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When You're Struggling With Self Love

Updated: Feb 28

Image by Victoria from Pixabay

I imagine that most happy, confident people look in the mirror every morning and smile. They like what they see reflected there. They love themselves and are happy with themselves, just as they are.

But what about the rest of us? Those of us that look in the mirror and see the few extra pounds, the bags under our eyes, the lines and wrinkles? Those of us that, because of our appearance or something on the inside, find it so difficult to be happy with what we see, even in the best of times.

Having a low sense of self esteem and self worth is quite a common problem in today's society. There is so much to compare ourselves to in the media, and everyone else seems to have things so much more together than we do. They all make it look so easy.

But is it easy?

For me, it hasn't been. Self love and self acceptance are things that I have struggled with since I was a little girl. I remember writing in a scrap book for the first day of school in kindergarten, and my mom asking me what I wanted to be. I said, "A pretty lady." Already, at that young age, I had internalized how much appearance matters in our world.

So, how exactly do you go about disconnecting your sense of self worth from what you see in the mirror? How do you love yourself in spite of regrets, limiting beliefs and failed relationships? How do you disconnect your view of yourself from the things other people say to you, and develop an unshakable sense of self-confidence.

This is what I am working on with my life coach, and I thought it would be helpful to share with you all.

Here are some steps you can take to develop self love and self confidence:

  • Work with a therapist, life coach or other mental health professional

  • Identify limiting beliefs you have about yourself

  • Work through those limiting beliefs, and underlying traumas that have caused them

  • Say affirmations that are the opposite of the things you think about yourself currently

  • Make a list of your good qualities and the things you love about yourself

  • Revisit this list often, and expand on it

  • Put post-it notes around your house with affirmations and positive quotes

  • Celebrate your wins, no matter how small

  • Disconnect from social media, if you find yourself making comparisons

  • Set boundaries in your relationships

  • Surround yourself with positive people

  • Take time for self care

  • Give yourself a hug and say "I love you"

  • Say the Loving-Kindness Meditation

All of these things, by themselves, may seem small. However, when you dedicate yourself and your time to making time to work on yourself and love yourself more, it can make a difference over time. I'm still not where I want to be in terms of self love and self acceptance, but I'm not where I used to be either.

Learning to love yourself, especially if you have a history of trauma, can be especially difficult. If you have grown up with people who constantly told you bad things about yourself, or were the scapegoat child of a narcissist, you probably have deep seated limiting beliefs from childhood, like I do.

Taking time to work through each limiting belief, identify where it came from, and look at the situation more objectively now, can help you to believe more positive things about yourself and your life in the future.

One thing I recently learned in therapy is that when someone says something negative about you, you have the choice to say to them, "I'm not going to believe it with you." It is up to you to determine what you will and won't believe, and you don't have to let other people's negative opinions define you.

Here are some tips on how to work through your limiting beliefs, and develop a greater sense of self-love:

Remember, your relationship with yourself is just like every other relationship in your life. The more you nourish it, the better it will be. This is why it is important to devote time each day to show yourself love, care and compassion. Building in self-care into your day is a great way to make sure that you are keeping your relationship with yourself strong.

There is only one person that you are going to spend every day with for the rest of your life - Yourself!

That means, your relationship with yourself should always be top priority! All of your other relationships in your life will improve if you improve your relationship with yourself. It is hard to be loving, giving and kind if you feel depressed, anxious or burned out.

We often think of self care as being selfish - but that couldn't be further from the truth! YOU are the most important person in your life. More important than your kids, your spouse or your parents. If you are a mother, you may gasp to hear me say that! But it is true.

You can't be a good mom, wife, friend or employee if you are feeling deeply negative about yourself. Sure, you may be able to put on a brave face for a while and power through the day pretending to be Superwoman. But after a while, that kind of life is going to take its toll. Your mental and physical health will begin to suffer the effects of chronic stress.

When this happens, you may suffer a mental breakdown, or a physical illness. Then, you truly do have to stop and take care of yourself. Letting it get to the point where you are unable to cope anymore isn't doing yourself or anyone else any favors.

Spending a few minutes - or even a couple hours! - today on yourself can save you a bunch of pain and heartache in the long run. Do something good for yourself today and every day, and you will begin to nurture an unshakable sense of self-love that nothing will be able to shatter!

If there are questions you would like me to answer in the future, or insights you would like me to share from my own self-love journey, let me know in the comments! I am happy to help!


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