Well, do you?
How often? All the time, most of the time, some of the time or never? If I was a betting girl, and aside from an annual flutter on the Grand National I’m not, I’d guess that the majority of us fall somewhere between some of the time and most of the time.
We stand there in front of the mirror telling ourselves we’re too fat, not pretty enough, our breasts aren’t big enough, or they’re too big, we’re stupid, we’re not worthy, or most of the time a combination. We even stop doing things such as going braless for a couple of days in case someone may think that it’s inappropriate.
We tell our children, or we were told as children, not to be horrid to another child because you don’t want to hurt their feelings, or you say something like: “How would you feel if they said it to you?”
Well, guess what? By standing in front of that mirror we are berating and belittling that other child. Only this time the other child is you.
But why do we do this?
Why do we find it difficult to love ourselves?
Why can’t we love ourselves wholeheartedly, 100% of the time?
It shouldn’t be that difficult to do, but it is.
A warped sense of reality
We’re fed a diet of the need for perfection, and end up constantly craving what others appear to have instead of realising how amazing we are.
When it comes to the need for looking perfect, you only need to look at how the figures for plastic surgery and semi-permanent make-up have shot through the roof over last 10-15 years. Tattooed eye and lip liner, face lifts, breast implants, tummy tucks and even bottom lifts. Goodness only knows about that last one, there was a time when everyone knew that if someone asked if their bum looked big in an item of clothing, the only reply to give was: “Of course not!”
The need to have the perfect life. Oh, social media’s got a lot to answer for hasn’t it? No wonder everyone wants to be a social media influencer these days.
But what we have to remember is that what we see in magazines and on social media is that the looks, the lifestyle and the perfection in the majority of cases is all fake.
The photos have been photo–shopped to within an inch of their lives to remove all blemishes, make-up has been cleverly applied and pretty much caked on to smooth out complexions, lighting has been set up to create the perfect atmosphere, the ‘model’ set in the perfect pose to accentuate the positives and the photo itself has probably been taken 100 times before finally getting the perfect shot.
We may be not perfect, and let’s face it no one is, so why can’t we celebrate our uniqueness and naturalness, rather than feed the need to destroy ourselves with fakeness?
We care too much about what other people think about us
Not only do we want the perfection, we’re also constantly worrying about what people think about us.
How many times have you agonised over posting something on social media for fear of feeling stupid, or worse the backlash you may get from, not only people you know but from keyboard warriors?
How many times have you said something in a social situation and then gone home and worried yourself senseless because you think you said something wrong?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong in caring about what people think. I mean in some situations we need to care about how we are perceived, for example a job interview or when you join a new social gathering. But, the problem starts when you think you have to be something, or someone you are not, just to impress people.
As Abraham Lincoln said: “You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but can never please all of the people all of the time.”
So why try? All it does is keep you from loving yourself better.
We’re constantly haunted by the ghosts of the past
Let’s face it, we’ve all done things in our lives that we’re not proud of. I know I have. (Memory flashback to pouring a drink over someone!)
But we shouldn’t let that stop us from living life to the fullest, hold us back from going after our dreams or leave us wallowing in self-loathing.
No. We need to leave the past firmly in the past. We made a mistake, sure. But the best thing we can do is learn from that mistake to grow as a person, and try not to throw a drink over anyone again!
You need to realise that the past doesn’t define who we are, it merely acts as a stepping stone for us to reach our potential.
What does define us is what we do right now in the present. And if we live our lives constantly looking back, how can we move forward confidently?
What practical steps can you take today to start loving yourself more?
It’s not difficult to start loving yourself just a little bit more. Here are four simple things you can start doing right away.
Show yourself some compassion
Remember that child in the mirror, maybe it’s time to start treating her with gentleness, concern and caring.
Instead of staring in the mirror and picking out all the flaws, why not start by simply staring at your reflection and smiling, and watch as the child in the mirror stares back at you.
When you’re comfortable with that, you can move on by talking positively to your reflection. Even if it’s a simple: “Your hair looks great today!”
The more you practice being compassionate to yourself, the better you will feel and the more confident you will become.
If we love and respect ourselves, when it comes to our relationships with other people; partners, friends, work colleagues, etc., we need to establish clear boundaries as to what we are prepared to accept and what we are not.
And if someone oversteps those boundaries you need to be prepared to tell them that what they have done is not acceptable. If they apologise, then you can forgive them and move on, but if they don’t you will need to take action. By not taking action when someone crosses the boundary we are effectively saying that we are not worthy of respect.
It is by ensuring that we and other people respect our boundaries that we love ourselves more and grow stronger in confidence.
Say no once in a while
Remember the Abraham Lincoln quote about pleasing everyone? Well, you don’t have to say yes to everything, in either your personal or professional life.
Saying yes to everything can lead you to becoming overwhelmed, which doesn’t do you any good.
So, as the Grange Hill song said: “Just say no!”
Be you (because everyone else is taken)
And do what you need to be you.
Do more of what makes your soul happy, and don’t let anyone stop you by making you feel bad. It doesn’t matter if it’s simply an evening out at the theatre, a day at the spa, retail therapy, or working towards your goals, do what you need.
Remember you are not being selfish, you’re giving yourself what you need to feed your self-love.
You are with you from the day you’re born until the day you die, so let’s start loving ourselves a bit more, and finally become friends with ourselves.
Until next time darlings.