10 Tips for Self-Love

Self-love in a world of instant gratification, Face/Body Tune apps is bloody hard but I hope these 10 tips will help you out.

1)      Accept your past: Clinging onto your past will only add shame and negativity to your mindset. Have you ever wondered why you can remember bad things in your life more so than the good times? Likely it’s because you haven’t come to terms and accepted the past. Chances are you’ve made mistakes – some greater than others. The more shame those memories create, the less likely you are to accept them and move away from that place. You NEED to address your past and accept your actions – or inactions – in order to find peace. Especially if you have undergone trauma. You may need to seek professional assistance in order to overcome deeper trauma, but it will be worth it.

2)      Believe that you can get there: You may not love yourself now, but believing that you can get there will help tremendously. This isn’t a “fake it ‘til you make it” mindset. It’s not walking around thinking “YES! I LOVE MYSELF!!! 100% SELF LOVE WALKING HERE!” Though that might help for some, in this situation I have never found this. BELIEVING that I deserve self-love has gotten me further.

3)      Do what you love: Did you know that your energy changes when you do something you really enjoy? Whenever I draw or paint, the cats always gravitate to me and will lay or sit beside me purring the whole time. I find I get almost meditative and I know that my energy changes. I can almost feel my body relax on a cellular level. I know that’s unlikely, but you know what I mean! Additionally, if you find an activity you love doing, not only will you be more likely to stick with it, but physical activity releases endorphins; the happy hormone.

4)      Stop Comparing Yourself to Others: Even thinking things like “I wish I had her**” (**hair, body, house, job, lifestyle, clothing…) can be damaging as it implies that yours isn’t good enough. There’s a saying: “Appreciate other’s beauty without questioning your own”… I think this is something you can aim for. To be able to look at another woman and think “Wow, she’s beautiful”, or “Wow, she has an amazing body” without suddenly feeling bad about yourself is quite empowering. Also remember that on social media, people often only show the good parts of their lives. They pose, airbrush, and edit the parts of their lives they don’t want you to see away. Though more and more influencers are showing how easy it is to manipulate images even just from posing, lighting, and clothing, it’s still important to remember.

5)      Address your insecurities: Everyone has insecurities. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t. For me, for the longest time, it was my lower legs – ankles, calves, and even knees. Can you believe I hate my knees? Stupid, right? As it turns out, I may have a mild form of lipederma (which I still have to address with my doctor) but if this is the case, I have literally been hating my legs for over 3 decades because of a medical problem I have zero control over. Not even losing weight will assist me. The only way to mitigate the disorder is surgery and I know the military won’t pay for it because it’s considered cosmetic. My husband questioned my desire to get a proper diagnosis if they won’t do anything about it but, for me, having that diagnosis could help me make peace with my legs. I’ve spent over 3 decades hating my legs and as much as I do love myself and accept my body, it would be nice to make peace with my legs.

When you’re following someone on IG or social media, make sure they’re not going to make your insecurities worse. Though I love my body and shape, I am working on my actual physical fitness. I used to follow a group called “Fit over 40”. It didn’t affect my body image, per se, but what their level of fitness that their bodies showcased. I KNOW a skinny body does not equate to fitness/cardiovascular health, but everyone automatically assumes that skinny=more fit, and overweight=out of shape. I KNOW this isn’t the case, however, I’m only human and seeing their fit bodies always made me feel bad about my lack of fitness. Same with following some yogi’s. Those willowy gals who can bend and contort into inconceivable shapes and balances. Being skinny doesn’t give you magical tendons that allow you to bend into these shapes. If you’re inflexible as a bigger person, you’re going to be inflexible as a smaller person! That’s why I started removing the stereotypical yogis and started following yogis who don’t fall into that mould.

6)      Do something that scares or challenges you: Nothing gives a confidence boost like doing something you didn’t think you could do. I am terrified of heights so to do zip lining, bungee jumping, or tree-top adventures, so accomplishing those things is very empowering.

When I started modeling in Ottawa, it has all been outside – and even just before leaving the CV, it was outside. I only shot inside if my husband was the photographer. But shooting outside was WAAAAYYYYY outside my comfort zone. I half expected people to say derogatory things about me not being skinny enough or pretty enough to be a model. As I gained confidence (as those comments never came), I took those stares as “Yes! Let them look! Let them believe that everyone is allowed to feel beautiful and get photos taken! Let them believe that they, too, are worthy!”. Yes, every time I have a photo shoot I get butterflies, but I own my space. If you stare, I’ll wave!

7)      Don’t rely on others to love you: Your worthiness of self-love is not dependant on whether those around you love you. And what if something happens to them? Are you suddenly going to start hating yourself? No! You don’t NEED others to love you in order for you to. Sure, it’s nice knowing that someone else loves you – typically a spouse – but it’s absolutely not required!

8)      Start journaling: You might be surprised when you start writing down your feelings that there might be patterns with your mood relating to activities. I know with myself, if I start getting into a slump/depression, my physical appearance suffers. I go longer between showers or washing/styling my hair, or makeup. But when I do my hair and makeup and put effort into how I look, I always feel better. It’s at the point now that I don’t need to journal to know this, but early on, it would have come in handy!

9)      Be mindful: Be mindful in what you think, what you watch, what you say. Be mindful of the content you allow in your feed on social media. Be mindful of how much time you spend mindlessly surfing IG or Pinterest, or FB. Be mindful of how much time you spend on Netflix, or Prime, or Disney+. Be mindful in conversations you engage in. Be mindful of the words you speak. How you spend your moments will help with how you feel. Try and accomplish one meaningful thing a day – even if it’s simply getting out of bed! Times are hard right now, I get it. So some days are going to be much harder than others and it’s important to remain mindful of this! It’s okay to feel like shit and it takes everything in your power to even get out of bed. You won’t be consistent in energy from day to day. Something might trigger you one way or the other. It’s just important to be mindful during these times and take them as they come. Eventually you will know how to deal with those times and over time, they become less.

10)  Show gratitude: No matter what’s going on, there is always room for gratitude. Whether it’s that you have a roof over your head, food in your belly, a warm bed to sleep in, or even that you woke up! “If you’re thinking of a yellow car, you will see yellow cars”… the same about gratitude. The more you walk through your day looking for moments to be grateful for, the more moments you will find.

Self-love is hard. I know. It has taken me since summer of 2017of constant work to finally feel like I love myself unconditionally. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to work on my fitness and take care of my health. What it means is that I can love and appreciate my body as it is – that I am worthy of unconditional self-love no matter what.

Remember – just be kind to yourself and others… but especially yourself.

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