as much as I care about them. Through executing all of the above I was going to stop trying to conform to what I thought people wanted me to be and just be me. And it worked.

The biggest thing I have learned over the last year is this. Being nice to yourself is not a crime, and life is too short for self hatred.

Afro Puffs by The Lady of Rage (YouTube)

As corny as it sounds, everyone is beautiful in their own right. Every person you meet will not think you’re beautiful; because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, everyone has different ideals but that should never stop you from appreciating your beauty, whether that be physical or otherwise.

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