It worked out well that February is a month full of love, and that it happened to be the first targeted month for The Happy Life Challenge. (If you don’t know what The Happy Life Challenge is, head here to read more about it and get caught up on how you can join in!) The reason I am excited to talk about LOVE for our first targeted month (last month was just an overview, each month from now on will have a specific focus) of this amazing challenge is because I truly believe that the more you LOVE yourself, the happier your life will be. Being happy starts with loving yourself, and that is why I had to start off the year with it as a focus. This blog post is going to talk all about why I believe that self love and happiness are so closely linked and as a bonus I’m sharing 50 tips for better self love at the end. Pin the graphic below so that you can always have a copy of this list.
“Self love, the best way to be happy.”
I know we are all on different self love paths, and so I feel a little silly writing a blog post to an entire group of women who are all at different stages in their own personal journey with self love. That’s the thing though, each of our journey’s with self love is so personal. What works for me, may not work for you. What works for your neighbor, doesn’t work for my mother, or my best friend. AND THAT IS OKAY! I think our paths and our journeys with self love change daily. There are days that (no lie) I think I am pretty dang awesome and other days I seriously think I need to go hide in a hole because I just can’t get anything right! My mom use to joke that she needed to send her children to Dr. Phil for having “too much self esteem”. It was a joke that was brought up often, but I remember always being taught that self love is so important for my health (both physical and mental) and that self love wasn’t a joke. I feel extremely blessed to have grown up in a home where we all had a lot of self esteem and self love because that was important to my parents. We were constantly encouraged to be who we were, be our best self (but also that it was okay to make mistakes), and that we were worthy of love from not only others, but also, ourselves.
If you are reading this now and thinking, you never had this growing up, I hope you know the impact your home can have on your children, your roommates, or your spouse. You can be the light that they need. I feel grateful every single day that I was able to grow up in a home where these traits were taught and that the tips at the bottom of this post were used often.
Now just because I say that I had a lot of self esteem, don’t stop reading and think, “You don’t get it, Karli. You don’t know how I feel.” Honestly, you are right. I don’t know how YOU feel. I only know how I feel. We all feel differently. We all grew up in different situations. We all have different thoughts about ourselves. We all have our ups and our downs. I will tell you though, that I was taught growing up to not let other’s thoughts effect me (easier said than done though, right?). That I was made for more. That I was built to do whatever I wanted and that I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to.
Now of course I had my struggles. My extreme case of acne really put a hinder on my self esteem throughout high school and college. It was so bad and NOTHING would ever work for me. Dermatologist appointment after appointment and medicine after medicine, and nothing would fix it. I struggled for years with full face scars and redness that no makeup could cover up. It was hard. And I HATED it. I felt like I had a great, happy, positive attitude to share with the world, but all people saw when they first saw me was my ugly, acne filled face, not the fun girl inside. I tried hard to not let it bother me, and even though I knew I was more than my acne, it didn’t make it any easier to love that part of myself I hated so much. With every part of me, I HATED that. Growing up in a home though where so often we were taught to love ourselves, it made it better at times. It didn’t make it totally easy, and I had to work hard to remember that although I felt like I had a face that was absolutely gross, it didn’t make me any less of a person on the inside. And that knowledge helped me still live a happy life throughout some really difficult high school and early college years.
Now I still have days where sometimes I feel like I could be better. That I could do more, look a certain way, or accomplish cooler things, but those days are the days I actively tell my thoughts to SHUT UP and I work hard to realize that my happiness starts with me, and loving myself for who I really am. Those days that I don’t love myself, those are the days that I don’t feel happy. The days that things go wrong in life, but I love who I am and where I am in this crazy world, I am able to more easily bounce back from it all. I’ll also be honest that somedays I just want to wallow, and although I don’t think that is always the answer, sometimes I just want to wallow and I let myself. I think that can be healthy if done in the right way. It’s okay to let our emotions take over. So if you aren’t happy 100% of the time, or you don’t feel self love 100% of the time, don’t worry. BUT….don’t let that spiral into a reoccurring theme. You need to wake up, and choose to love yourself more times than not. Understand that no one is perfect. We all make mistakes, but ALWAYS get back up and keep trying. Keep improving. Keep being the best person you can be. Don’t let yourself down.
One thing that has always been hard on me when it comes to self love is pleasing everyone and having a hard time when I do something that people may disagree with or may not like. I have been a people pleaser from day 1 and although I try hard, it has been a constant struggle of give and take in my life. I’ve been working hard on finding the strength in myself to know that not everyone will like me and I have to be okay with that. That is sooooooo hard for me though. I struggle because I feel like if someone doesn’t like me, it was because I obviously said or did something to make them feel that way, and that was my fault. I shouldn’t have said that. I shouldn’t have done that. I should’ve taken into consideration everyone else. What an absolutely terrible way to live you guys. Lately I’ve had to work hard on remembering to love myself first, and realize that I am not everyone’s cup of tea and THAT IS OKAY. This is my current biggest struggle and although I feel like I truly love myself, I take a lot of that self love from other people, and that is something I’ve been working daily on fixing. My self love needs to come from me and not how others feel about me.
