Loving ourselves doesn't always come naturally, especially in an age where we are constantly faced with a stream of ideals to live up to by people we admire online and in the media.
So many people suffer from self-esteem issues today. These can manifest in lots of different ways in our lives. They can be destructive to our relationships, our work, our physical and mental health, and to our everyday happiness.
Keep reading for some inspirational tips and find out how to love yourself and be more confident in your everyday life.
Discover Something That You Love To Do
One of the first steps to loving yourself is establishing a strong sense of identity. When you know for sure what you are all about, it is easy to like and admire yourself for who you are and not for who you want to be, who you are trying to be, or who other people expect you to be.
Discovering something that you love to do is an easy way to strengthen your sense of identity by focusing on spending your time in a way that feel genuine to you. We often spend our time doing the things we think we should be doing, or we try to mimic the people we admire.
Unfortunately this takes away our self-esteem, because we are always comparing ourselves to other people, which can be damaging.
Here is a list of prompts to help you discover something you truly love to do:
- What do you most enjoy doing (or where do you like to go) when you are by yourself with nobody around to judge you? Some people like to make pretty art and scrapbooking junk journals in their spare time. Other people like to go for a long solitary walk in the woods with the dog. Maybe you like to collect houseplants and spend your whole Sunday morning watering and preening them?
- What are you really good at? This doesn't have to be something that other people think you are good at. We are not looking for any type of validation here. What is it that you pride yourself in? It could be painting your own nails, or making the perfect cup of tea. Maybe you are really good at expressing yourself in journal writing or poetry?
- What activities do you like to do in order to clear your mind of stress? Mindfulness is such an effective way to shut out all of the noise around us and focus our attention inwards. There are many everyday activities that help us to "zone out", so think about your favourites. Some people like to clean the house or wash the dishes as a therapeutic activity. Maybe you play a musical instrument or have a record collection you enjoy listening to? Any form of exercise, like running, walking, or even going to the gym can help to relieve stress and clear your mind.
When you practice all of these things you will find your "happy place". Your happy place is a state of mind where you just feel good. In order to love yourself more and be more confident, try to spend more time in your happy places. This encourages you to carve out more time for yourself.
Use Daily Affirmations
Affirmations are positive statements about your self. When you say something to your self often enough, you will start to believe it - otherwise what would be the point in constantly repeating it?
There are many simple and effective ways to incorporate affirmations or positive statements about yourself into your everyday life. Here are some ideas...
- Create a short speech or personal mantra and say it to yourself every morning whilst looking in the mirror before you leave the house. You might feel a bit swkward at first, but once you realise how effective and powerful those words can be, you will look forward to your morning mantra. You should include all the things you aspire to be, but say them in a way that states you're already there. For example, don't say "I want to be..." instead say, "I am..."
- Write positive statements about yourself on post-it notes and stick them all over your house as constant reminders of what a great person you are. When you open the kitchen cupboard in the morning a little note on your teabag tin will remind you that you are beautiful. When you sit down on the loo a little note on the wall will remind you that you are strong, etc.
- Call your mobile from someone else's phone and leave yourself a positive voicemail, and then listen to it in the evening. It may sound weird, but it is weird how strange things can have such an impact on the way you think. Just try it a few times and see for yourself. You can also send yourself emails, so that you can read them when you get to work. For some reason it is more effective to actually hear or read them, than just thinking the positive statements in your head.
Eat Well And Find Time For Exercise
Looking after your health is a no-brainer when it comes to looking and feeling good. When you know that you look and feel good, your self-esteem soars, and feeling happy and confident becomes so much easier.
The most important thing is that the emphasis should be on balance and not on fad diets and going to the gym in order to look like everyone else. Looking and feeling good about your self start from within, so ignore what you see in the mirror.
The healthier your lifestyle becomes, all that you dislike about your body will change anyway, so just let it happen naturally instead of forcing it and making yourself mentally ill in the process. Feeling good about yourself shouldn't feel like a battle.
Take A Pride In Everything You Do
When you live your life intentionally it is much easier to see the things in your life that are relevant to your happiness and health. Stop rushing around trying to get everything done, because you are filling your mind up with negative clutter when you can't achieve all of your high expectations.
Slow down and start to focus on one thing at a time. Taking your time helps you to be more present and experience your life from moment to moment, rather than worrying about the past or the future. When you live in the moment you can truly appreciate yourself and your life, because it is right there in front of you if you pay attention to it.
Here are some simple ways to train yourself to slow down and be more mindful and intentional with your everyday activities:
- Learn how to make tea or coffee at home properly. Taking a break should be a relaxing a meditative ritual, so take your time and do it properly. You will be surprised at how much more enjoyment you can get from a simple hot drink when you give the whole process your full attention.
- Be more observant when you are out in the world. When we go to work often we are oblivious of the people around us, and the environment through which we travel. This is because it is a route that we take every day of the week. Next time you go to work pay attention to other people. What are they doing? Look at their faces, do they look happy, and what do you think they are thinking? Look at trees and buildings, and appreciate the architecture. Notice the care and talent that has gone into shop window displays. When you are thinking about all of these things, you are not filling your mind with stress thoughts about yourself and your own life.
- Slow down your speech. Choose your words and craft your sentences carefully, and you might be surprised at the difference it makes. People will pay more attention to you when you talk slowly and thoughtfully. You will also get more satisfaction from being eloquent in expressing your ideas, and you might even enjoy the extra engagement you get!
Find Ways To Be Helpful To Others
Loving yourself and being more confident isn't just about you. One of the best ways to feel good is to focus your care and attention on other people.
Other people's gratitude is a potent anecdote to low self-esteem.
So the next time you feel bad about yourself, try to do something good for someone else, and feel your spirits lift immediately!
Here are some ideas to inspire you...
- Observe when someone is struggling and ask if they need a hand. Look out for elderly people, or those with children, but also keep your eye out for anyone who looks like they could do with some help, they don't need to be old or disabled or struggling with kids to need help.
- Offer someone a smile. It's totally free, and it can make all the difference to someone's day if you just offer a small smile as you are passing. You never have to have a reason to smile other than to spread the good vibes. Don't worry if they don't smile back, some people just don't get it.
- Become a volunteer. If you have some free time, a great way to spend it is to offer it to a good cause. You can volunteer at a charity shop or a pet rescue centre. You can help out in a community project or simply volunteer your services to help your neighbour clear leaves from their garden.
You might think that loving yourself and being more confident is a complicated process, but really its just about making small shifts in the way you look not only at yourself, but also at the world around you. Have sun trying out some of these ideas, and good look in discovering your true potential!