Love up on yourself. Often.
Loving yourself is the catalyst for what will manifest in your life. Your happiness depends on loving yourself wholly and unapologetically. February is the month for all love everything, but love never goes out of style. It’s an every day/week/month/year long kind of thing. Because we’re celebrating love in all forms, here’s 10 things to start doing today to love yourself more.
1. Be Your Own Cheerleader
It’s easy to tend to focus on the people not praising your achievements or not supporting you then get discouraged. Lack of acknowledgment for hard work can bring about resentment. Wanting to be recognized is human, but it turns into self-loathing when you internalize the lack of praise as an indicator of your talents not being good enough. Be your own damn cheerleader. Celebrate your own successes. Don’t wait around for people to toast to your accomplishments; do it yourself. However small the goal you achieved, if it meant something to you then congratulate yourself, toast with a glass of wine by yourself, dance in your socks yourself. And the more you cheerlead for yourself others will fall in line.
2. Be Kinder To Yourself
Every thought you think is not to be believed. Be gentler with the words you tell yourself. They say “I AM” are two of the most important words you’ll ever say because whatever follows those two words will manifest in your life. You are not fat, you are not going to be alone forever, you are not ugly, you are not stupid. Those are lies. Whatever you keep telling yourself is what you’ll believe. Also remember you have the power to change anything at any time. Constantly telling yourself “I’m fat” does nothing. Opt for not calling yourself names and changing your diet or vowing to exercise twice a week if you're unhappy with your weight. Poet Warsan Shire beautifully typeded some words worth remembering. “Self doubt, self loathing, low self esteem, low self confidence, poor self image, skewed sense of self, so cruel to yourself, say sorry.”
3. Compliment Yourself Daily
Compliments go a long way with strangers, your mom, your man, your children. Works the same with yourself. Every now and then you have to say out loud, “I look good today!” or “My hair is laid” or “That was a really dope idea I had in today’s meeting.” If you’re constantly feeding yourself with compliments it’s hard for the negativity to sink it. Try it, like right now.
4. No Is A Complete Sentence
You will never be able to be everything to everybody. Women in particularly give so much of themselves to every aspect of their lives without taking care of themselves first. Stop this. Loving yourself breeds happiness. You can’t be completely happy if you’re constantly tending to everyone else’s needs but your own. Say no more often. Without an explanation. No is a complete sentence.
5. Surround Yourself With People Who Affirm You
Over the years we’ve learned the power of speaking life into your friends and loved ones. The people in your inner circle should be doing the same. We all need affirmation that we are seen and heard. People that affirm you encourage you. They support your goals. Affirming people intervene when you speak so negatively about yourself. Make sure your circle includes people making deposits not constant withdrawals.
6. Spend Time With Yourself
You should enjoy your own company. Solitude breeds clarity. Learn what you enjoy, do it, think of areas you’ve excelled in, execute a plan to achieve your goals, map out the ways you’re going to work to make yourself better. Just like you usually fall in love with people after spending time with them, falling in love with yourself requires the same.
7. People & Things That Don't Make You Feel Good Gotta Go
Get rid of them! Family included. We kid, we kid. Sort of. Family isn’t so hard to detach from, but you can limit your contact with kinfolk who don’t make you feel good. Suffering through relationships (all relationships, not just intimate) with people who make you feel bad damages your self-esteem. It’s impossible to love yourself fully with low self-esteem. Things that no longer fulfill you have reached their expiration date. Give them their pink slips today.
8. Flaws ‘N’ All
Despite what Beyoncé’s telling us, we’ll never be flawless. I still "woke up like dis" tho. Her point is not to be perfect, as it's an impossible task. It's to accept your flaws, find the beauty in them. Your flaws make you, you. Maybe your flaws have been strengths in certain aspects of your life. That mole you hate, the scar you despise, the snort you make when you laugh, your impatience, appreciate it all. And the things you can change that you want to change, change it.
9. Stop Comparing
This should’ve been number one. Your life is your own. Your journey is your own. Your personality is your own. You are not going to be like Oprah because you’re not her. You’re not going to be like Lebron James because you’re not him. Stop hoping for someone else’s life. You don’t know what they had to endure along the way. You are you and you have a unique purpose that no one else has. Stop thinking there’s only one way to reach success. How the CEO of your company became CEO is not how you’re going to become CEO if that’s what you want. A wise woman once said, “Stop comparing your beginning to someone’s ending.” The paths are different. Appreciate yours.
10. Appreciate the Growth
Gospel music (regardless of your religious beliefs or non-beliefs) is practical for everyday living. I first heard “I’m not where I want to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be” in the church. Become more grateful for how far you’ve come. Those days where you feel you haven’t changed, haven’t done enough, haven’t had enough successes will surface. Replace those thoughts by thinking back to what you were doing five years ago. In five years you’ve grown in some way. Maybe five years ago you were getting an advanced degree and now you’re working in your field. That’s growth. Five years ago you’d fallen for all the wrong men/woman, but now you’re happily single with better standards or dating someone who treats you with the respect you deserve. That’s growth. Until the day our lungs give out on us there will always be ways to grow, to be better. Every day is the opportunity to make that happen, and there is always growth to be acknowledged.