If you follow me on social media, then it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I love myself. I only talk about it every other day! So now it’s time for me to give you all my tips and tricks to achieving self love.
While there’s no ‘once size fits all’ approach, these are things which have helped me over the years and have got me to the place I am today.
It’s also important to mention that you are more than just your body. I’ve only focused on issues relating to self-image and our physical self in this post as that’s what we all seem to struggle with the most. But that’s by no means to say that our happiness should rest entirely on how we feel about our physical appearance.
This is arguably the most difficult step. When you’re already insecure about your appearance, looking at yourself in the mirror can be a daunting thought. But when you’re ready, just go for it! I prefer to do this naked as you really get to see your body for what it is.
A key thing to avoid is picking yourself apart. Don’t point out your hip dips or a few stretch marks with the intent of ‘fixing’ them. This exercise is intended to be a point of personal growth. Slowly try to shift your mindset away from the negative and more towards the positive.
Embrace the fact that your body isn’t going to match up to what you see in the glossy magazines. You are you, with or without lumps and bumps, stretch marks, and cellulite.
Change the vocabulary you use when it comes to your body. Use words that uplift you as a person. Think strong, empowering, blessed, bold, glowing…
Find the good in yourself and focus on it in a positive way. It can be about your body as a whole, or simply one aspect of it. You don’t even have to use words that describe you physically, it can also be mental. Associating words such as ‘strong’ with our bodies allows us to begin to appreciate all our body does for us every single day. It carries us through life and allows us to do amazing things. We should be grateful for that.
Uplifting and positive speech has been proven to have an influence on our mind and body. It helps reduce stress and has even been thought to improve acute illnesses in several studies. This exercise helped me massively. If you hear things about yourself often enough, you’ll believe it. If we can so readily believe something negative about ourselves why can’t we also believe in the positive?
It sounds daft, but it works. If you’re feeling up to it, just hold your head up high and unapologetically love yourself, even if you don’t fully believe it yet. Confidence radiates through us like a light, and it’s infectious. I always get comments about how confident and empowered I seem, though sometimes on the inside I truly don’t believe any of it.
As with my last point, if you reassure yourself of something often enough, you will eventually believe it. It takes time, effort, and many other things, but it’s possible.
Some days will be easier than others. There are days where I wake up and feel ridiculously empowered and love every inch of my body. But there’s also days where I want to hide myself behind a pair of baggy trackies and my uni hoodie. Both of which are absolutely fine.
What I don’t allow my mind to do is wander into the “if only I looked like xyz I wouldn’t feel like this” zone. Because it’s total crap! Every single person on this planet has a body hang-up. Even the ‘Instagram baddies’ we’re all obsessed with. We’re only human, after all.
The best thing to do on your down days is practice self care. Whatever that means for you. For me, it’s a warm bubble bath and a book. Sometimes it’s a face mask and wine. Or it can even be standing naked in front of my mirrored wardrobe doors and telling myself to get a grip.
What looks like self care for me, could look like hell on earth for you. So seek things that bring you comfort and look after yourself.
Something that changed the game for me was following people online who looked like me. By no means do I avoid following people for having a different body type to myself, though.
I simply follow people whose content I enjoy. If someone’s social media makes me feel shit about myself, I swiftly unfollow and move on with my life. It’s that simple.
This also allows you to normalise bodies that look like yours. Create an online space that feels welcoming and comforting to you.
While I hate using the word ‘imperfections’ and find it redundant, it gets the point across. Instead of ignoring the things you hate about yourself, acknowledge them.
I have back fat that hangs awkwardly below my bra line, and I’m aware of it. I also have a stomach overhang. I don’t like it, and I don’t love that it’s on my body but it’s there. More importantly, it doesn’t take away from the fact I love my body. Why? Because I don’t let it.
Sometimes loving yourself isn’t loving all the ‘imperfect’ parts of you, it’s loving yourself in spite of them.
I left this one ’till last because it’s not going to be for everybody, but I (obviously) find this step really helpful. If you’ve seen the ‘film your imperfections in a beautiful way’ trend on TikTok, then you’ll know where I’m going with this one. If you haven’t, I’ve pretty much just summed it up for you.
I often take photos of things I’m insecure about, but try to do it in a beautiful way. I try to capture the softness of my body, rather than a harsh, glaring look at my stretch marks and fat rolls. The photos I took for this post are a testament to that.
I hope that the points I’ve touched upon in this post have helped you in some way. We all have our own struggles and I’m really glad that I’m able to provide some sort of proactive advice, because I’ve been there myself.
I'm Elen Mai, the brains behind Welsh Wanderer and 20-something human biology student from (you guessed it) Wales! Welsh Wanderer is designed with the eco-conscious adventurer in mind. So stick around for tips & tricks on living sustainably.