All you need is (self) love.

If you can’t love yourself then how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else??!!

– Rupaul

The term self love is banded around quite a lot these days. I admit I am one of those people who bangs on about self love. According to Whitney Houston learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all and I am in total agreement with Rupaul when she asks, “if you can’t love yourself then how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else”?! It’s true, if you think you are un-loveable, unworthy and not good enough then that’s what you are going to project to those around you. Which is going to make it hard for people to see the amazing person you are. One friend told me that she felt uncomfortable with the term ‘self-love’ and after thinking about it I had to agree that the term does feel a little icky!  This got me thinking that maybe this is because it conjours up some notion the we should be sat smothering ourselves in compliments or taking ourselves off to a spa & getting our nails done.

These are great ways to treat ourselves and I think that if these actions work for us then that’s great. But I think the main ingredient of self love is the way we speak to ourselves. How many times a day do we tell ourselves I am not good, enough, pretty enough etc. Self love is about acknowledging that thought a flipping it on its head, challenging that thought and not letting it eat away at you.

Self – love can be hard, many of us find it difficult to be positive about ourselves and sometimes we even feel that we are being a little arrogant if we big ourselves up. We find it easier to dumb ourselves down , I know I do. Just think about it for a moment, how many times has someone praised you and instead of just graciously accepting the compliment you feel the need to point out what you see as the flaw or imperfection.  I think we are all often guilty of this. You need to start owning your inner and outer uniqueness and praise yourself without feeling guilty or big-headed. Many of us are also guilty of falling foul of other people’s opinions of us or even what we think are other people’s opinions of us. I know am guilty of assuming people think I am stupid, incapable, unattractive, I could go on. We beat ourselves up over scenarios that may not even exist outside of our own heads. How crazy is that?! We need to stop beating ourselves up over stuff that may not even be real. We have to stop seeking approval and validation from others, embrace our uniqueness and actually believe that we are amazing just the way we are.

The real difficulty is to overcome
how you think about yourself
– Maya Angelou

Accepting our individuality is necessary for personal happiness. If we try to hide or change who we are to try to ‘fit in’ or be ‘normal’ (whatever normal is) our sense of self-worth takes a beating causing our self-esteem to take a tumble and our insecurities to sky-rocket. Social media is one area that can fuel our insecurities and play on our self-doubt.

We now live in a world where technology enables us to peer more closely in to the world of others as we have come to share more and more of our lives on social media.  Not only do many of our friends, family and work colleagues (to name but a few) give us unprecedented access to their lives we are now able to gain backstage passes to the lives of the rich and famous. To peak inside a world that for years we could only imagine what went on behind the closed doors.

But as much as it can be fascinating to peer in to the lives of others it can also sometimes leave us feeling somewhat inadequate. These ‘highlights’ of other people’s lives can sometimes lead us to compare ourselves against the images we see. We may begin to judge our looks, our abilities, our homes and so on against what is often an edited version of reality.  From time to time I am hit with a bout of insta- envy. I see photos of women creating their own businesses, escaping the 9-5 and building their empire from their fabulous home offices. But then I realise that I need to take a step back and consider the evidence.  First of all that fabulous home office may not even really be theirs, it could be a stock photo out in the public domain available to any one of us. They may still be stuck in the 9-5 whilst working on their side hustle.  Also, they may have spent the last who knows how many years working their socks off to get to where they are today. I am pretty sure it wasn’t just handed to them on a silver platter.

 “The reason we struggle
with insecurity is because
we compare our
behind-the-scenes
to everyone else’s
highlight reel”.

– Steve Furtick

Don’t get me wrong I am not completely against social media, I have met some great people through twitter and instagram it can open new doors and opportunities that may previously not been available without it. What I am saying is don’t let it consume you as everything is not always as it seems.

Social media can also lead us to chase validation through the number of followers we have of the amount of likes/views we receive. A lack of likes/followers can mean that some people are left feeling like they aren’t good enough or don’t measure up,

How often do you let your inner critic run wild? I must admit there are times I have let my inner critic cause a riot of negativity inside my head. I’m sure there are times you’ve  done the same, but when that little seed of doubt begins to take hold and bury it roots deep in to your thoughts that’s when we need to take action. You need to start focusing on your positives and become your biggest devotee. Stop comparing yourself and your life against other people’s. You are an individual, the things you love, your habits, traits and characteristics are what make you the wonderful person you are. So you need to start appreciating the wonderfully, amazing person that you are. Embrace your individuality, love who you are without worrying about what others think (or what you believe they think) of you.

No one else can do this for you. You could have the most amazing job, wonderful partner, fantastic family but all of these things will not make you happy or feel loved unless you learn to love yourself.

Love Em. XX