Love Yourself

There are so many people in our lives that we love. 
Our partners, children, siblings, and parents... the list goes on....
We take the time to show them we love them but don’t take the time to love ourselves.

Although I have a hair and beauty blog, I am a strong believer that beauty on the inside makes a person beautiful.

It took me many years to love myself. 
I always had something negative to say to myself about how I looked, my body image, my intelligence.
For as long as I can remember I didn't like myself.

I was teased in school from grade 3 until high school.
In hind sight, if I wasn't so shy and quiet, if I would have stuck up for myself, maybe they would have stopped teasing me. 

The ones who teased me were saying the same things that negative little voice in my head was saying so to me all of those thoughts must be true.

I had many self image issues and body image issues.
From 6 - 18 years I took dance, I was really good at it. When I would see dancers on T.V or at a performance, to me my body didn't look like theirs.

I was a lot bigger, thus starting my borderline anorexia.
I started either eating very small portions or not at all, I was constantly working out.

When I was younger, my goal was to join a dance troupe and travel around the world. In high school I had the opportunity when a dance troupe came to watch our class. 

They came to me and asked if I would audition for their dance troupe. 

But my negative self image stopped me. That negative voice was saying I was just going to make a fool out of myself. So I didn't go through with it...

Years later, someone told me the most important piece of information I have ever received - I have to love myself before anyone else can love me.

Finally when I turned 30 I decided to really try to start loving myself.
It was a hard journey.

I started by looking at myself in the mirror every morning and saying something positive. 

For example, I have long eyelashes; I would tell myself some women would love to have lashes like mine. 

Then, look at myself in the mirror and say “I love my eyelashes”.

Instead of thinking of the things in life I didn't have, I would start being thankful for the things I did have, a roof over my head, a job, a loving family.

Everyday I would force myself to do these rituals.

In order for me to love myself,  I had to let go of the negative things I was doing to myself.
Instead of working out multiple times a day, I made a schedule to do my exercises a few times a week and eat full meal portions.

I started to gain weight and a surprise to me was I still loved myself.

It didn't happen overnight, it took years for me to get this far.
It is an everyday process. I still have my bad days as we all do, but I am able to get out of the negativity much easier now.

It seemed just as I was completely happy with myself, I met my husband.
Life works in mysterious ways…

I share this because I don’t want anyone else to live in a tunnel of negativity.
If I can help one person believe in themselves, it is worth it.

Here are some great ways to start loving yourself:

                 Celebrate your past. This is one of the hardest ones. However, everything that happened in the past made you the person you are today, so embrace and celebrate that past because, without it, you wouldn't be you. 

                 Learn from mistakes. Mistakes happen to everyone. No matter what you look like, who you are, what you do for a living, you have made mistakes. We all have… It doesn't do any good to focus on them. Take what you can from them, learn from them, and then move on. 

                 Indulge in your desires. Not every desire should be indulged, but sometimes it is important to recognize the things that make you happy, that inspire you, that send little shivers down your spine. Doing this will help you recognize the uniqueness that is you and will help you to identify the things you can focus on, those things that truly bring you happiness. 

                 Change your mindset. It is often easier to get down on yourself than it is to lift yourself up, but if you want to love yourself, you have to change your mindset. You have to believe that you're worthy of love and you have to seek out positive things about yourself and your life. If you don't do it, no one else will. Once you change the way you think about yourself, the rest will fall into place. 

                 Find a passion. Most people are passionate about something -- whether it is a cause or a job or a loved one or a hobby. Whatever it is that gets you really excited, focus on it. Embrace it. Run with it. One of the best ways you can learn to love yourself is to zero in on the things that make you the happiest and spend as much time as you can on them. 

                 Embrace your future. Sometimes you find yourself in a tough spot, unhappy with your life and ultimately unhappy with yourself.  Sometimes the present can be pretty rotten. Cut yourself some slack and remember that you have an exciting future ahead of you. Focus on what's to come and remind yourself that you can do anything. 

                 Give yourself praises. It is difficult for some people to toot their own horns. It is okay to say how awesome you are every once and awhile. It's okay to admit, wow; you did an amazing job on something or accomplished something you never thought you could. Celebrate yourself and your achievements and all of that self-love is sure to find you. Love your awesomeness. 

                 Listen to your ideas. Do you ever find yourself ignoring your instincts or avoiding your gut reaction? You have to believe yourself. You have to trust yourself. It's not always easy to listen to yourself, but recognizing that your thoughts and ideas are always valid (no matter how ridiculous they might seem). You don't always have to act on your ideas, but always listen to them. 

                 Live in the moment. While it is not always easy to live in the moment, it is important that you do.  To live in the moment is to accept what is the best way for truly loving yourself. If you focus on the past, you do not love yourself now. Love yourself by being present. 

                 Appreciate life. There are always some things we want to change about ourselves, about your body, about your relationships, about your life. We all want to change things. Stop focusing on the things you want to change and, instead, focus on the things you want to stay the same.

Appreciating all that you have in your life is one of the very best ways to remember that you are very lucky to be YOU.

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