You don't have to LOVE yourself to be Happy
Updated: Mar 31
I know this might be startling information.
But it's true.
For those of us that have spent years in the self hate club... picking apart every tiny detail about ourselves, hating the sight of our bodies and living with a constant combination of guilt and shame so thick you could cut it with a chainsaw.... asking someone like that to just suddenly... "love themself"... is like asking me to suddenly like bananas (the most repulsive fruit ever, right?)
It's so unnatural.
It's so hard...
It's asking to someone to undo years upon years of brain conditioning... just like that...
And when that switch can't just be flipped...
And you don't magically fall in love with yourself... even more guilt, shame, defeat, embarrassment is added onto the already heavy load.
The struggle is real, friends.
But you are not alone.
And it doesn't have to be so hard.
I know because I've been there.
For many years of my life, I was ashamed of myself.
I wasn't smart enough, I wasn't pretty enough, I wasn't thin enough, I was too wild, too loud, too dramatic, too emotional...
I let this rein over every area of my life.
It's so sad to think about what I missed out on because of the negative, mean, untrue things I used to think about myself.
Then, when I decided "ok, now I'm going to love myself".... that transition wasn't easy.
In fact, it was really fucking hard.
Adding in the fact that when I couldn't magically turn the shame into love, I felt like a failure on a whole new level.
Sure, it's easy to love yourself when you are on the cover of a magazine with 6 pack abs, super polished and graceful, with perfect hair, loads of money and tons of friends. Society has taught us that already.
But how about when your a thick, opinionated, messy, 5'6", divorced, 36 year old homebody with some cellulite?
How could I love that version of me all of a sudden?
After all these years?
After all the magazine covers?
Everything changed when I learned the concept of self appreciation.
This I could do!
I started small and worked up.
I told myself (usually outloud in a mirror per my therapist) that...
Ya, I'm thick but I am strong and I appreciate that I can lift really heavy things.
Ya, I'm divorced but appreciate that I wanted better for my life and was brave enough to leave and start over.
Ya, I have cellulite but I also have crazy sexy, strong legs that can run a freakin entire marathon!!
I might not have "loved" these parts of myself yet, but I sure could appreciate the hell out of them! And because I could start to appreciate a few wonderful things about myself, as the list grew, so did my love for myself.
I didn't even realize the transition was happening, until one day I looked in the mirror and thought, "wow, I have a great ass!" (True story... it all started with the butt). I realized, in that moment, that I was actually proud of the person looking back at me. I was proud of that ass, but even more so, I was proud of the person attached to that ass! I would want to be my friend. I liked my personality. I appreciated my grittiness. I was fun. I was a hard worker. I was smart.....
OMG! Was this what it felt like to love yourself??
Turns out yes!!
As the days, months, years went on, I continued this work until it cancelled out what harsh feelings used to be there and replaced them with soft, gentle, loving, supportive feelings towards myself. It just became how I thought, spoke and felt about myself.
My brain changed.
It became automatic.
Sure, the negative feelings creep back from time to time, even now. Yes, I have moments of second-guessing and self-doubt. But that was of thinking about myself wasn't my go to anymore. It wasn't my initial thought pattern. My brain realized what I was doing and I was able to stop in that moment and self correct.
When this happened...
Life because so much more joyful. So much asier. So much more fun! It's so much easier to live a happy life when you can appreciate yourself.
The good news for you is...
This is possible for you too!
Here is a great place to start.
You deserve to feel loved and appreciated, most of all, by yourself.
I hope you can use this method to teach your brain to appreciate yourself and one day love yourself as I did.
Here you go:
Try this with an open honest heart 🖤
The Heart & Grit Method to Self Appreciation:
The "Mirror Minute"
What to do:
Stand in front of a mirror and close your eyes. Take 5 deep breaths with your eyes closed and think about something you "appreciate" about yourself right in that very instant. It can be anything! Physical, mental, spiritual, personality, talents, skills.... literally anything!
*Side note: It might not exactly be a "minute".
My first session took 10 minutes and tears before I could come up with anything. Give yourself grace and time to really think about something important. You will be so thankful you did. It will also get easier every time.
Once you have your appreciation in mind, take an 5 additional breaths thinking about that one thing while you stare at yourself in the eyes in the mirror. It's super important to look yourself in the eyes and tell yourself how much you appreciate this one thing about yourself.
Do this every day for one week and see how you feel about yourself slowly start to change.
I promise, with a little heart and grit, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable just for one minute at a time, you too can completely change the way you feel about yourself. You too can be happier just by changing what you focus on.
YOU DESERVE HAPPINESS.
YOU DESERVE LOVE.
Create it for youself.
I would love to chat more if you want to discuss your experience and findings!
I hope this helps at least one person in their journey to find peace and happiness.
Love you all,