Why Learning To Love Yourself Is The Most Important Thing You Can Do
Sometimes life is tough. It's physically and emotionally draining on us all, which can play havoc on everything - including the way you feel about yourself. There's so much pressure nowadays to be the best person, to have the slimmest waist, to have the glossiest hair, and the most perfect pout, it's no wonder that we can feel a bit crappy at times.
It's important to not let this take over your life though, even when it might be all you can think about. You might not have the best skin. You might be carrying a few extra pounds at the moment. You might feel like sh*t about the way you spoke to your mum on the phone last week. But this doesn't make you a bad person. We've got some ways to learn to love yourself - emotionally and physically.
Love Yourself Because You're An Amazing Person.
You can start by accepting yourself. It's important to spend some time alone from time to time; whether it's that you just can't be arsed to get up off the sofa or perhaps you've had one too many tequila-fuelled nights lately and you should really give it a rest. Friends, family and partners are great and obviously it's hugely important to nurture your relationships but what about your relationship with yourself? A happy person looks more attractive and feels more attractive - so accept what you've got, who you are and get on the path to loving yourself.
Try and come to terms with your mistakes and remember that you're a human, so mistakes are normal and a tool to help you learn and grow as a person. We all do it, whether it's something as unimportant as scoffing down an entire tub of Ben & Jerry's last night, or perhaps you can't forget about that totally regrettable night with your work colleague. Thing is, there's absolutely nothing you can do about it now - that ice cream can't be uneaten and that person can't be unslept with. Accept that you made a bad call, but learn from it and move on. Regrets will only drag you down.
Let it go, let it go! As Elsa encourages, there are some things that you just need to let go. Forgive people who have hurt you; carrying around resentment will only make you feel worse in the long run - and chances are it won't affect the person you hate at all. Forgive yourself, for anything that maybe you're holding onto from ages ago that wasn't your best decision. Things that have happened in the past are just that - they're in the past. Move on, move forward and focus on being happy with the present and excited for the future.
Smile more. It's proven that if you smile more, you're more likely to be happy - so start beaming, girl! Not only will you automatically feel happier, but you're going to brighten up others' days too, which can only be a good thing. Plus, we genuinely look more attractive when we smile - so turn that frown (or resting bitch face that so many of us seem to have - us included!) upside down.
Love Your Looks Because There's Only One Of You And You're Truly Gorgeous.
So appreciate what you have. Look in the mirror and instead of focusing on the bits you don't like, take a harder look at the bits you do like. As humans we are drawn to imperfections and tend to obsess about things we dislike, whether it's that scar that you just can't cover up or the cellulite on your thighs. Obsessing over the bits you don't like means you think about them more, often building them up in your mind and exaggerating the truth. The chances are, others won't even notice these bits that you hate oh so much - and we bet they're not actually that bad.
And really, you're not as fat as you think you are. Seriously, you're not. Like we said above, we all tend to focus on our bad bits rather than the good - so stop obsessing about the number on the scale or that bit of tummy fat that just won't shift. Your wobbly bits don't define you and your weight has absolutely nothing to do with the fantastic person that you actually are.
Girls, don't compare yourself to others. Sure, that celeb that you admire and follow religiously on Instagram looks f*cking fantastic in literally every single picture - and what about that old friend from school who's living a seemingly incredible life, with epic holidays, an awesome social life and the picture-perfect family? Thing is, we all filter our lives on social media. There's barely a snap out there nowadays that doesn't have some sort of editing applied, be it full-on photoshopping or simply a sneaky enhancing of the contrast to make those cheekbones a little more flattering. You're looking at the photos that this person has chosen to share. Think of how many not-so-flattering and not-so-amazing pics that would have been taken first, and remember that those celebs have a team of make-up artists on hand to touch them up almost constantly. It's not a true reflection of real life, so stop making yourself feel bad by trying to live up to these impossibly high standards.
Sometimes, telling yourself isn't quite enough to help. So there's some proven ways to lift your spirits and make you feel better about the way you look and the way you feel...
So girl, go and work out. Exercise releases endorphins, which will automatically make you feel happier. You'll know that you're doing something that is healthy and good for your body, so you'll feel fantastic after (okay, maybe not immediately after, when you can barely see from the sweat dripping into your eyes...) and who knows, that one work-out could start a new exercise habit, which is only ever going to be a good thing for you - mentally and physically.
If the gym's not your thing, have a night in with your besties. Cook. Laugh. Watch Magic Mike (because there's absolutely nothing better than watching Channing Tatum writhe around half naked!) Being with your mates will cheer you up straight away - that's what they do - and spending time with them will make you appreciate what you have, and who you are. They wouldn't be friends with you if you weren't awesome!
And finally, just get crunk. While we (obviously) don't recommend it as a regular thing, now and then you need to just let loose, dance like there's no tomorrow and drink. Drink a lot. Okay, it's not at all healthy and your hangover may be an absolute bitch the next day, but enjoying a crazy night out is sometimes good for the soul - while you're living it up you're not likely going to be thinking about anything that's been bringing you down lately, like your waistline or those work worries. It's sometimes good to forget, let it go (even if just for one night) and just enjoy yourself. Live life a little, girl!
We all have crappy days. We all hate our bodies at one point. Rest assured that you're not alone; none of us (well, very few) are completely happy with ourselves all of the time. It's normal, but if it's something that you struggle with constantly or if it's really affecting your life, please talk to someone. A trusted family member, friend or even professional support (like the Samaritans, who can be called on 116 123 if you just need someone to talk to) are options available to us all - and it's nothing to be ashamed of.
And ladies, remember this...
"You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." (Buddha)
Written by Sam Neades / Personal Trainer / Cheltenham Women's Fitness
Featured Image Credit: Pexels