6 Easy Ways To Love Yourself, Even When It Feels Damn Near Impossible To Do So
It'd be awesome if you could wake up every single morning, look in the mirror, and absolutely adore what you see, inside and out. The reality, though, is that self-love isn't always that simple, and some days are going to be tougher than others to be both confident and compassionate toward yourself and your body. For those tougher days, there are some easy ways to love yourself when you know your self-esteem just isn't having it, that'll make accepting the skin you're in that much more doable as a whole. After all, self-love is a journey — a perpetual and constant work in progress.
In fact, that's exactly how Renee Cafaro, editor of the plus-size lifestyle magazine SLiNK, thinks about self-love. "I always say that body confidence is a journey and not a destination, so we need to show ourselves some compassion," she tells Elite Daily over email. "Thanks to [unrealistic] standards and diet culture permeating every form of media, everyone — at all sizes — have days where they just feel down about themselves."
Cafaro says that something that works for her is trying to find just one thing about her body or character, no matter how small, that she can accentuate and admire. Maybe that one thing for you is a positive comment you received from a co-worker during a meeting, or even the healthy bounce in your hair that you noticed in the bathroom mirror earlier. Simple enough, right? "Also, I feel it is important [that], if someone feels like they are drowning in self-hate or showing signs of disordered eating, to seek a therapist with experience with depression and body dysmorphia."
Again, self-love and body acceptance is a long road, one that you and I are constantly navigating. As Cafaro says, when you feel like you've really fallen into a rut with your self-image, remind yourself "that you are amazing and have made it this far, so just breathe and know that tomorrow is a new chance to love yourself."
Here are six simple things you can do to show your body, mind, and soul how much you care for yourself, no matter the circumstances.
Don't Spend Too Much Time In Front Of The Mirror
Mirrors may be just about everywhere you look, but Catherine Silver, a licensed psychotherapist in New York City who specializes in treating women with eating disorders and body image issues, says they aren't always to be trusted. "Recognize that there is probably an element of distortion in what you see in the mirror," Silver explains — and she doesn't mean a physical distortion in the mirror itself. "People often are hyper-focused on their weight, body size, or a particular body part, and it's more magnified to them than it is to others." Basically, Silver is saying that there's typically nothing constructive or positive that can come from over-analyzing and picking apart your reflection in the mirror.
"Consider this: Maybe yesterday you looked at yourself and felt good or even OK about your body, but today, you feel awful," she explains. "Realistically, your body hasn't changed between yesterday and today, but rather, your perception or mindset [has]," she says. In other words, it's always a good idea to take a step back and consider just how much your emotions are affecting your perception before you fall into the trap of negative thoughts and self-hatred.
Have A Mantra You Can Fall Back On
Silver tells Elite Daily she's all about using mantras when working with her patients, as she says it's important to replace the negative thoughts you might have about yourself with something more positive. "It doesn't have to be as extreme as 'I'm beautiful and love my body,'" the therapist says. "It can be something that feels truer to you in the moment, such as 'I'm working to accept you,' or, 'my body does not define me.'"
Stick With The People Who Build You Up
Karen Azeez, an integrative health coach, wellness expert, and author of the book The Kindfulness Solution, recommends surrounding yourself with positive, healthy people who lift you up and who contribute to your happiness. "Instead of the people who always find fault (with you or themselves) or try to pull you into unhealthy activities like binge-drinking or overeating, schedule a gym date, a walk in the park, a game of tennis, or just a long chat with a friend," she tells Elite Daily over email.
Friends who always admire your new shoes, notice you got your hair cut, are happy when you succeed, will hold your hand through the tough times, and can make you laugh — those peeps are the best. "The moods and outlooks of other people rub off on us, so make sure you're catching infectious serenity, not negativity," says Azeez.
Hang Out With Your Fur Baby
Wellness expert and meditation teacher Jona Genova recommends taking just 15 minutes out of your day to do nothing more than hang out with your pet and bask in all of the pure, unconditional love this relationship brings you. "Animals connect with us at an essential level — beyond the number on the scale, the tag on your pants, likes on your latest post, or your bank account," Genova tells Elite Daily. "And, they usually like to play or snuggle. Both of these activities feel good and have the power to break us out of negative self-talk and remind us of what's truly important."
Get Off Social Media Once In A While
Social media is a highlight reel, meaning you're not really seeing actual snapshots from people's real lives when you scroll through Instagram, but rather, the shining moments they want you to see. And even though it's safe to say most of us know this truth deep down, it's still really easy to fall into the trap of comparing your lifestyle to the ones you see on social media. "If you're caught up with comparing, remember the reality of social media," Genova says. "More often than not, people with massive followings and gorgeous feeds have teams of people helping them to create that image. For every photo posted, hundreds of shots are tossed away."
With that in mind, do yourself a favor and take a break from these outlets every once in a while. And when you get back on the apps, heed Genova's advice: "It's up to all of us to actively embrace every woman, rather than trying to conform to an outdated and harmful standard of beauty."
Ditch The Scale And Embrace Joyful Movement
As far as Linda Baggett, a licensed psychologist specializing in body image and acceptance, is concerned, the scale doesn't mean a thing — not for your health, your worth, your well-being, nothing. "Stay off the scale (or better yet, get rid of it)," she tells Elite Daily over email. "Your weight tells you nothing about your value as a human or your health, and tends to just make people feel bad about themselves."
There are plenty of ways to improve how you feel about yourself and your physical health that have absolutely nothing to do with weight loss. For instance, when you're feeling down on yourself, Baggett suggests finding a way to move your body that you enjoy, regardless of what you think “counts” as exercise. "Observe how movement makes your body feel strong and good, whether it’s walking, gardening, dancing, yoga, lifting weights, house-cleaning, etc.," she says.
However you move your body, appreciate what it can do for you. That, my friend, is a gift in and of itself.