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Discover How to Love Yourself Like You Mean It In These 10 Steps

Discover How to Love Yourself Like You Mean It In These 10 Steps

I know you have a busy life, but you need to remember something very important: in order to take care of others, you must first take care of yourself. And it’s a lot easier to get motivated to take care of yourself if you love your body.

Don’t misread me: I’m not saying you should become a condescending egomaniac who thinks you’re the best thing since sliced bread or anything like that, but there is nothing wrong with loving yourself (you’re pretty awesome, I bet).

If you want to improve your body image and self-esteem, I invite you to discover how to love yourself like you mean it. Challenge accepted? Click ahead for your 10 Step Plan.

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1. Repeat after me: I’m not perfect, and that is okay.

Demanding perfection of yourself is just as effective as hunting for a magical dragon in your state park. How’s that? Because perfection is just as mythical (read: nonexistent) as magical dragons. No one is perfect. I know some magazine models might look like they have a “perfect body,” but that’s due to a little thing called Photoshop (not to mention the months of restrictive eating and gruesome training that probably preceded their photo shoot). Every person is born with a body-type that is unique to them. Yes, eat healthy and exercise to become the best version of yourself that you’re capable of being, but no amount of dieting (dreadful word) or training can defy genetics. Whether your body is “perfect” or not is beside the point. Love and accept your body, because it is a glorious vessel that protects you from sickness, carries you throughout your travels, and belongs to you alone.

2. Ask yourself: Would I say it about another person?

The next time you catch yourself thinking something like, “I hate my thighs,” or, “I look so fat in this outfit,” or, “I wish I wasn’t so ugly,” stop whatever you are doing and repeat the following steps:

  • Close your eyes.
  • Take 10 deep breathes (your belly should come forward with each inhale)
  • Imagine those nasty, negative thoughts leaving your body with each exhale
  • Imagine warm, loving, positive thoughts entering your body with each inhale
  • After you complete this breathing cycle, ask yourself: “Would I say such things about another person?”

3. Think about it: What traits do you admire in the people you look up to?

I know the concept of loving yourself might be hard to wrap your head around, so here’s a fun exercise that might help. Think about the top five or ten people you admire. These could be close friends, family members, co-workers, mentors, or even an author or philanthropist who you look up to. Make a list of the individual traits and qualities you commend these people for. Below are some things I imagine could end up on your list:

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  • Never gives up
  • Shows empathy for others
  • Always does the right thing
  • Confident in who they are
  • Passionate about helping people

The point? Simple: None of the things listed above (or, I’m willing to wager, on your list) include one iota of detail about anyone’s physical appearance.

4. Answer this question: What do I like about myself?

Let’s make another list of the things you like about yourself. Your list could include things like physical and mental attributes, your sense of style/humor, talents and abilities that are unique to you, or any other factors that influence the strength of your character. For bonus points, ask a few close friends what they admire about you, and include their answers in your list. If you have a hard time creating your list, check out this article for inspiration.

5. Write it down: Make a list of all of those things.

I know I already told you to make a list, but I just want to emphasize how important it is that you actually write your answers down instead of just thinking about them. You might think you’ll remember, but life has a way of sneaking up on you and ruining even the best of intentions, so please trust me and “Just do it,” as Nike says.

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6. Hang it up: Positive reinforcement is your friend.

The next time you start to agonize over things about your body that you don’t like, consult your list for a positive reminder of all the things you do like. It might help to put your list in a place you’ll notice it at least once a day, like on top of the dresser that contains your underwear (you’ll see it every morning!), or maybe put it up on your refrigerator with a magnet (you’ll see it at least three times a day!). Just as negative thoughts are strengthened by repetition, so are positive ones.

7. The 3-for-1 Method: Every negative thought should be followed by three positive ones.

There is no debating the fact that the occasional negative thought will slip past your radar no matter what you do. The 3-for-1 Method is a great way to become more aware of what you’re thinking about and flip the script of your mental chatter in your favor. Every time you think a negative thought, immediately follow it with three positive ones. If you’re stressing out and can’t think of anything nice to think, here are a few questions that will guide you in the right direction:

  • What have I achieved at work, school, or home today/this week?
  • In what ways have I made a positive impact in someone’s life today/this week?
  • What are some things I should be happy, grateful, and excited for in this moment?

8. Big Picture Thinking: If it wouldn’t matter next month, it’s not worth stressing about.

Fact: Most forms of stress are self-inflicted. No, you can’t control every event in your life, but you can choose how to react to it. Wallowing in misery is counterproductive, so shift your focus away from the negative situation itself to the positive action you can take to make it better.

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9. Repeat after me: To take care of others, I must first take care of myself.

I know it never feels like there’s enough time in the day. I know life can feel like a never-ending To-Do List. I know you have children to raise, bills to pay, essays to write, jobs to fulfill, and chores to do. But you’re not the Energizer Bunny. You cannot expect yourself to be able to take care of every other person in your life if you can’t be bothered to take care of yourself. The sooner you get that, the more happy and fulfilled your life will be.

10. Smile, because you are worthy of love and happiness.

Will you smile for me? A giggle or chuckle would be even better. You can fake it if you have to. Don’t feel silly; it will make you feel better, I promise.

Life gets a lot better when you can learn to love yourself like you mean it.

If you find it difficult to wrap your head around the concept of self-love, I highly recommend reading the book, “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It” by Kamal Ravikant. I know the concept of “falling in love with yourself” might seem a little awkward, but it is a great way to improve your body image and self-esteem. Please pass this along to any friends who you feel would be helped by it, and tell us how performing these steps worked for you in the comments.

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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