Growing up, I always found something to not like about myself. I still do. For instance, I have always had what my mother lovingly refers to as a ‘regal’ profile. Regal, in my mind, was always a nice way of saying big. I’m not going to run out and chop off my nose, but it is definitely one of those things that I wish were a little less ‘regal’. Going back to my childhood, I had extremely light blond curly hair and was extremely fair. So much so, that my schoolmates would heartlessly call me an Albino. Suffice it to say, there are a few emotional scars.
So often, it is easy for us to focus on what we don’t like about ourselves. We don’t like our double chin, our extra five pounds, the color of our hair, our pimples …the list seems to go on forever. Granted, media and bullies don’t help. Focusing on the negative and honing in on all of our faults, not only is harmful to our self-esteem and body image, but it can cause us to become blind to our assets: the things that are beautiful about us and should be celebrated. In short, finding things to love about ourselves is way MORE important than finding things to criticize.
As I’ve gotten older, I have finally started to enjoy my assets. I’ve started acknowledging them and feeling thankful for them. For instance, I’ve never had to dye or perm my ultra blond wavy hair, saving me SO much money over the years! And although I won’t bore you with all of my ‘assets’, I have come to appreciate my derriere and my eyes, among a few other things. Granted, my nose hasn’t made the list, but all in all, I’m thankful for the good qualities that make up for my ‘regal’ flaw.
Taking time to focus on our good qualities takes practice. Especially if we aren’t used to complimenting ourselves and rely on the external world’s approval. But, with a little practice we can become much better, enjoying the qualities of our assets. Here are a few ways to get your mind into a self-loving mindset:
Get out of Looking and Start Feeling: Inner beauty is far more lasting than outer beauty. Start celebrating your inner qualities that make you beautiful (E.g., You are a loving wife and mom, you volunteer at the local shelter, you are a phenomenal cook, you have a beautiful voice, etc.). Make a list of these and keep them as a reminder of what makes you beautiful as an individual.
Celebrate-You Day: Dedicate one day or evening a month to celebrating you. Dress in something you love and do your hair the way you like it best. Do something you love and enjoy yourself.
Take Some Photographs: On your personal ‘Celebrate-You Day’, get a friend or family member to take some pictures of you. Take lots of them so that you can be sure that you will be happy with at least one or two. Get prints and frame the ones you like best.
Find your Assets and Accentuate Them: Don’t be afraid to look at yourself in the mirror. Be honest with yourself and find the things you love…or even like. Maybe you have great legs. Maybe you have great arms. Maybe you have beautiful eyes. Stay focused on the positive and don’t allow yourself to criticize the things you would change. Do this at least once a week and enjoy it. It will get easier with time.
Take a Break from Media for a Month: Often, we compare ourselves to what we see in magazines and media. Take a break from your favorite publications, TV Shows and movies and instead, spend your time outdoors, gardening, knitting or anything else you enjoy. You can always TeVo your shows and hold your magazines for vacation reading!
Enjoy your assets! You owe it to yourself! What parts do you love most about yourself?