Wednesday, January 1, 2014

How To Fall In Love With Yourself: The Me Challenge

“Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” -Rumi

“You are fat”.
Three words that came out of nowhere. Three words that were said without an after-thought. Three words that had irreparable consequences on me.
From that day, I was haunted by those three words as they represented my biggest insecurity: my body.
Whenever I slipped on a pair of jeans I wondered if they made my bum look bigger. Whenever I slipped on a skirt I would always tug it down to cover my jiggly thighs.
“You are fat”.
Three words that made me love winter because summer meant shorts, dresses and bikinis.
Clothes that didn’t really work on my body.
Or at least that was what I thought until I learnt how to love the rolls of fat around my sides, how to love my legs, how to love my body and in essence how to love myself.
I know it sounds cheesy. Trust me, I have read all those blogs and magazines. I have heard all those inspirational speeches. I have scrolled through endless Tumblr and Instagram pages filled with motivational quotes. And I have thought to myself how useless they were because at the end of the day I was still “fat”.
But then I tried to follow some steps, to really learn to embrace myself, to let go of those petty criticisms and suddenly “you are fat” became meaningless to me. All the power those words held over me was suddenly lost and they returned to simply being three, small words.

So here is some advice that worked for me. That will work whether you are worried about your race, religion, sexual orientation, the acne on your face, your shyness (or in fact just about anything that can make you hate yourself).

1.    Don’t try to be Perfect
Perfection is an illusion and is unattainable. While you should always do your best, even if it is not “perfect” do not consider what you do a failure. As warm and fuzzy (and cliché) as it sounds perfection is just the way you are and the way you do things.
2.    Don’t compare yourself to others
Nothing good comes from comparing yourself to others. In fact studies show that through comparison, your self-esteem is lowered and therefore emotions like depression, envy and jealousy are more likely to develop. Instead of comparing yourself focus on your own strengths and realize that you are in fact awesome.
3.    Say “NO!”
If someone wants to do something you do not feel like doing: say no! You do not always need to agree with what other people want to do or ask you do to. Your friends will not hate you if you say “no” and if they do then that means they were not really your “true” friends. Do what you want to do- what you feel comfortable in doing. If you feel like you are doing something just to please someone, then you should not be doing it.
4.    Treat yourself like you treat others
The kindness, trust, love and appreciation you show toward your best friends and family should be the same kindness, trust, love and appreciation you show towards yourself. According to research presented in The New York Times, people who treat themselves like they treat others score higher on self-compassion tests in comparison to people who do not. This suggests that accepting our imperfections can be the first step to better health.
5.    Look at yourself in the mirror
This may sound silly to you but try to look at yourself in the mirror every day and admire yourself. Compliment yourself on how you look and give yourself time to take in all of you instead of always trying to hide who you are. By doing this you prevent the image created by others to manifest you. If you believe in yourself, the person in the mirror will believe in himself or herself.

Learning to love yourself is similar to learning to walk. We start by taking a couple of small steps and then we fall back down to the ground. But then we get back up because that moment when we were standing on our own two feet felt so incredible that you would be crazy not to want to experience it again. Once we get back up we learn to know ourselves and know our limits. When we finally learn to run, walking seems so easy. We realize that no greater power can be found than the power that we find in ourselves through loving, listening and respecting who we are.   

On the road of self-love we can encounter many bumps. In these moments
a friendly face or voice can always come in handy. Talk it out with someone you care about and who cares about you.
And remember organizations like Teen Link (866-833-6546) are always ready to lend a friendly ear.

So I challenge you to start showing some love to yourself and to realize that you are a very special human being. 

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