by: Tia Sorensen
Valentine’s Day has come and gone and with it we heard two distinct types of experiences from our friends, co-workers, and social media acquaintances. The first was a declaration of self-pity and the inability to stomach such a commercialized holiday. The second experience was shown through multiple Facebook pictures of giant flower arrangements and explanations of why the poster’s significant other is the best who has ever lived. Sure, some fell in between these two categories of lonely hearts and hopeless lovebirds, but a celebration of the most important relationship was likely non-existent in your Twitter feed.
There is one relationship that makes all of the rest possible. It helps you love more freely and intimately. It sets you up to receive unconditional love from others. It makes you more positive, accepting, productive, successful, and kind. It’s the relationship we struggle with the most and yet, it can make all things possible if we just put it in the number-one priority slot. It’s your relationship with you.
Why can’t we just love ourselves? If we are happy with ourselves, we can be happy for others. We could create a cycle of positive self-worth and yet, it is so difficult. You know that saying that someone who finds fault in others is only seeing that fault within themselves? Hate to break it to you, but it’s true. Self-esteem leaves no room for jealousy.
There is a problem though. How do we love ourselves? With pictures and examples of so-called perfection flooding media and entertainment, how can we possibly feel complete? The key is to never stop growing. That seems pretty vague, but do you know in how many ways we can grow? You can improve your intelligence, skills, hobbies, family relationships, friendships, physical abilities, healthy habits, your organization, confidence, spirituality, business practices, communication skills… The list is endless! It’s somewhat overwhelming.
Did you really think I would leave you without a place to start? I have laid out three steps for you to jumpstart your journey toward a positive self-image. Don’t try and swallow them all at once. Take the first one and focus on it for a few weeks. Create a new habit so when you move on to step two, you don’t feel overwhelmed. Think of it as a house. Build your foundation and make it solid, then put up some walls. Once the walls are stable, add some paint. Ok, I’ve never built a house. I really don’t know what order things are supposed to go in, but you get my drift. Read on and love yourself!
Step 1: Volunteer Your Time
Focusing less on ourselves and more on the needs of others is the best way to create some positivity. It may sound a little bit selfish to help others so you can feel good about yourself, but this is just not true. The more you love yourself, the more you help others and that means everyone wins
Now, this doesn’t have to be a lot of time. Start with just a few hours a month. There are lots of shelters, soup kitchens, and charities that would love to have you for a Saturday afternoon once a month. Just give what you can. Get online and search your area for volunteer opportunities
Step 2: Fuel Your Body, Not Your Emotions
How often do you eat because you are bored or angry or sad? If you were anything like I was a few years ago, it’s a lot. After waking up and realizing what I had been doing to my body for years and years, I found good nutrition did far more than just help me lose weight.
When you are eating well you can actually think more clearly. Your emotions are more stable which means you are in a better place to think highly of yourself. There are countless blogs and websites dedicated to eating healthy on a budget, with a family, when cooking for one. You name it, there is someone out there who has figured out how to do it best. Pair this research with some exercise and let your endorphins take over.
Step 3: Become An Expert
What have you been dying to try? Rock climbing? Pottery? Public speaking? It doesn’t have to be an area you know anything about right now. We have interests and passions for a reason. So stop envying those who can do what you can’t and figure out how to be as good or better than them! Spend some time researching where you can take a class or what you might need to invest in. The best part is you’ll know exactly how to answer when someone says, “Tell me something about yourself!”
“Save Your Marriage in 30”