In life, we are all dealt an unfair hand where self-love is concerned. We are not born into having low self-esteem and low self-confidence, but it is bred into us by the culture that we find ourselves in. Speaking from personal experience, all is not lost! It is possible to reach out and clasp onto a positive mindset, it is something that can be re-learned and something that you can grow with. Self-love is a journey and goes so much further than the feelings that you have about the way that you look – many of us teeter on the edge of a collapse of self-esteem about so much of what makes us, us. We question and demean our own essence, our appearance and our ability to succeed but why?
Self-love cannot be learned overnight or, indeed in a week. However, I have found that there are a few things that I have been able to use and have contributed directly to my own flourishing and blossoming levels of self-confidence. So little by little, bit by bit, have a go at my 7 days of self-love. You might not manage a whole week, you might not even manage a day – but that’s okay, these things take time and they can be difficult. But drop in, give yourself the chance to find that inner self-love that I know is ready and waiting to glow.
DAY 1: PUSH THE BOUNDARIES OF FASHION
You may not think that the clothes you wear have a relationship with self-love, but they do. Individuality, personality and freedom can be expressed through our outfits, but so often we are faced with ‘fashion rules’ that never seem to extend their one-size-fits-all arm to the masses. By choosing to wear what you want when you want, you are reclaiming control over your wardrobe and surprisingly, cultivating a relationship with your body and your individuality. Break those rules, wear whatever you want, choose Day 1 to be bold and treat the world like your catwalk.
DAY 2: ACCEPT A COMPLIMENT
What is it about receiving a compliment that makes so many of us squirm in our seats? When faced with a compliment, we tend to blush, respond with a negative comment about ourselves or gloss over it as if nothing has happened. Without realising it, we are putting our own attributes in a precarious place, by denying yourself a nugget of positivity from someone else, you are subconsciously stopping your own self-love in its tracks. People don’t hand out compliments for no reason, and the likelihood is – they mean it! So your challenge for Day 2 is to accept a compliment – whatever form that compliment may come in, smile and say thank you!
DAY 3: GUILT-FREE FOOD
Day 3 is guilt-free! As a culture that is so obsessed with food, we are incredibly judgemental when it comes to actually consuming these foodstuffs. Often, the relationship that a person has with food can be turbulent, painful and life-altering. But today, you are allowed to eat the damned food! If you crave it, eat it, if you fancy it, devour it – do not let toxic diet culture stand in the way of your relationship with food. You are allowed to enjoy food without beating yourself up afterwards. Having said that, Day 3 may be more difficult for some than for others, and that’s okay – please don’t worry, you’ve got this.
DAY 4: NURTURE A SUPPORT NETWORK
Self-love is a subjective journey – but that doesn’t mean that you have to go it alone. It is so important to seek out people who can inspire and support you: but most of all, to understand what you’re embarking on with this journey. A group of friends who are of a similar mindset will provide you with a positive haven, especially if they don’t stand for any body shaming or negative self-talk in their spaces. Day 4 is here so that you can begin sharing your journey and reaching out to others – you will not regret it.
DAY 5: LOOK IN THE MIRROR
Looking at our own reflections is something that can cause anxiety and low self-confidence amongst many – but try changing the way that you see yourself. Often, when looking in the mirror, we are checking that the bits and bobs that we don’t like so much, are appearing in a covered-up, ‘lesser’ kind of way, but in doing this we never see our whole selves. So on Day 5, take 5 minutes to really look at yourself. Strip off (if you feel comfortable) and stand in front of the mirror: soak up your wonderful body, the scars that map your life’s journey, the colour of your skin, your shape. It is so important to take the things that you would normally hide away from the world, and try to forge a positive relationship with them on your own terms. You can do this.
DAY 6: DO SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU
We all have things that we fear – whether that be a social situation, having an honest conversation, expressing your feelings or even leaving the house in the morning. But Day 6 calls for you to embrace that fear, and do it anyway. In any given situation, there are a set of outcomes that are possible, and for many of us those are the things that stop us from going ahead and conquering our fears. When you successfully banish your concerns and find the courage to combat whatever it is that you are scared of doing, you will feel immensely proud of yourself. And pride in oneself is one of the greatest self-love factors.
DAY 7: SELF-CARE FOR SELF-LOVE
Day 7 is here, and today it’s all about that self-lovin’ goodness. After a week of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and jumping on board the bandwagon of self-love, you more than deserve a little bit of self-care. We lead such demanding and hectic lives, that we can sometimes forget to look after ourselves and take the time to relax. Mental health is important, so please look after yours and do what makes you happy. Have a bubble bath, go for a run, laze in front of the television, paint, sleep, do some yoga, spend time with friends or family, write, laugh, eat, drink, buy yourself some presents – whatever it is that makes you happy, please indulge in it. You deserve it.