Self-love. Those two words are pretty important and heavy right now in the world of health, wellness and body image. What does it really mean and why is it so important? Self-love is the ability to love you, to show yourself kindness, to have regard, patience and compassion for your own feelings and well-being.
According to Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap, 80% of everyone’s thoughts contain some type of negative tone and content.
There are many consequences to living without true love and patience for your self: you may live a life always putting others first; you negate your own feelings and beliefs as silly, unimportant or unworthy; you speak to yourself with unkind words and, sometimes, hatred. Consider this: How many negative thoughts run through your head on a daily, an hourly even, basis? According to Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap, 80% of everyone’s thoughts contain some type of negative tone and content.
Lack of self-love affects our health and how we see our bodies and ourselves. We look in the mirror and we don’t like what we see; we cringe, we hate to touch our bellies or our waists; we label ourselves as ‘fat’, ‘big’, having ‘thunder thighs’. In turn, these thoughts lower our self-esteem and self-image. We try to cover ourselves up, start another diet, binge, yo-yo, cry, scream at ourselves for not being good enough to measure up to society or follow-through with our diet to look like this image of what we should look like.
*Note: I’m not saying it’s not healthy to have goals to lose weight, get fitter and be able to fit into another dress size. But, we need to have patience with ourselves during the process, we need to take our time, recognize there will be successes and failures along the way and we need to show ourselves some kindness. Looking in the mirror and calling yourself obscene names while trying to lose weight its counterproductive and may actually halter weight-loss according to Kimberly Snyder, CN, and author of The Beauty Detox Power.
Above all – remember how you want to feel: good about yourself and loved. You can start doing that now today by reciting positive and uplifting affirmations. Yes, I know many people are skeptical about affirmations – it can feel like you’re looking in the mirror and lying to yourself. But you know that saying ‘fake it till you make it’? It’s true. The only way to break old, bad patterns is to do the opposite and, yes, at the beginning you may not believe yourself when saying these affirmations – but say it anyways, every day, every hour, 10 times an hour. Repeat it in your head when you need to hear it most. Cut off a negative thought and replace it with your affirmation.
- I Love myself and I believe I am capable of achieving anything I put my mind to.
- I accept where I am right now; I love my body and myself where I am right now. (*Note: acceptance does not mean you can never improve or achieve higher goals; rather, it allows you to stop resisting and feeling guilt over where you are at. Guilt can breed a vicious cycle of failure and more guilt).
- I will no longer criticize or judge myself.
- I can achieve what I believe.
- Positivity trumps negativity. These thoughts are just thoughts and not my true and highest Self.
Russ Harris. The Happiness Trap: How to stop struggling and start living: A guide to act; 2008.
Kimberly Snyder, CN. The Beauty Detox Power; 2015.