Learning To Love Yourself {Guest Post}

Hi I’m Alex and I blog over at www.bettertogetherhome.com. I’m a mum and wife and a lover of travel, good food, great beer, red lipstick, new shoes and getting creative. I’m here today to talk about ‘Self Love and Learning to Love Yourself’.
STOP! Before you cringe and run screaming in the other direction this is not some dodgy sex ed class you were forced to sit through at secondary school and neither is it some hippy-cheese-fest! Now that’s out of the way, get yourself a cuppa and have a read.


Learning to Love Yourself
Disclaimer: I don’t always follow my own advice. Even when I know its good advice. And after a lifetime of weight and self-esteem issues I know that this is always going to be an ongoing project for me.
I’m a strong believer that loving yourself is an essential part of true happiness. After all you spend more time with yourself than with anyone else – and you wouldn’t be around a person if you didn’t love them!
For years I suffered with crippling self-doubt, and not just over the big things in life such as jobs either; over everything from picking out an outfit in the morning to choosing what movie to watch at the cinema. I didn’t trust myself to make the right decisions. I didn’t love myself enough to believe that I could make even the simplest decision correctly for myself.
Seems crazy right? But think about it this way. How many times have you gone through your entire wardrobe trying to decide on an outfit for a night out? We’ve all been there, surrounded by a mountain of clothes and filled with a rising sense of panic as we worry about not finding anything to wear, about looking fat, or not ‘trendy’ enough, or being overdressed.
Oscar Wilde once said that “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance” and he was right; he also said “I can resist everything except temptation” and I tell you what – me and Mr Wilde have a lot in common!
So HOW do you learn to love yourself?
Well it’s something that’s personal to everyone (after all every single one of us is an individual with different needs and desires) but I’m a true believer in ‘faking it til you make it’.
I’ve listed eight ways in which you can show yourself love – the idea being that if you keep on doing these things and telling yourself that you are loving yourself then guess what? One day doing these things and loving yourself will become instinctive to you.  
  1. Appreciate and care for your body
We only get one body and every day our bodies do a million things for us. Yes you might have a body like mine (a little overweight and covered in stretch marks) but damn that body is also strong. My body has birthed a gorgeous little girl and carried triplets, has men spilling food down themselves because they are too busy staring at my boobs and has arms that are strong enough to give my best friend a massive hug – it’s done me well so far. Eat well, exercise, paint your toenails in your favourite colour and show your body some love – practice some self-care.
  1. Spend some time alone
I used to hate spending time alone – it would whack my anxiety up to full strength and I’d be clawing the walls with stress and loneliness. It’s only recently that I’ve learned to appreciate spending some time alone. I’ve even taken myself out on a date – I had a whole day to myself and so after the school run I went exploring around London, taking photos and stopping for coffee at grown up and very instagrammable cafes, then in the evening I ate ramen and went to the cinema alone. It was such a liberating experience. Spending time alone doesn’t even have to mean going out – it could be as simple as having a hot bath and snuggling up in your pjs watching Netflix.
  1. Stop Comparing yourself to others
Yeah yeah I know – easier said than done, especially in these times of social media and reality tv. If it helps you then take a break from those things. Remember that people only show you what they want to show you – nobody has a perfect life, not even the rich and famous (just look at the sh*t show that is the Karsashians!).
  1. Be grateful
One of the things that I started this year was making a note each day of the things I am grateful for. I don’t have a full on gratitude journal but I do take a moment at the end of every day to make a note in my diary or even just on a post-it note of the things that have made me happy that day.
Mine today were: The bus driver told me to “Have a great day beautiful”. The coffee machine at work was working again. We had a really productive project meeting. I introduced Lily to the Pippy Longstocking movie.
  1. Let go of toxic people and memories
Not everyone we know is truly supposed to be in our lives. If you are letting yourself be surrounded by toxic people or are staying in a toxic relationship then you are not showing yourself love. Surround yourself with people who love you and who show you that love with their support. If spending time with someone leaves you feeling negative or unhappy then really evaluate that relationship. The same goes for memories – carrying around the bad bits of the past is only going to weigh you down; you can’t change it but you can find a way to let it go.
  1. Smile.
Smile more. Smile at strangers in the street. Smile at the guy making your coffee in Starbucks. Smile at your boss. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Just Smile. Make a conscious effort to act happier, livelier and more energetic.
Remember that whole ‘fake it til you make it’ thing? This is that in a nutshell. On days when I make an effort to appear happy I actually end up feeling a whole lot happier too.
  1. Talk to yourself as if you were your friend
I think most women are guilty of putting ourselves down. It sometimes becomes a habit to automatically rubbish yourself, particularly if someone pays you a compliment. For example my first day in my new job someone told me that my dress was lovely, and you know what I responded? Not a simple thanks, or to tell them where it was from. Nope. I said “pity about the body squeezed into it”. And when I thought about that later on it made me feel sad.
Think about how you talk to your friends – how you see their good points and tell them, how you boost their esteem by telling them how gorgeous they look in that dress they’ve picked for a night out. Or how you would only ever describe them as beautiful, funny or with other positive adjectives.
Imagine speaking to your best friend the way you speak to yourself. Make a conscious decision to speak to and about yourself only in the way you would do for your friends, after all this is all about being your own friend.
You know what I said the next time someone complemented me on my outfit?
“Thanks. I feel amazing when I wear red, this colour really suits me”.
  1. Tell yourself
Ok so this bit might seem a bit cringey. And it might even seem a bit of a hippy-cheese-fest. But you’ve read this far so just trust me ok? Decide four things you aspire to be. For example mine are: beautiful, happy, creative and fun. When you look in the bathroom mirror tomorrow morning take a minute to repeat this mantra with your chosen aspirations whilst looking at yourself;
“I love you… You are beautiful. You are happy. You are creative. You are fun”
Yeah it’s awkward as anything the first few times – but I’ve been doing it for three months now and it really does give me a boost in the morning. It’s all about believing in yourself, just give it a try.

And there you have it – eight simple ways to love yourself more.
Try them out, and make sure to let me know how it feels.
Alex
xxx
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