Confidence is not exactly a word found in my vocabulary frequently. In fact, I used to rarely ever feel confident, in charge, or proud of my myself. I have a tendency to over apologize for things, which usually aggravates Jay. So, frequently we have that awkward discussion where I say “…I’m sorry!” And then he says “Stop saying ‘I’m sorry!'” Then I’m like, “Ok well, if I were saying I’m sorry, I would say it right now.” And then I get “the look.”
After repeating the previous scenario multiple times a month, I took it upon myself to take some serious action in the self development area of my life. Just because I’m not a size 2, doesn’t mean I’m not beautiful. The same goes for you too! Beauty is not defined by a specific clothing size, a given lifestyle, personality or skin or hair color. Beauty comes from within. I know that sounds a little cliché, and over used, but when you really think about it-it is so true. So why are we all beating ourselves up because we aren’t a goal weight, or maybe we have had a failure in our life, or we don’t have long eyelashes or the perfect plump lips?! We are each beautiful in our very own, and unique way. We need to love, and envy, ourselves, because we are worth it! I have spent so many years of my life, thinking that I wan’t pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, or cool enough. Those thoughts have to leave my mind, and yours to if you have them. They are just lies that satan tells us in order to gain control of our happiness, and none of them are true. So why do we let ourselves believe them? Why do we fall victim to our own criticism? And What can we do to change the way we are thinking and make our lives more positive and happy?
I am no expert. In fact, I am currently on my own journey to loving myself just the way I am, and wanting more out of my everyday life. No one is perfect. I certainly am not. But that doesn’t mean that I am unworthy. And that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t love myself, believe in myself and/or be proud of myself. I should and you should too. So today I am going to share 5 Ways to Love and Respect Yourself More Each Day. In my case, I didn’t feel better overnight, a couple of days, or even a few weeks. It takes time, effort and willingness to forgive yourself, and I still struggle with that daily. We are all going to fall short of glory, but that is why we are given grace. We are worthy of loving ourselves and being happy with who we are. My mom has constantly told me throughout my life that I have to be happy with where I am, before anything will ever change. I struggled with that, because the whole purpose of wanting change was because I was unhappy with what I had. However, I found that when I began to work on myself, not the external factors I was blaming my unhappiness on, I slowly began to find joy in the little things in life and little, by little, the self worth that I had lost, began to show up again. Happiness is like beauty, you have to find it from within, and it takes work.
Focus On Your Personal and Spiritual Development
For me, I began with spiritual development because I was so far from it. I have always prayed at night and mostly before a big exam, or when I felt like I needed help the most. But, I have found that I don’t have to be in bed, or in my closet, or alone in a white room to say a thankful prayer. I began to pray all throughout the day, whenever it came to my mind. For a while, I was journaling and completed this bible study. I love to listen to Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer when I am in the car. Jay and I began attending church and slowly I found a group of people, that were filled with such amazing joy, happiness and love for one another, and themselves. That kind of life is contagious and a good kind of contagious. That kind of life is found in Jesus. He is waiting with open arms to give us grace and help us to love yourself again, because he loves us and that is more than enough. Jesus is where I began my journey. I also picked up this book, which I have slowly been working my way through. It is great motivation for both spiritual development and personal development. There are many personal development books out there, that I am searching through to find my next read. I would love any recommendations you have! This is next on my reading list!
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
This one was probably one of the most difficult for me. Throughout high school, and college, I compared myself to others. Whether it was my acne that made me self-conscious, the fact that I got a C on my exam while others got A’s, or that I just never felt like I fit in. My mind tricked me into thinking I wasn’t good enough and that made me turn my back on so many friends, and acquaintances. I would make up some crazy story of why I wasn’t good enough and why they didn’t like me, when in reality, none of it was probably even true! I think its completely normal to sometimes feel a little different, but that is just a part of being human and doesn’t make it ok to for us to compare ourselves to others. “Comparison is the thief of Joy.” We are all different, but valuable. We have strengths, and weaknesses, that make us different. Please don’t compare yourself to others. It’s so easy to get wrap up in social media and looking perfect. Trust me, I always fee like an imposter when it comes to blogging! I’m not tall, thin or really all too fashionable. And let’s not even get started about how awkward I feel in front of a camera. I don’t know what happened to the little diva that loved being on camera, but I can’t find her anymore! Don’t compare yourself to others, instead be thankful for everything that you are. Because you have traits that the person you are envying, does not have. Things always look fine, and perfect, from the outside. Bu t you never know what is going on inside someones personal life. Which is just another reason to love yourself and encourage others. You could be the turning point in someones life that shows them they are worthy!
