You were able to ditch that annoying man you met at the bar last weekend. You cut off communication with that toxic friend you met in college. You even managed to dump your old boyfriend when you realized you just really, truly deserved better. Way to go, superstar! Half the battle is finding the right community for you, and knowing when to walk away from certain relationships. But I hate to break it to you: there is one relationship in your life you will never be able to escape. No matter how hard you try, she’ll follow you around like a lost puppy dog. And after a night out, she might even smell like one, too.
No, I’m not talking about your mother, or your childhood best friend, or your weird but lovable Aunt Lori. That stinky Pomeranian I’m referring to is you.
If you haven’t already wrestled with this fact, then you’re either delusional or heading for a mid-life crisis. Making peace with who you are is probably one of the most difficult tasks we face, and it’s an ongoing and tiring process. Hell, I’m in my early 20’s and I swear I’ve already had about 3 quarter-life crises! And if you’re not there now, I’m sure you can think back to your years of young adulthood and chuckle with familiarity.
I’m quite frankly in a perpetual state of confusion, but I can say that at least amidst the chaos, I’ve found deep love and respect for myself and my life. And that, above anything else, has carried me through any dark or uncertain time.
Here are ten tips and tricks that will help you uncover, realize, and remember the beauty of your individuality. Because girl, YOU ROCK! Sometimes all you need is a simple reminder (or ten).
1. Set up healthy morning and evening rituals.
I’m not going to lie – I start a lot of my mornings with disheveled hair and a bad attitude. I am not a morning person by any means, as much as I’d like to be. But setting up positive morning and evening rituals is a practice that I’m trying to make a daily habit, because I’ve seen how powerful they can be. Each ritual will be dependent on your personality and lifestyle. For instance, my mother wakes up and reads The Bible every morning over her cup of coffee, and at night, she reads healings and testimonies in bed (she’s a Christian Scientist). Although that’s not my style, she swears by it as a way in which to focus her energy at the start and end of each day.
What I try to do is write a list of 10 things I’m grateful for within an hour or two of waking up. I write each item down in a full sentence or two (no emojis people), and write “Thank You” at the end of each line. In the evenings, I read something that’s life-giving either from bloggers or writers that I admire. Instead of counting sheep, I count my blessings.
2. Treat yourself from time to time.
Some people do this way too often, while others do this way too little. Finding the right balance of “treat yourself” activities is crucial for not only your well-being, but your bank account. If you bury your problems in Louis Vuitton clutches and silk shawls, you’re not doing it right. But if you constantly feel guilty whenever you splurge on anything, then you’re not really rewarding yourself for how wonderful and hardworking you truly are. Personally, I’m fine with spending money on experiences, but have a hard time spending money on material items. Find out what treat gives you the most joy, and give it to yourself when you need it. You deserve it.
3. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about who you are.
Write down a list of the people in your life, and cross out the ones that make you feel like you’re not good enough. Say goodbye to toxic people and welcome those that uplift you with open arms. This isn’t an easy task – I’m attached to a lot of people that probably aren’t the best for me – but if you don’t surround yourself with a community that inspires and celebrates you, you will always be held back from loving yourself. Sure, self-love comes from within first and foremost, but we are social beings and that cannot be ignored. Make sure your social circle is the right one for you.
4. Stand by your own personal goals.
Set goals for yourself and yourself only. I see a lot of couples who have plenty of goals in life, but most of them are dependent on the other person. I also see a lot of single people who are so damn bored with themselves that they are constantly seeking a relationship. Practice your independence by figuring out what you want for yourself. Whether it’s a promotion, a consistent workout regime, or an international trip you want to take, set goals for yourself and your future. Know that half the battle is just deciding you’re going to do it.
5. Dress up (or down) for yourself.
Put on that sexy little black dress and heels, or don’t. Wear what you want to wear and get as fancy or as comfy as you want, but do it for you and you only. Sometimes I like to put on a flow-y dress, big shades, and a floppy hat just to go to the grocery store. I do it for me – because it makes me feel good. It’s just one of my many Carrie Bradshaw moments, and it’s totally awesome.
6.Seek help when you need it.
Whether you were the constant front-row-hand-raiser in grade school or not, decide that you’re going to be now. This is the school of life, sweetheart, and you’ve got to learn how to ask for help when you need it. Whether it’s from a family member, a friend, a therapist, or a significant other, know what your individual limits are and use the strength others can provide when needed. Often times admitting you can’t do something on your own is the best way to love and nourish yourself.7
7. Make your house a home.
I’m the type of person that needs my living space to reflect not only who I am, but the best parts of myself. After a long day, I want to come home and feel at home. I want to be surrounded by art, photography, quotes, even color schemes that make me feel good. Make sure your space feels like your sanctuary. Make sure it’s a place that reminds you who you are when you seem to forget.
8. Do not compare yourself to others.
This is a lot easier said than done. I think it’s especially hard to practice self-care, self-love, and self-compassion in the 21st century because we are all constantly peering into the lives of others through social media. And let’s be honest, we all post the most flattering, most positive, and most exciting parts of our lives online. But you have to keep that in mind when you’re scrolling through your Facebook.
Don’t compare the reality of your life to the Instagram feed of that pretty cheerleader from college. Don’t get jealous over the seemingly flawless bikini shot of that girl on the beach in Malibu. Photoshop and Instagram filters do wonders, but that’s beside the point! Imperfections are beautiful, and so are you.
9. Write yourself daily affirmations.
Every day, write down something that you like about yourself and read it out loud. Make it a mental habit to think consciously about your many virtues, quirks, and successes. There are so many things about you that are meant to be celebrated, and nobody can do it as authentically and honestly as you can.
10. Encourage and uplift others.
I believe that the stead-fast way to happiness is serving others. Don’t go a single day without telling somebody you love how much you appreciate them. Don’t go a single week without writing a note to someone you care about. I send thank you cards and little tokens of gratitude to a different friend or family member every week. Loving others is one of the best ways we can love ourselves, too. Remember that what you give is what you get, so you better make it good.
Learning to love yourself, truly and wholly, is a life-long process. It’s a grueling task – similar to overcoming the mental battle of whether or not you should stay on the couch and watch Sex and the City reruns, or get off your ass and go to the gym. It’s mental torture just thinking about it, but after a good work out, you feel lighter, happier, and more energetic. You just feel better.
So if you’re stick in a rut, going through a break-up, or just need to refocus your life in a positive direction, be your own hero and set up some habits to help you do so. Practice self-love in your daily life and make the decision that you are going to be your own cheerleader. You have all the power you need to build the life of your dreams, because you, my friend, are one brave and authentic and wonderful woman.
Do you have any habits that help you stay grounded and centered in who you are? Do you have any self-care practices that you want to share? Leave all your self-love secrets in the comments below and feel free to tweet me with any further questions or comments!