Self love and appreciation is a concept that some people assume you either have or don’t have; lucky people are born with it, and those less fortunate are just not. People who are not born into a naturally optimistic brain are doomed (or at least more prone) to constant negative thoughts and feelings about themselves. Of course some of us have a higher hill to climb, but this predisposition about self love is a slippery slope and not completely true. This is a misconception that can really stick with some people and become a source of insecurity.
We’d like to offer another perspective: appreciating and loving yourself is a skill that has to be learned and nurtured. It takes practice analyzing yourself for who you are and appreciating what you might find. Some people might unconsciously practice some of these ideas enough already and may not even realize it, and sometimes that’s enough for them. It will come easier to some people and that’s okay. For others who have struggled with addiction, depression, or other mental health problems, it will likely take more work to find out how to love and respect yourself.
Here are some ways we recommend finding time for yourself to improve your self appreciation.
Make More “You” Time
This sounds disingenuous at first glance. Of course we all need time to ourselves, everyone knows that. But with work, school, hobbies, social media, chores, errands, and keeping up with friends, who really makes the proper time for themselves? Some of us can’t afford the time out of our busy schedules to make this happen, but it might be something you want to consider making time for anyways.
This is more than just having some Netflix time to yourself at the end of the day after work. Clear out a day, a weekend, maybe even take a vacation and focus on yourself. Follow a passion, do a creative activity, or maybe even just get some extra sleep and make some delicious meals. Most importantly, be mindful of the time you’re taking. We guarantee you’ll enjoy taking time to yourself more if you take a step back to appreciate what you’re doing for yourself.
Diversify How You See Yourself
We’d love to just say “stop thinking negative things about yourself,” but everybody knows that’s unrealistic. Of course do your best to work on not being negative, but to pretend we can entirely prevent our low points would be naive.
Instead, try also spending time practicing positive self-thought. Our brain is going to default to thinking negatively most of the time, so try putting a counterweight on the scale. Appreciate what you do like about yourself, even when you’re feeling very “I hate everything.” Small things count too. This is another skill that will directly translate to more positive feelings about yourself.
Talk To Someone
A friend, your mom or dad, a therapist, find someone who will listen to what you have to say. Being heard is enough sometimes- but people you talk to might have advice that really resonates with you (if you’re looking for it, at least)! Make sure to be clear if you want to speak and be given advice or not by the person you’re talking with.
Be sure to listen to them, too! They might be going through something right now as well. Being there for your friends and family is it’s own reward.
Consider Your Digital Consumption
Take a hard look at how you use social media. It is an addiction for many that can break down self esteem. Do you think your browsing habits are healthy? If you genuinely believe how you use social media is not harmful, you are probably fine. But if there’s any sort of pressure around viewing an app a certain number of times per day or making a post as often as possible, it might be time to reconsider how you use social media.
Regardless, almost everyone could afford to slim down on the “scrolling” time. Some of us in every generation are guilty of a little too much screen time. Even if you don’t think you do it much, chances are you could do with less (just give it a try!)
Take A Look at Your Diet
Eating healthily is super difficult, and really easy to lose track of. Healthy eating can help regulate mood, and in turn, positive mindset (among so many other things). Positive mindset can translate to good thoughts, and good thoughts to self love. We could go on.
Try exploring your options if this sounds like a challenging task for you. If you don’t like cooking but have some expendable income, try a service like HelloFresh or Blue Apron. The process is laid out for you with all the ingredients included. It’s healthy and incredibly convenient. If money is a little more tight, start out with bagged and canned vegetables. When prepared properly, you can hardly tell the difference between them and restaurant made! Additionally, there’s guides like these for shopping healthy on a budget. Shop around, try a few things!
Try Lots of Ideas
Try all the things we recommend and more at least for a little bit. Not everybody will enjoy relying on their friends, but maybe they’ll enjoy trying to make better eating habits. Not everything “works,” either. The only way to find what works best for you is being adaptable! Make sure to always do it your own way. Part of self love is enjoying the way you specifically do things, so keep pushing until you have something to lean on a little more.