“It’s about loving what you’ve got while working towards what you want.” – Beth Reeb, creator of Savage Swim – a company that designs swimsuits and active wear to adorn bodies of all shapes and sizes around the globe, shared in our podcast when discussing her beliefs about body image.
But how do we love what we got? This is the hard part!
How do we love ourselves when we’re 15 lbs too heavy, blemished skin, struggling to get out of bed at a decent time in the morning?
How do we love ourselves with all our fears of failing or being inadequate while we work at a job we don’t even like so we can put food on our table for our families?
Through trial and error and working on myself and with my clients, here are four foolproof strategies to turn your self-loathing into self-love.
- See yourself through the eyes of your sister.
We often say things to ourselves we’d never dare say to a loved one, or even a stranger. So when you find yourself saying something cruel when you look in the mirror, imagine what you’d tell your sister or mom or brother or cousin if you heard her or him saying that about themself.
Here’s a beautiful story a client shared about using this strategy:
“I’m trying to focus on seeing myself through my family’s/friends’ eyes. I’m pretty sure my family doesn’t give a shit whether I’m at my goal weight or 20 pounds heavier. Last weekend my sister took some pictures of my niece and me. I looked at them and immediately thought, ‘I look big. My face looks fat.’ My sister looked at them and said something along the lines of ,‘Those are amazing. Look at how the wind is blowing through your hair. I wish I had pictures of me and Suzy like that.’”
When you find you’re beating yourself up, stop, and take a look at who you are through the eyes of someone who really knows and loves you.
- Use mantras.
Mantras are short sentences you can say to yourself to transform your thinking – whether you believe them or not!
A mantra can be super spiritual and rhythmic, or it can be very simple – either way, it’s going to be powerful and help you stop trash-talking yourself!
Here are a few of my favourites:
- “I’m living my dream life.”
- “I am love.”
- “I am enough.”
Here’s what one of my clients said when asked about the biggest thing that’s helped her love herself more:
“Daily mantras!! Best thing ever. So glad you introduced me to them!! Initially I felt stupid saying them and though, ‘As if this is even gonna work…’ but it has. The mind is a very powerful thing and if you start talking positive, in time you will believe it !! ‘I am enough.’ I live by that saying now.”
Check out my YouTube video on mantras for more ideas on how to use them:
- Measure your progress, and look for it in different areas of your life.
If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know I believe we can grow in four different areas: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. We’re pretty used to developing mentally (school) and physically (the gym), but we tend to neglect our emotions and our spirits.
So let’s start with what we’re comfortable with: physical – you can measure your physical progress by more that just aesthetic means. It’s not just about what you look like; it’s about what your body can do! Can you walk up the stairs without losing breath when before you couldn’t? Amazing – that’s progress! Can you deadlift 225 lbs when before you could only deadlift 180 lbs? FANTASTIC – celebrate that.
We aren’t just physical though.
Here are some examples of how to grow in each area, and you can certainly find ways to measure progress in each:
- Hit the gym.
- Hire a nutrition coach.
- Sign up for my nutrition newsletter.
- Join a fitness class.
- Do something active outside.
- Let yourself feel things. Think of the physiological response (how does it feel in your body? e.g. tightness in your chest) as well as the emotion.
- Confide in a friend.
- Demonstrate love for yourself and others with caring acts.
- Be vulnerable – show your fears and struggles.
- Read or listen to a book.
- Listen to a podcast. Try ours. Here’s the link to the one with Beth Reeb. Subscribe to Projekt Possible on iTunes.
- Ask a great question.
- Go to a conference.
- Take a course.
- Meditate (also spiritual).
- Do yoga.
- Learn breathing techniques.
- Attend a ceremony – church, a sweat, etc.
- Get outside.
- Learn and live the difference between these ways of being: flow, mindfulness, and meditation (I teach this in my program, Projekt Possible – sign up for my newsletter for updates, or find more info here).
By growing in each of these areas, there’s no way you’re not going to fall in love with yourself. And if you’re only working on one, there’s no way you’ll ever be able to truly adore yourself.
The happiest supermodels are the ones with a meditation practice.
The most powerful preachers are the ones who are hitting the gym.
The best athletes are the ones with the most incredible relationships.
The most brilliant braniacs often come up with their most insightful ideas outdoors.
- Do something about it.
This is the answer no one wants to hear, but I believe that’s just because our society is always looking for the quick fix – the easy way. If it were easy to love ourselves, everyone would be doing it.
I believe action is the elixir for despair.
Almost all of my clients report progress in the area of self-confidence and self-respect. What do they have in common? They’ve signed up for a nutrition, fitness, or goal-setting program that’s designed to help them become better. They’ve invested in themselves.
We can sit and stew in our self-hatred of our body, or we can get our ass to the gym. In doing so, you’ll start to love yourself, even if you have 15 lbs to go.
We can hate our lives at our job, or we can quit, and work a gig for less money that allows us to do what we love, or go back to school for the career of our dreams.
The happiest people are the ones who’ve taken responsibility for creating their dream lives.
In conclusion, I want to flip Beth’s statement, because I believe, and I’ve seen the shift in my clients, we can’t really love what we’ve got if we aren’t taking action to become better:
“It’s about working towards what you want, and learning to love what you got.”
By taking action and responsibility for your life, you’re going to feel a surge of power through your bones and soul like never before. By growing physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, not falling in love with who you’re becoming will be impossible. After using positive mantras about yourself, there’s no way you won’t start to believe them. And by looking at yourself through the eyes of loved ones, you’ll learn to treat yourself with more grace and accuracy.
The happiest you is the one who’s taken responsibility for creating your own dream life.
What can you start doing, today, to love yourself more?
“How Burpees Helped Me Conquer Depression” – By Ty Neyedly
“Be Yourself. Be Capable.” – By Lecina Hicke
“Evolution through Sport: Age is Only a Number” – By Gen Grant