How to Practice Self Love

I’ve been on my self love journey for the last few years. Some days are fulfilling, and others I revert back to negative patterns. That is normal! No matter how far we are in our journeys, we have to remember that they are just that– journeys. There is no before/after, there is no final destination.  We have to put in the work every day to love ourselves and know our worth. Here are 6 ways I practice self love every day.

Focus less on what people say/think about me, and more about what I say/think about myself. 

I’ve spent so much of my life wondering what friends, strangers and family members think about me. Are they talking about me behind my back? Will they like me better if I do this instead of that? What do they mean when they tell me this outfit isn’t flattering on me? I’ve been crushed time and time again by hurtful comments made about me and my body. I was allowing other people’s thoughts and opinions to take over my own.

As I’ve learned to stop caring about what other people say about me, I’ve been able to get into a better headspace. I don’t make choices based on what I think someone else would want me to do. I work on positive self talk every day.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying negativity doesn’t creep back in… but it’s far less frequently now that I stopped putting pressure on myself to be what others want me to be. 

I walk around my house naked so I can get used to seeing my body.

Okay so this might not be the easiest thing to do if you live with roommates, but at least try walking around your bedroom naked or get ready for your day naked! I’ve grown to appreciate my body so much more after spending time naked. When I first started this self love exercise, I would shy away from any mirrors. I would find myself changing how I did mundane things around my house simply because I couldn’t hide my body while doing them. Don’t get me started on how often I caught myself sucking in my stomach! No one was around except me? But I was so conditioned to be worried about my body, that I subconsciously tried to shrink and hide it. 

Now I love seeing my body naked. I’m really getting to know it on an intimate level. The stretch marks on my chest, the dimples on my mid thigh. The way my body curves. This has created a deep love for my body and everything it does to protect me and get me through every day

I spend time alone with myself, doing things that I love to do.

You know the cliche saying that we should all date ourselves? Well, I agree. In order to love ourselves fully, we’ve got to get to know ourselves on a deeper level. Grab dinner at your favorite restaurant by yourself, take a spin class or pick up some crafting supplies and have a DIY day. You will learn to fill your cup up on your own and that can be the greatest form of self love.

Surround myself with people, both in person and online, that make me feel good.

On the flip side of #3, you also should surround yourself with people who make you feel good. Of course that means people in your friend group, relationships, etc, that you’re around on a regular basis, but it also means your online circle. Are you following people that make you feel less than or jealous? People who are always sharing a negative mindset? Unfollow. Mute. Get that negativity off your feed! You want to be surrounded by people who lift you up, not tear you down.

I make sure to compliment myself every day.

I stand in front of the mirror (eye contact is key!) and give myself 3 compliments every day. I try to make one compliment about appearance because I’m still battling a lot of body image issues. The next one is usually about my “insides”. The last complement is more of an affirmation style compliment that I can take with me throughout my day. I’ve also started to complement myself weekly in my journal, along with things I’m grateful for and what my intentions are for the week.

If compliment yourself seems daunting, here’s an example of what it looks like for me:

  • Your legs are regaining muscle- look at those strong legs!
  • You are resilient.
  • I am worthy and capable of success. 

Changing my “why” when it comes to working out.

I used to work out as a punishment, a way to shrink and change my body because it wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough. If I ate a cookie that was 400 calories, I would have to workout to burn an extra 400 calories today. A pair of jeans in my “normal” size didn’t fit and I would have to size up, that means 2 a days. Seeing a photo where I had arm flab hanging out, that was 30 push ups before I could open the fridge.

Now I workout to feel good. I workout to celebrate my body, to thank my body. The styles of workouts I take part in bring me joy- which doesn’t mean the workouts aren’t hard! I love getting stronger, so I weight train and the heavier I left, the more badass I feel. I want to be able to hold up my nephews and put my own carry-on bag in the overhead compartment for fights. I also workout for my mental health- releasing endorphins and disconnecting from the outside world. Once you change your why, a whole new world opens up with how you associate your body and working out. 

Casey is a body image and self love advocate and 20 something Dallasite. She is the woman behind Streets, Beats and Eats - an online community where women come together to navigate adulthood together. It’s a safe space online to ask questions, to share stories, to be inspired and to never feel alone in what you’re going through in life.

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