Love, Life Stories

ASK SAMAA: How do I learn to love myself?

Hi Samaa,

I need your advice. I have slowly started to appreciate myself in terms of who I am, my looks, faith, abilities, opportunities, family and friends. However, there are those days when  I criticize myself so harshly that I notice. What can I do to act and be more positive? Thank you!

Daisy

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Dear Daisy,

Thank you so much for this question!

I am so glad to hear that you have made strides in your confidence! That is an incredibly powerful step in nurturing your wellbeing, and I hope you keep working at it and building on it.

At the same time, we all have days when we feel we are not at our best. It’s easy to fall back into negative patterns, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot work your way out of a slump.

I hope the following five suggestions can help you feel more positive:

1) Treat yourself as you would treat a friend.

Would you ever say the hurtful things that you say to yourself to a friend? Most likely not. Be your own best friend. Be the kind and supportive friend you need. Make sure that all of the things you say to yourself are filled with compassion and understanding. Be patient with yourself.

One of my favorite poems by nayyirah waheed is

“i love myself.’

the 

quietest.

simplest. 

most

powerful.

revolution. 

ever.”

2) Repeat a mantra or an affirmation.

Check out this great deck of Daily Affirmations from Planned Parenthood. You can download the cards here.

My favorites are:

“You are an expert on yourself. No one knows better than you who you are or what you need,” “Sometimes bravery is ‘I will try again tomorrow,'””When I show myself compassion, I resist all the ways in which I have been taught to judge and police myself,” “You are not ‘too much’ – you are exactly enough,” “Feelings are information – my body or my heart is telling me something – and I get to decide how to use that information,” and “I can be proud of my healing process even if it starts and stops.”

3) Don’t internalize your negative thoughts to traits about yourself.

Try not to critique your personal attributes, characteristics, or features. 

Instead, make a list of things that are bothering you. For example, are you feeling stressed about an assignment/work, family, or friends? Identify the causes/sources of your frustration, and work through how you can solve those individual issues. That is much more productive than putting yourself down and hurting your self esteem in the process.

4) Make a list of three positive things that have happened to you, or that you have achieved, today.

It may seem small, but listing down all the good things that are happening in your life can make you appreciate yourself and your environment more. Is three easy enough to do? How about listing five, or ten positive things? 

I like using Coach.Me to track my daily tasks, and it also gives me reminders to complete my tasks, including Writing Three Positive Things About Today.

[bctt tweet=”What are three positive things you did today?”]

5) Fake it till you make it!

Studies have shown that the simple act of smiling can elevate your mood. Check out this excellent Ted talk on the hidden power of smiling. 

Good luck! Remember, it’s okay to have a bad day, and it’s okay to feel down, but don’t internalize those feelings towards yourself. You are perfect as you are, and exactly who you are supposed to be.

Take care of yourself.

Lots of love and empathy,

Samaa