Self-Love is a Verb: 6 Ways to Get Your Groove Back + Feel Confident
Learning to love myself has been an ongoing process. I can remember feeling insecure as far back as elementary school, when my 5th grade crush told my best friend over the phone (as I listened in on the other line) that he thought I was pretty but “a little too fat” for his liking. That gut-wrenching moment set off a 25+ year battle with my self-esteem, my body image, and my overall relationship with myself.
I’ve obviously come a long way since the days of my 5th grade heartbreak, but I’d be lying if I said I had it all figured out. There are days I feel on top of the world, and days I feel like hiding out in my apartment in a canvas tarp. There are days I actually have hid out in my apartment (sans tarp) because I’ve felt so disgusted with myself. I’ve skipped meetings, events, and life in general because I was so consumed with how shitty I thought I looked. What a waste of time.
But, like any good coach, I’ve learned how to talk myself off the ledge and get a grip. And like any good coach, I also know my issues run far deeper than my weight or how I look in a pair of spandex leggings. I know that my body image issues are a manifestation of much more complicated feelings of unworthiness, abandonment, and all that jazz that is tethered to childhood. Sound familiar?
I don’t think I’ve met one woman who doesn’t carry some baggage from her past. And it looks different for all of us. For some women, it is a body image complex. For others, its other things. The good news is, however your lack of self-love shows up, there are ways to work on it. There are strategies and techniques to manage our anxiety and take off some of these heavy, heavy loads we wear on our backs. It is possible to learn to truly love yourself, to feel worthy, and style your mind in a way that serves your higher good. And I’m going to share with you how I do it.
When in doubt, journal it out. My first go-to when I’m feeling anxious is free writing. Free writing is an exercise where you write the thoughts that come into your mind as they flow through you. There is no format, no judgement, no rules. You simply document what you’re thinking and let it all take shape. I find I uncover so much when I set aside 30 minutes to do this. I light a candle, pour a cup of tea, and set up a quiet environment that allows me to fully let go and release whatever is brewing in my mind. It not only helps me get to the bottom of my own stuff, it also helps spark creative ideas for the future. Total win/win.
Check in on your self-care. This may be the most important thing on this list. Our minds and bodies are undeniably intertwined, and I know whenever I’m feeling badly about myself, 99% of the time I am treating my body like shit. I’m eating poorly, drinking too much wine, not taking enough hot baths, not getting regular massages, not working out, and not getting good sleep. All of this leads me to feel less confident, and self-love feels like the most foreign concept ever. If you can relate, its time to do an honest reality check on your wellness and then start making small changes. Plan some healthy meals you can cook yourself, start drinking more water with lemon, book a massage, or spend a few nights at home pampering yourself. Spend time connecting with your body by nourishing it with the right things and you will begin to feel better almost immediately (seriously, I can usually lift my spirits within just 24 hours of a major self-care marathon).
Get that body in motion. Book a SoulCycle class, go for a power walk, or just dance around your apartment. I love to put on my Pandora 80’s station and dance in my living room like a total a-hole. It makes me laugh and it feels damn good. Get those endorphins flowing – they’re like an instant injection of happiness. Even if you feel like crap, throw on some workout clothes, steer clear of all mirrors if you’re the type to judge yourself (I know I can be) and just sweat.
Write yourself a love letter. Before you roll your eyes, hear me out. This can be a super awkward exercise at first, but it is so empowering once you get started. Get some pretty stationary and get in the groove by making a list of all the things you love about yourself. Then, start writing it out in full sentences to form a letter. Tell yourself how proud you are of all your accomplishments. Compliment yourself on what a kind and loving person you are. Remind yourself of all the good in your life. Even if this feels a little silly, it works.
Treat yourself to something pretty. Consider this your permission slip to indulge a little. Depending on your budget, go and splurge on something to make you feel beautiful. Whether it’s a new, bold lipstick shade, a pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on, or a new outfit that makes you feel incredible, you deserve it. When we look good, we feel good. Raise your glam vibration and boost your confidence. You don’t have to go broke, but you should allow yourself a little something every now and then. It’s called retail therapy for a reason, after all!
Listen to your favorite music. Music heals. I know this to be true for as long as I can remember. There have been times in my life where literally every single thing felt like it was in shambles, and the only thing that saved me was music. Make yourself a playlist that makes you feel good. Take a walk with your headphones on, or drive around in your car and get lost in song lyrics. No matter what is happening in my life, music is my one constant that is always there for me, and always helps me feel better. Lately I’ve been really feeling jazz, especially French jazz. I put it on, make myself an espresso, and write. I made this Spotify playlist for you guys with some of my favorites.
Whatever route you take to find your way to self-love, remember to be gentle and patient with yourself. For some reason, it’s much easier to be hard on ourselves, but when it comes to being kind, it can be a little challenging.
Take it slow, and do the best you can. Because that will always be more than enough.
image via We Heart It