Do you sit in the mirror with jaded lens and pin point all of your flaws? Do you find yourself daydreaming of how much happier you would if you could just change a certain part of your body? Do you hide behind layers of clothing? You are not alone and many are in the same struggle towards self acceptance.

I was that young teen afraid of the mirror. The mirror showed me a side of myself that I despised and wished I could magically change. I had wonderful friends that loved and accepted me but that just wasn’t enough for me to love myself.

This self-hatred poured into my adult years but I learned to mask it a little better. I wore a girdle on a daily basis, spent hours on my hair and make-up, and hid behind jokes, kindness, and being a pretty awesome human being BUT even with the approval of others I could not stand to look at myself in the mirror.

I know I am not alone and that many have experienced or are experiencing this very same thing. What I can say is that this self-inflicted emotional abuse does not need to consume your life and does have an end. It is not an easy journey but I can honestly say that it is possible to love yourself wholly and accept yourself for who you are and where you are.

Here are 5 tips to help you start loving yourself and improve your self-esteem:

#1 Stop the negative self-talk.

Have you ever taken a day to just listen to your self-talk? Your self-talk are the comments you say to yourself about yourself. For example, if you drop your lunch on the floor you might say, “of course you dropped your lunch. You’re so stupid”, or you pass a mirror and say, “Oh my, am I really that big?”

Would you say something like that to your best friend? Of course not! So why would you talk to yourself that way? Begin challenging your self-talk and don’t feed into those negative feelings about yourself.

#2 Practice positive self-affirmations.

Once you have taken notice of those negative comments begin to replace them with positive ones. It might feel phony at first but try really hard to say positive things about yourself at least 10 to 15 times a day.

An example of this could be telling yourself, “I am so smart”, or “my hair looks fabulous”. This is a lot harder than it seems because we are used to being mean to ourselves so it could take months or even years to master.

#3 Make yourself a priority in your own life.

Take time to nurture yourself. People who think poorly of themselves will often put others first and not take the time to care for themselves. When you make yourself a priority in your own life you actually take time to ask yourself, “what do I want to do today? What do I need to do to recharge my own batteries?”

This might actually be harder for those around you who are used to you always giving of yourself but they will be okay, I promise. This is your time to be a little more selfish and cater to your own needs.

#4 Take personal inventory of your wonderful qualities.

This is the time to brag to you! What are your unique qualities that make you who you are? What sets you apart? What have you accomplished? What barriers have you overcome? If you find this difficult to do, call up your best friends or close family members and ask them to help you create a list. Once you have a good solid list remind yourself of these things when you are down in the dumps.

#5 Practice a healthier lifestyle.

Top it all off by caring for your body. We can subconsciously punish ourselves with not giving our bodies the nutrients it needs. When we are speaking positive things over our lives, nurturing ourselves and reminding ourselves of our wonderful qualities we begin to let go of the external punishment of neglecting our physical being.

Begin by finding the time to go for a walk, plan ahead for meals so you are not stopping at the closest fast food place, and love on the external shell that house your soul. 

Breaking the negative patterns and loving on you is so much easier said than done! But anything worth having is worth putting the time into it.

There is no fast track to increasing your self-esteem and the results for everyone will vary based on effort and external circumstances but there is no better time to act than now.

If you find yourself struggling with loving yourself and need help getting started on a NEW YOU contact Life Counseling Solutions at 407-622-1770 for information on scheduling your first appointment.

Author: Joann Venant