I want to end with one question. Are you happy with who you are? Truly think about that. Let those thoughts sit for a minute. Stop reading this for a hot second and truly think. Are you happy with who you are? If you answered “YES”, then good for you! Keep it up! Write down those things that you love about yourself and keep working at it because self love is something that you have to continually learn. You are never the same person. You are a different person yesterday than you are today, so why would you stop learning to love the new and ever changing you? You wouldn’t. You will never stop learning to love yourself. It is something that everyone (yes…every single person in this world) has to strive for each and every day. As people, we change. Those changes are ever present in our life and sometimes are good, and other times are bad. It doesn’t matter though, because either way (good or bad), we have changed and that requires us to learn to love ourselves in a new way. Don’t ever stop learning to love yourself.
You are never the same person. You are a different person yesterday than you are today, so why would you stop learning to love the new and ever changing you? You wouldn’t. You will never stop learning to love yourself.
If you said “NO”, then honey I want you to read the list below and truly, truly work on changing that to a “YES”! I know you can! Start by choosing 2 of these items from the list that you feel are the easiest for you to accomplish. Get that self esteem up by doing those easy ones first, and then move onto harder ones. Work through it. Tell yourself every single day that YOU WANT TO LOVE YOURSELF. If you truly want it, you can do it. Also know that you aren’t alone. Everyone is at a different stage in their journey and there is no way we can truly compare each of our individual, ever changing self love journeys to another persons ever changing journey. Remember how I said we have to constantly be relearning to love ourselves? Yeah? Well that means that everyone reading this is working on this too. You are not alone. You are not the only one feeling this way. You are not the only one who struggles. Not the only one who feels inadequate. Not the only one who feels they can’t and won’t ever love who they are. And because you aren’t the only one, and because we ALL have to work at this, I know you can change. I KNOW YOU CAN LOVE YOURSELF.
Finally….I feel like I have to end this blog post with the words: YOU ARE ENOUGH. Read those reads and reread those words. Remember them and take them to heart. Do the activities below and remember that YOU ARE ENOUGH exactly how you are.
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”Lucille Ball
50 WAYS TO IMPROVE SELF LOVE
1.Speak words of affirmation to yourself in the mirror.
2. Make time for the things you love to do.
3. Don’t change yourself for anyone, especially in order to make someone love you. Choose to change for yourself.
4. Know what you love about yourself and keep a list where it can be easily read often.
5. Set time aside to do things for yourself/Invest in yourself.
7. Take time to appreciate yourself each day (spend 2 minutes writing down something you appreciated about yourself each day).
8. Serve others
9. Stop being so hard on yourself.
10. Think happier thoughts during the day.
11. Make life more fun. Hate doing something that you still have to do? Make it more fun by having a friend join, turning on your favorite song or tv show, or rewarding yourself.
12. If you want to do something, do it. Tell yourself you can do it and then truly believe it.
13. Keep promises to yourself. (Thanks for that one, Rachel Hollis)
14. Give as much credit to your strengths as you do your weaknesses.
15. Laugh at yourself and realize that we all mess up.
16. Find a hobby and do it often.
17. Find a best friend who helps lift you up, but also be your own best friend and learn to be your own number 1 cheerleader.
18. Celebrate the everyday life and enjoy the little things that are part of your life (especially the mundane tasks).
19. Remember you are in control of your life and can make a change and take charge whenever you want.
20. Stay away from people that don’t feel like sunshine and surround yourself with those who love you unconditionally.
21. Always look at what you accomplished first. Don’t put a priority on what you didn’t get done.
22. If you feel sad, let yourself feel sad, but not for too long. Understand your emotions and why you feel the way you do. Accept your emotions, feel them, and then learn to stay in control of them.
23. Accept compliments
24. Learn something new just because.
25. Take time for relaxation.
26. Make time for the things you want like you make time for the things you need. Both are necessary.
27. Write yourself a love letter.
28. Dress up just because.
29. Do your makeup for no reason other than you want to pamper yourself and put your best foot forward.
30. Stop comparing yourself to others. Instead, be happy for others, and realize you are all on different paths. What someone has, you may want, but you have things someone else wants. Remember we are all different and that makes life better.
31. Stop apologizing for who you are. You are YOU and that is a wonderful thing!
32. Focus on the things you are grateful for in your life.
33. Ask for help if you need it.
34. Find a friend you can talk to without judgement and let them talk to you the same way.
35. Go to a therapist if you feel you need extra help and can’t do it alone. Amazing things can happen when you realize your seek professional help.
36. Have a go to morning routine that works for you and your needs.
37. Listen to happy music. (My playlist here)
38. Talk nicely to and about others. Then do the same for yourself.
39. Don’t worry about the future and the things that you cannot control.
40. Forgive yourself and forgive others.
41. Organize your life. Whether that is making a to do list, creating a morning routine, or cleaning the house, an organized life is one that is more at peace.
42. Drink water and eat healthy. A healthy diet and lifestyle will help you feel better, making you feel more love toward yourself.
43. When you look in the mirror, if you notice negative thoughts first, say 3 things you love about your body. Always make sure the positive thoughts outweigh the negative thoughts and those negative thoughts will start to diminish.
44. Take a break from the negativity in your life. What makes you compare yourself, or feel down, or not worth anything? Find something and cut it out of your life for awhile. Then after a break, find a healthy way to participate in those aspects whether that is social media, friends, or something else.
45. Take responsibility for your life and the choices you make.
46. Create a vision board, goals, or imagine your life in a few years. Where do you want to be? What do you want to strive for?
47. Be present
48. Take a break from stress. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Stop. Take a break. Regroup. And then begin again.
49. Smile a lot!
50. Read a personal growth book. (My personal current favorite can be found here.)