Don't forget you.
Have you ever looked in the mirror and not felt good enough? Sometimes we give up dreams, hopes and love out of fear, negative self talk and pain. We rob ourselves of the only thing that no one else can truly give us: love. Who better to love yourself than you? Through my own journey into womanhood and learning to fall in love with myself, I’ve learned these tips.
1. Put Yourself First
The greatest sacrifice women make is putting everyone else first and ourselves last. My first year of teaching, I had a one of the biggest setbacks in my life. After working upwards 60 hours a week, I was overworked, stressed beyond measure, and a ball of anxiety ready to pop. On March 9th, 2013, I collapsed at work and had to be put on bed rest for a week to recover. The doctor said that I was under severe levels of stress and that I needed to make some changes before my health worsened. I eventually made some major changes and now, if I feel myself becoming too stressed, I take that as a warning to take a day for myself. It’s no longer a question, because if we aren’t happy, how can we truly make others happy?
2. Say No To Others, And Yes To You
Women are used to being people-pleasers. We are often raised with an idea of being “strong” to accommodate our circumstances. This often comes with the curse of saying “yes” more frequently than “no.” I would go along with what friends suggested, desperately wanting to make everyone happy. If my girls wanted to go out, I would go, often despite the sinking feeling of regret inside because I wanted to instead stay in for the night. After years of this, I finally said no more often. I learned that if there is something you don’t want to do, don’t do it. If you need personal space, take it. Life isn’t going to wait for you to put yourself first — you have to be willing to make the commitment to do what brings you joy.
3. Smile In The Mirror Every Day
How often do you smile at others? Did you know smiling can instantly put you in a better mood? My mother once told me that the secret to her confidence is smiling at herself in the mirror every day. Even if she’s in a bad mood, that smile instantly livens her up and it’s positive energy directed at herself. Well, you can do the same thing! Maybe you don’t feel 100% in the mornings because you’re rushing, juggling kids and a husband, or just getting ready for work. Try taking one moment to smile at yourself in the mirror before heading out the door, and you’ll instantly get a burst of self-love.
4. Dress The Part
When you dress up, you tend to feel good. Think about the times you’ve been your best-dressed. Nine times out of 10, those are the times you’ve felt the most confident or happy. When I get up for work, I’m usually exhausted, with little to no energy to start the day (haven’t had my coffee yet), but once I put on my favorite outfit and get my look together, I feel amazing. Even if the day isn’t perfect, dressing up for greatness makes you feel good on the inside and outside. Don’t sell yourself short. You are beautiful. Whether you are a mom, a student, or running a business, let your greatness shine every day.
5. Go Out On A Date...With Yourself
This one might seem a little cliche — every self-help book and blog suggests that you should take yourself out, but there’s some truth to this theory. If you’re never alone with yourself, how can you truly know yourself? I used to be terrified of going out alone until one day I took a chance and went to the movies by myself. I had an amazing time! I laughed, I cried, and I ate tons of junk food. By the time I got home I had lost track of time, and that’s when I learned that I was pretty fun to hang out with. I liked hanging out by myself, and make dates like this at least once a week. Whatever your schedule allows, find some time to do something you like by yourself.
6. Make A List
Have you ever made a list of all the wonderful things about yourself? While it may seem self-absorbed, it’s actually a great way to reflect on your best qualities. It’s easy for us to give compliments to other women, and although we will receive compliments, how are we showing that love to ourselves? Sit back for a moment and think about all your best qualities, then write them down. After you’re done making your list, step away from it. Go do something around the house, run an errand, or get some work done. Come back to the list and read it to yourself. See how great you are? Instant deposit in your self-love jar.
7. Never Forget And Never Compare
So you’ve done everything on the list from one to six. The most important takeaway is to never forget how absolutely amazing you are. You won’t forget this if you consistently take these steps, and any others you come up with, to love yourself. As a part of the journey, have tunnel vision. It’s OK to admire the next woman you see, but don’t question who you are in light of them. You are beautiful and rare. No one can be you and no one else is perfectly like you. Embrace that. Consistently.
Don’t forget to live every day like you're falling in love, and that the most important person to fall in love with is you.