I’ve struggled with my self-confidence for most of my life, never really understanding how people could love themselves since I never loved myself. I was insecure about both my physical characteristics and about my personality. My insecurities peaked my first semester of college and I found that I was sick of feeling ashamed and embarrassed about myself. I decided that after all, college was the best place to reinvent yourself. I wasn’t planning on exactly reinventing my appearance or personality, but instead reinventing myself to be a confident and happy person. It’s been eight months since I decided to learn to love myself and damn…I really do love myself now. I know everyone is self-conscious about something and I think these ideas are important for everyone to practice, because we could all use a little more self-love to love myself first.
I Love Myself Album
One of the things I wanted to accomplish during this experience was loving my body image. I hated seeing photos of myself and I was never one to post photos of myself on social media or even take photos of myself to keep. When I got to college I had the idea of reinventing myself, I thought it would take place in my life as finding new interests or a new style, but really what happened was I began to like the way I looked. I decided to start taking photos of myself (even though I didn’t do anything else with them) and I added them to a new album on my phone, titled I love myself. I’ll openly say this was one of the best ideas I’ve ever come up with. Whenever I feel down or recognize that I’m internally criticizing myself, I look back at these photos as a reminder of times I have felt good about myself and it helps a ton. This eventually turned into taking selfies and posting selfies on Instagram, something I never thought I’d have the confidence to do. My album consists of everything from selfies with makeup, natural selfies, mirror selfies, photos others take of me, risqué photos, photos I take when I’m all dressed up and even photos I take when I’m wearing pajamas and have just woken up. The variety of photos rewires my brain to believe that I am beautiful in all forms and that I can look good and in many ways love myself first.
Every therapist I’ve ever had, every article I’ve ever read, every self-help book I’ve ever read has mentioned positive affirmations as a way to help mental illness and insecurities. I always hated this. It never helped me to tell myself affirmations I didn’t believe, and I think it began to cause me more harm than good. However, once I combined this technique with others such as creating my photo album and journaling, I found this technique to be very useful to love myself first.
Be Kind to Myself Like I Am to Others
One of the characteristics I’ve always loved about myself is my predisposition to be kind to others. I try to be as kind as I can to those around me and hope that I can have a positive affect on others. I realized that I was complimenting other people and treating them with kindness, but I had the tendency to bully myself. I had the realization one day that if I’m effortlessly kind to others, why shouldn’t I be kind to myself as well? I began to treat myself like a real person, taking into account that it pains me to hurt people, so I should stop hurting myself as well.
Dispelling False Truths
This technique was one that came from my therapist. It applies to several things in my life, including anxiety, body confidence, self-confidence, etc. Every time I voiced a fear or insecurity of mine, my therapist would reply with something along the lines of “What proof do you have that that will happen” or “What proof do you have that anyone thinks that”? Most of the time the answer was I had no proof, my fears and insecurities had no proof behind them and that was that. Whenever I have a thought similar to “No one likes you,” or “You’re ugly”, I just remember that there’s no proof behind this, they’re purely thoughts created in my mind and I need to love myself first.
Everyone struggles with loving themselves at one point or another. You’re not alone and you can learn to love yourself, just like I did. It’s a process you have to stay dedicated to, but I can promise that it’s worth it. Sure, I still struggle some days with loving myself, but I am way better off now than I was just a few months ago. I strongly recommend that you try this yourself because everyone deserves to be loved, especially by themselves.