In the run-up to this post, I came across a well-timed Facebook post from Blurt Foundation – a charitable organisation dedicated to helping people with depression. The post was about self love and it was accompanied by a lovely diagram (see below).
The self love “hedgehog” displays 7 conclusive methods to treat ourselves with more compassion and kindness. I thought it was very fitting and decided to mould this week’s blog post around it. A few of these concepts I feel very familiar with already. Others, not so much. For example, I have on multiple occasions dropped “toxic” people from my life, although I prefer to describe the dynamic as toxic rather than the person. Most notably, my father when I was 17. To this day, I can honestly say it remains the best decision I ever made. It allowed for the uncovering of my true self and gave me the space to grow. Also, being mindful of my inner voice is a practice I became familiar with during my week of self parenting. It’s one of the practices that has truly stuck and it’s in the forefront of my mind on a daily basis. Again, taking care of my body is something I do well already for the most part. Adjusting my diet to be more aligned with my body and my moral beliefs was the main factor in cementing a healthier lifestyle for myself. I also rarely drink alcohol because of the havoc it can wreak with my moods. I plan to write a post on the link between alcohol and low mood/depression at some point because it is something that is very close to my heart. And lastly, focusing on myself is what led me to travel south to go to college. I left the comfort of a nice home and an even nicer boyfriend to advance my studies. Although I can’t wait to return to them both, I feel secure and content with my decision.
Now for the methods I’m not so accustomed to: building positive affirmations, thanking yourself and removing negative comparisons. Affirmations are something I’ve always been a bit skeptical about. I guess I always thought that the idea of saying nice things to yourself in a mirror is a bit naff and forced. It’s not something I ever believed would make a difference. Recently, a YouTuber I like, whose channel is called Raw Alignment, explored affirmations in a bit of detail. She asserted that the daily practice of positive affirmations makes an impact on our subconscious over time. As someone who’s interested in psychology, this piqued my interest and opened my mind and heart to the idea that affirmations might actually work. Some suggestions she made were to firstly say “I love myself” multiple times every morning and then to create some more positive affirmations about life in general like: “I am living in abundance”, “I deserve respect”, “I am surrounded by inspiring people” and “I am worthy of feeling healthy”. All of these resonate with me so I think they would be a good jumping-off point for my exploration of affirmations. If you’re interested in watching the video you can click here.
I feel that thanking ourselves is a good opportunity to express appreciation and gratitude for the effort we put in to keep going, even when things get difficult. I do sometimes say “well done” to myself when I do something that requires a great deal of effort but it has never dawned on me to say “thank you”. Injecting more gratitude into our lives is something we can all benefit from. In researching this concept (because, to be honest, I didn’t know where to start!) I found a blog post exploring gratitude and, lo and behold, it recommended thanking yourself as a means to practicing self love. A way to do this, it explained, is to write a gratitude note to yourself. This note can include: what you are grateful for about yourself and why you wouldn’t want to be anyone else but you in this lifetime. I find writing in general to be very cathartic so I look forward to writing my note of gratitude this week. 🙂
The last method of practising self love that I’m yet to implement in my life is removing negative comparisons. Of course I’ve heard that comparing ourselves to others is unhealthy but I’ve never myself taken steps to really challenge the comparisons I sometimes make. It can be difficult because it’s not always a conscious thought that a comparison comes from. It can be the overuse of social media, scrolling through the seemingly-superior life of another or the pang of insecurity you get when you see a very beautiful person on the street. In these moments, maybe the best way to ward off negative comparisons is to counteract them with the aforementioned positive affirmations. Or we could also counter them with a positive comparison, like “yes, her makeup makes her look very put-together and polished but there is also charm and beauty in a natural bare face” or “yes, that singer appears very successful in comparison to me but I also seem very successful in comparison to where I was at 5 years ago.” This is the type of approach and language I intend to incorporate this week in order to be more loving towards myself.
In conclusion, these are the things I will be incorporating in my life this week:
- Reciting positive affirmations every day which I will visualise with notes around my bedroom
- Writing a gratitude note to myself and highlighting my strengths
- Counteracting negative comparisons with positive affirmations and/or positive comparisons
I’m excited to be following a more regimented plan for self-esteem growth this week! My next post will be exploring my thoughts and feelings on my week of practising self love. Thanks so much for reading!
– SMUT ❤ xxxx