I was watching an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress” on TLC and was saddened to see a beautiful girl go home without a dress because she did not feel like she looked “good enough” in any of the wedding dresses she tried on. Naturally, as a viewer I wanted to jump through the television to tell the girl she looked great, but as a therapist I know that self-love needs to be built from within.
“Self-love, self-respect, self-worth, there’s a reason they all start with “self.” You can’t find them in anyone else. It comes from within.” Unfortunately, there are many people like the girl on “Say Yes to the Dress” who don’t feel good enough. I’m talking about the person who has everything going for them but can’t see it, the person who strives to live up to an unrealistic standard but is never satisfied with the result. If this is someone you know, I get it, it’s frustrating. All of the support and outward reassurance is appreciated but not internalized. If this is you, I get it, you just don’t feel good enough. Either way, I’m going to provide some tips for self-love.
Self-awareness: Are you aware of how you talk to yourself? Have your negative thoughts gotten out of hand? It’s very common to become so comfortable with negative thinking that you’re not even aware of it. Also, remember although you might not be aware of your negative thinking, the people around you may be. You can always ask for some feedback from those who are close to you. The bottom line is that self-awareness is power and is fuel to make positive changes.
Positive self-talk: So now that you may be more aware of your negative thinking patterns, it’s time to flip them! Just like anything else you want to get better at, positive self-talk takes practice. A little trick is to practice talking to yourself the way you would a friend. Going with the wedding dress example, find some things you like about the way you look in the dress. What are your best features?
Stop comparing yourself to others: We’ve heard this one a zillion times, but everyone could use this reminder. We live in the day and age of social media where we are constantly bombarded with pictures and updates on the lives of others. Again, remember these are the parts of peoples lives they want to share with the world. Few people highlight their shortcomings to the world. Identify the things you like about yourself and set your own personal goals.
Do what you love: Make time for yourself to do the things you love to do!
Acknowledge your success: Be your own cheerleader! Celebrate your success, even the small stuff.
Practicing self-love can be really challenging but it’s worth the effort because it sets a strong foundation for how you treat yourself and impacts the relationships in your life. Just like most things you want to succeed at, self-love takes practice. Hang in there and be patient with yourself and hopefully one day you’ll be able to confidently “Say Yes to the Dress” or whatever it is that your “self” is getting in the way of.