Do you appreciate what you have to offer? Feel confident in who you are? It’s okay if you shook your head no. Most people struggle with this. In fact, an estimated 85% of people around the world have low self-esteem. Further, reports have identified a “self-love crisis” where 1 in 2 people feel more self-doubt than self-love. It’s not difficult to understand why self-love and self-acceptance have become so hard to achieve. After all, there is an infinite amount of negativity online. Plus, there are always those pesky social media comparisons. Not to mention everyday situations and stressors that make it far too easy to call yourself every bad name under the sun. Overslept? I’m such an idiot. Why didn’t I set extra alarms? I do everything wrong. Didn’t get the job? No one would ever hire me. I’m not smart enough. I’m terrible at interviews. The list goes on and on. Instead of feeling low…it is time to focus on increasing self-love this month.
Start Each Day With a Few Minutes of Mirror Work
Sometimes, the most difficult thing you can do is look yourself in the eye and say something kind. Often, time in front of the mirror is spent looking critically at new lines that seemed to have appeared or mussed hair or countless other perceived flaws. The mirror becomes a place of criticism. That is why mirror work is an especially powerful practice. Instead of looking into the mirror to criticize or correct, the idea is to look at yourself in the mirror and be loving. To increase self-love, start each morning with a few minutes of mirror work. Stand in front of the mirror, look yourself in the eyes, and recite positive affirmations. Tell yourself how special you are, how loved you, how important you are, and that you matter. This might be a difficult process at first, but as your self-love grows, it will become easier and easier to spend that positive time with yourself.
Take Short Social Media Breaks Throughout the Day For a Week
Though there are many benefits of social media (more connectivity, the ability to learn new things, and the opportunity to meet new people) …there are also a lot of drawbacks. For instance, studies have found links between heavy social media use and depression, anxiety, and feelings of inadequacy. It’s so easy to compare the highlight reels from someone else’s life with your bad day or so-so experience. Remember that what you see online doesn’t always depict the full story. One way to practice self-love this month is to be mindful of the amount of time you are spending on various social media websites. Instead of scrolling through filtered pictures on Instagram or reading nasty tweets during your lunch break, read a book or phone a friend instead. Or set limits for your screen time each day. Avoiding social media first thing in the morning or immediately before bed can be helpful as well. Alternatively, you can take short social media breaks throughout the day. Try it for a week and see if your perception of self starts to shift.
Find Ways to Stay Present and In the Moment
A lot of the time, when self-love feels difficult, it has to do with living in the past. Maybe you are rehashing old mistakes over and over again. Or perhaps you feel that because of what happened to you as a child or in a past relationship, that you are unworthy of love. The past is powerful and can impact the future. This month? Focus on staying present whenever possible. There are a few different ways to do this. For example, finding ways to get grounded, reaching for appropriate crystals (smoky quartz for grounding, prehnite to calm the environment around you, and green opal for rebuilding), using essential oils thoughtfully, or repeating a mantra. The latter can be ultra simple. Whenever you find your thoughts wandering to the past, think, “Stay here.”
Write Yourself a Letter and Re-Read it Throughout the Month
It is time for a little writing exercise. Another way to practice self-love this month is to write yourself a letter. List things that you like about yourself, things that you have achieved in your life, and anything that you are grateful for. This may be difficult to do at first, especially if your self-love is very low, but do your best. (And if you really need a little assistance, ask a close friend how they would describe you.) Once you have written your letter, fold it in half, and put it somewhere safe. Whenever you are feeling down or are struggling with feeling worthy and confident…reach for that letter. Re-read what you wrote and take a minute to appreciate all that you are and all that you have to offer. Even if it just shifts your perspective temporarily, that can make all the difference. Over time, it will become easier to love the fullness of who you are.
Self-love is a journey. Though the progress is not always linear, it is essential to focus on loving yourself as much as possible. Remember: You matter. Always.