Start Small:Health, Fitness, Joy
I’m one of those types of people that will find a food I like and eat it over, and over. Or a favorite store I like to shop in and I will just shop there, and only there. I tend to sometimes take things to extremes. No exactly when it comes to healthy eating, however I have no problem sitting down with a container of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream and eating the entire thing! Same goes for exercise. I will go hard for three days an then quit, because I went way too overboard the first couple of days and now I’m just exhausted. Slow and steady wins the race. It’s ok not to be perfect on your first try. It’s ok to go to the gym and not run for 45 minutes on the treadmill. Starts small, don’t over do it and I promise you will see better results. Take your time when it goes to personal growth. Maybe you just read an inspiring book 3 times a week, or every few days. A little bit of consistent progress is much better than a ton of unsustainable progress. Take a half a step a day, so you don’t have to take two steps forward and ten steps back! I am thinking about purchasing a happiness journal, so that I can just jot down a few thoughts every now and then. The only way for me to be consistent is to take things very slow and work at them overtime. Don’t beat yourself up, its ok! If you’re like me, these yoga pants will change your exercising game!
I thought number two was difficult, but unplugging can be even more trifling than other things. Unplugging from technology, and social media, can be one of the most challenging, but rewarding things you can do for yourself. In today’s society, it’s nearly impossible to not keep up with the latest Facebook posts, or not check your work email after 5pm. On most days, the first thing I do in the morning is check my Instagram account, snapchat, email and everything else, all before I get out of bed, or open both of my eyes! [Am I the only one who squints one eye open in the morning to check Instagram?!] That is a terrible habit that I need to break, but it isn’t easy. Instead of reaching for my phone first thing in the morning, I have been trying to push myself out of bed, and into the bathroom to brush my teeth, before reaching for my cellphone. At night, when I can, I try to put away my phone, and laptop, about 30 minutes before I plan on going to sleep. There is no doubt that I sleep so much better, if I read a book for a while before I go to sleep. I fall asleep easier, earlier and sleep much more peacefully if I unplug from technology all together a little before bed time. Limiting yourself to a set amount of social media and technology time everyday can make a huge impact on personal development, in my opinion. If I stay off of Facebook and Instagram, I can take the time to read a book that can provide me with valuable ways to improve my daily life. I can also take the time to go to my garden, take a walk with Jay and Worm, head to the gym, or just have a few minutes to myself to reflect and be thankful. Those moments are much more valuable than having my brain filled with information overload and images that may make me feel unworthy. So, even though it may be difficult, take a break from the laptop, cell phone or whatever it is. You might find yourself reaching for it less and feeling much more relieved than you could ever believe!
Gain Perspective & Be Patient
Everything takes time, including personal development. One of my biggest problems is rushing myself into everything. I always rush, rush rush, and then realize if I would have just slowed everything down, I would have gotten a better result. It’s in my nature to rush myself and thats not good. Good things take time and being patient is essential to loving ourselves. We have to patient with ourselves and others. We have to be forgiving because we aren’t perfect. And most importantly, when taking our time (and being patient) we are able to gain perspective. If we rush through things quickly, and don’t see results immediately, we might feel the need to quit. There is no benefit in quitting and doing so will only stand in the way of our progress towards loving ourselves, and being content with how we are. Gaining perspective is one of the hardest, but best things I have done for myself. Whenever I feel overwhelmed,or unhappy with myself or my circumstances, gaining perspective is one of the only things that will help me stay grounded. Am I without food? No. Am I without a home? No. Can I pay bills, eat, live, have my health, be loved by family, be loved by God? Yes. So I am perfectly fine. I may not be as tall and thin as I would like, I may not run as fast as I would like, feel as secure as I would like or have clear (acne free sin) like I would like to have, but I am perfectly me just the way I am. Being patient with myself, gaining perspective and taking things one day at a time, at a slow pace is the only way for me to feel better and be the better, more confident person I want to be.
Feeling good about myself is something that doesn’t come easy, but is necessary to work at. We are all so beautiful in our own ways and worthy to be loved by others, but most importunely, to be loved by ourselves. I hope that this post has inspired you to take a little extra time to work on how you treat yourself. Between all of the stress we are enduring these days (wedding, house, work and more life craziness) I need to continue to push, press, and work really hard at loving and caring for myself. I need to read some books, pray, practice yoga, and fuel my body with good foods. I am going to reflect on this post that I wrote a few months ago and I think that if you liked these tips you will find that post really helpful also! I hope that your found these 5 Ways to Love and Respect Yourself More helpful and just remember that you are beautiful!
What are your favorite ways to love and respect yourself? I would love for you to share them in a comment!