It’s been almost a whole year since I started my self-love journey, and I can’t really put my finger on what triggered it, but I can picture the exact moment when I started the journey to that happy little town called ‘Loving Yourself’. And when I say ‘picture’, I mean it literally. It all started with a selfie:
Sounds bonkers, right? But it’s true. Up until the moment I snapped this pic, I’d spent the best part of about 12 years basically thinking I was the most butters thing ever to grace the earth. And then, all of a sudden, I found myself looking at a photo of myself and thinking: “Hmm… you know girl, you’re not actually butters. In fact, you’re honestly kinda cute.” And you know what? I liked that feeling. So I thought I’d try to hang onto it for as long as I could, and made the conscious decision to start having more ‘cute’ days and less ‘ugly’ days, and just work up from there. Update? It’s going pretty well! I mean, I’m still not in that place where I wake up every morning feeling like Beyonce, but I can honestly say I’m finally in a space where I’m feeling like I am (or at least am working towards being) the best version of myself, and that feels absolutely amazing.
Now, don’t get me wrong- I’m not saying loving yourself is, or even should be a purely physical thing. But what I am saying is, as someone who used to have trouble even looking in the mirror, your perception of your physical self can affect your sense of self-worth in so many other areas. It can really hold you back from doing things you’ve always wanted to do, forming deep connections with people; heck, even lead to greater issues like anxiety. I’ve been through all of these, and ’cause I love you and wouldn’t want any of you to go struggle like I did, I’ve put together my top 5 tips on starting the journey towards self-love. So here goes…
- Find your niche. Quite literally, “Do you, boo.” Don’t look at that girl on Instagram and aspire to be like her; find your strengths; your talents and work towards becoming the best version of you.
For me, my physical niche is my height and my natural hair; my creative niche is my eye for colour; my emotional niche is my sensitivity, both in its negative and positive forms. No other woman has that unique combination of qualities in the exact amount, or in the very same way that I do.
2. Practice positive self-talk. This is one tip I’ve read time and time again, but I always really struggled with it until I looked at it from a different perspective: Talk to yourself like a friend. This is a work in progress (and sometimes a bit of a struggle) for someone who’s practiced negative self-talk for yeeeeeeeeeears, but I’m getting a lot better at this. Positive self-talk for me looks something like this:
Scenario: You go for an interview and don’t get the job:
Positive self-talk: “Ok, you didn’t get this job, but you did really well to even get an interview in the first place, so you can look at it as a learning curve to land your dream job next time!”, instead of:
Negative self-talk “Oh, wow… totally messed that one up, didn’t you? Yet another thing to add to your endless list of failures… I mean, are you ever going to get a job at all?
The second example may seem pretty extreme, but up to last year, I often talked to myself like this (yikes, I know!)
It’s pretty easy to slip up occasionally as it can take a while to break bad habits, but you can take baby steps by counteracting any negative self-talk with positive thoughts, and as a general rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t say it to a friend? Don’t say it to yourself.
3. Find a hobby you absolutely love, and work on it till you’re an absolute pro.
Example? Starting this blog has really given me a much-needed boost of confidence, and it’s not about wearing fabulous clothes, getting lots of likes or even taking pretty pictures (although those are nice incentives), but there’s something so pride-inducing about doing what you love and creating something you’re proud of. I also like to paint shoe designs in my spare time, and even if I only show them to a couple of people, there’s nothing quite like that feeling of satisfaction when you successfully design a modern-day glass slipper alternative (yaaaaaaaaaas, honeeeeeeey!)
4. Slay all day, girl. If you’re having an ‘ugly day’ (and trust me- we all have them!), it’s very easy to allow it to spiral into an ugly week, month, year… and then before you know it, your self-esteem is… well, pretty much nada. Don’t let it get there- when you find that you’re starting to pick yourself apart, nip it in the bud. You can start off with the positive self-talk tip I mentioned before, but another thing which really helped me on my journey was doing little things to make me feel pretty, like say… getting my nails done. It probs no biggie to you, but anyone who knows me well will be aware that when I get my nails done, it’s ooooooooooonnnnnnn, baby. Call me crazy and superficial, but I personally believe feeling beautiful on the outside and loving yourself on the inside go hand-in-hand. You can’t truly love yourself if you hate what you see in the mirror, but at the same time, you can’t fully love yourself if your entire sense of self-worth comes from what you see in the mirror. So if you don’t love what you see initially, do little things that make you feel like you’re slayin’, even for just a second. And then start working on the parts of your beautiful brain, which for some reason don’t seem to recognise the all-round beauty in you.
5. Be patient with yourself. Keep in mind that self-love is a journey… there ain’t no GPS, so sometimes you’re gonna get a little lost along the way, and that’s totally okay! No one’s expecting you to know exactly where you’re going and nail the entire thing first time without going off-course at all; Just make sure you get back on the right path ASAP rather than giving up and turning back onto the long, winding road to self-loathing, or even self-toleration (I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve done this). Self-love is the most important kinda love a person can ever experience- it’s even more important than feelin’ the love from your friends, fam, boy or gal, cause as a very wise woman once told me, until you love yourself, no one else can truly love you. (Sorry, girl but Ne-yo lied to all of us).
So there you go: Happy Valentines Day, my SWTling
Whether you’re celebrating it as Valentines, or Galentines, I hope your guy/girl spoils you and treats you like the diamond that you are, and if you’re just doing you this year, I hope you’re treating yourself like a princess. 👸🏿