Self-love isn’t something that comes naturally to me. In fact, I think most women (and a lot of men) struggle with self-love. But if we don’t love ourselves, who’s going to teach our kids to love themselves? Here are 5 self-love habits that can improve self-image and set a positive example for our kids.
Self-love has always been a struggle for me. I have really high expectations for myself, and when I don’t meet them, I have a hard time feeling good about myself. My inner critic starts listing out all the ways I’ve failed, the reasons I’m a disappointment, and the “fact” that I’ll never measure up.
It’s ridiculous! And when I realized just how big of a part this played in my life, I was scared. Would my kids pick up on it? Would they start modeling the same inner negativity that I had?
I couldn’t bear the thought! I want my kids to love themselves no matter what. When they look at their flaws and failures, I want them to see opportunities to grow–not reasons they’re not enough.
And I recognized that if I wanted my kids to love themselves, I needed to set a positive example for them.
So I’ve been working really hard at changing my story. Here are five habits I’m adopting to keep my self-love boosted:
1. Recite daily affirmations.
Affirmations are something I didn’t learn about until a little over a year ago, but boy have they been life-changing! I strongly believe in the power of words. Words have the power to change our thoughts, our actions, our beliefs, our reality. So I believe that if we repeat something to ourselves often and with power, we’ll one day live and believe it.
I have a double sided sheet of paper filled with my affirmations–things I want to believe, things I want to remember, and things I want to be real. And the mornings I read them to myself are my most powerful, confident, and self-aware days. If you don’t have a daily affirmation practice, I highly suggest you start one! Here are some tips on how to write your own personalized affirmations.
2. Silence my inner mean-girl.
Raise your hand if your inner voice can be a serious mean girl 🙋. Mine totally is. She’s way meaner to me than anyone else is. Once she starts talking, she can keep going for hours, listing all the things wrong with me. She’s brutal.
So when I hear her start in on one of her rants, I stop her. I distract myself with a podcast or a conversation with my husband. I don’t let her say those things to me because they aren’t helpful. They don’t serve me and I don’t need to listen to them. And neither do you.
3. Compliment myself–especially when I don’t feel like it.
This one can be tough! But when I look in the mirror and think a negative thought about myself, I try to replace it with a compliment. Every time I say something unkind or unloving, I then follow up with something uplifting and positive. If I’m feeling down or low or unconfident, I tell myself something good about me.
When we receive a compliment, something magical happens. A part of us shifts. We stand just a little taller, hold our heads just a little higher. The same goes for self-given compliments. Even though the shift might be small, the more we compliment ourselves, the more confident we feel.
4. Surround myself with people that don’t make a habit of talking badly about themselves.
Have you ever talked to someone who constantly put herself down? How did it make you feel? Not good, I’m guessing. It’s exhausting to be around people who talk badly about themselves. And when you do, it’s hard not to talk badly about yourself as well. Their habits and words start to rub off on you and it’s an all around bad experience.
So, if possible, I try to surround myself with those that don’t do this often. If I have to spend time with someone like this, I try to limit that time or do my best to change the tone of our conversations.
5. Honor my feelings.
Throughout my life, I’ve learned the importance of acknowledging and honoring my feelings. If I’m sad or angry or tired or jealous or hurt, I try to acknowledge those feelings. I let them out. I let myself feel them instead of pushing them away and pretending like they aren’t there.
It can be hard to admit that we’re feeling these things–both because they’re hard to feel and also because it can feel shameful–but I try to remind myself that I’m only human and everyone feels these things. That’s part of life. And the only way I’m able to fully move on from them is by letting them out. Only then can I move on to more positive emotions.
These things are small and they take a lot of effort, but over time, I’ve felt myself shift. I’m not perfect. I mess up all the time. But each time I stop my inner critic, I get a little bit stronger. Every time I replace a negative thought with a compliment, my inner image grows. Each day I recite my affirmations, I believe them a little more.
There is power in small changes. And those small changes will help you become the person you want to be.
What do you do to boost self-love?