Sunday, 14 February 2016
Happy Valentine's Day!
I thought today would be the perfect day to talk about something I feel is extremely important to achieve health & happiness, and that's self love. While that might sound a little hippy I promise you if you learn to love and appreciate yourself it'll be the best thing you ever do - I don't mean become arrogant, self-centred, selfish or egotistical but learn to treat yourself with kindness and be gentle.
I definitely haven't always had a lot of love for myself, in fact I used to despise myself. I was the girl who looked in the mirror, picked out every feature of my body I didn't like and I'd punish myself for looking that way. I was so obsessed with what other people thought of me as well - I'd spend my time worrying about how to impress people, overthinking every conversation I'd had in the day and feeling super low when I felt like I didn't fit in. This tortured me deeply, my soul was being destroyed and I constantly felt full of rage & despair.
It's been a long journey but I can now say I don't hate myself at all, in fact I quite like myself. That could be seen as an arrogant or self-ritious thing to say, but why should it? Shouldn't we all love the person we are? Because if we don't, then who else can?
As human beings we tend to be very critical. We're so ready to put ourselves down, look at the negatives and focus on our flaws instead of seeing the positives and the wonderful parts of ourselves. It's a habit we must get out of! Looking in the mirror and thinking your hair is dull, your overweight or your skin isn't perfect may seem like the easier option but all it's doing is filling your heart, mind and soul with negative thoughts and emotions that won't serve you well - in fact, they're highly damaging in so many ways. Instead you need to look in the mirror and highlight the fabulous things about yourself, perhaps you like your big, bright eyes, the lipstick you're wearing today or how great your legs look in those jeans. Compliment yourself, mean it and accept it whilst forgetting about everything else - you'll leave the house feeling powerful, happy, bright and glowing.
We should also allow others to compliment us - if someone says you look pretty today then accept it graciously, don't dismiss it!
Technology is another huge obstacle when it comes to self love. The internet can be a wonderful place, but it's also very unhealthy. Spending too much time online means you're connecting to the virtual world more than the real world; you start to compare yourself to what you see online, which is often unrealistic portrayals of peoples lives whether that's on Instagram, YouTube or Facebook. Remember that people choose what they post and have complete power over it, and also remember that plenty of images on tumblr, news sites and instagram are photoshopped.
There's something so refreshing about turning your phone off and connecting to the real world, and I've found that's when I'm happiest. It helps me breathe properly, it reminds me what's important and I'm not constantly comparing myself to other people or other lives.
Taking 'me time' is very powerful, and so vital to mental & physical health. Me time doesn't mean locking yourself in your room with your laptop, or laying on the sofa watching the Friends boxset, it means being with yourself, your thoughts, your emotions and your breath. It means quietening your mind from the craziness that is life and taking time to appreciate yourself and refresh.
For me this means daily yoga practice - my time on the mat is 'me time', it's when I'm not connected to a screen, I'm not thinking about the past or the future but I'm in the moment. Taking this time for myself everyday really helps me find clarity in all aspects of life and I find it aids my mission for happiness. This action tells me I'm doing something valuable for my mind & body and I instantly feel lifted. Yoga is my thing, but maybe your 'me time' is drawing, singing, playing a musical instrument, going for a walk, meditating or just sitting quietly.
Nourishing your body with good food is perhaps the most underrated form of self love, but why should it be? What we put into our system effects our whole being, so of course it effects how we feel about ourselves. Providing your body with clean, delicious, nourishing, amazing food and looking after that one body you're ever going to get is bound to help you respect yourself more. Taking that time, thought and effort into providing your body with amazingness is such a huge sign of self love. I know that eating a plant-based diet makes my heart smile and my soul shine.
Having said this, don't punish yourself if you do eat some pizza or snack on chocolate! Happiness is key, so punishing yourself and beating yourself up is not the answer. You have to accept your human-ness (the fact you're not perfect) before you can love yourself, so be kind.
So, make peace with the mirror and watch your reflection change. The true inner bliss that comes with self-acceptance is too wonderful to miss out on, and you CAN do it.
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