“Loving yourself is the greatest revolution.”
We’re told all the time that it’s important to love ourselves. What people don’t realize is that it can be hard to have self confidence when you’re dealing with a mental illness. The feeling of not doing anything right is hard to shake. Feeling like a burden to others leaves little room for confidence to seep its way into you. How are you supposed to believe that you’re worthy of love and respect when no one else will give it to you? Loving yourself is a challenge.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you probably will not wake up one morning, decide that you love yourself, and never have a confidence issue ever again. That’s not reasonable. Building self-confidence takes time and effort. It is a conscious process, not passive. The way you view yourself probably won’t change on its own. However, if you’re reading this, you’re probably trying to build your confidence. Why not start the process now?
I used to hate myself. I didn’t think there was anything positive about me. I didn’t even feel worthy of taking up space. Nowadays, after therapy and medication, I have moments each day where I can look in the mirror and smile at what I see and who I’ve become.
In order to get to that point, I needed to fight every instinct to tell myself that I wasn’t worthy of respect. The strategies I used to do this can be broken down into 3 steps, which is how I categorized some of the skills from DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) that helped me.
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1. Directly challenge the negative views about yourself.
In therapy, they referred to this as using “cheer-leading statements.” Basically, all it means is consciously stopping yourself when you have a negative thought and telling yourself something positive instead. However, negative self-talk can become so deeply ingrained in our minds that we don’t even know when to tackle it. A good place to start would be to write down the things you’d like to believe about yourself, then hang that list near a mirror or a desk. Look at it often.
2. Brag a little.
Don’t be afraid to share your successes on social media! You may be surprised to see how many people support you. If you don’t think you have anything worthy to share, dig for it. Did you recently get a high grade on an assignment? Make a Facebook status. Does your outfit look nice today? Take a selfie and post it on Instagram. Did you doodle something random in a notebook? Share it. It doesn’t matter how small the accomplishment may seem. Just share it. It feels good to not only remind yourself of your achievements, but to see other people react kindly to them.
3. Treat yourself.
You don’t have to be made of money in order to treat yourself. Personally, I feel fantastic after I paint my nails. My favorite bottles of nail polish only cost $2 a piece! It’s simple, but devoting some time to myself has really helped me feel worthy of experiencing positive things. Wear the outfit that makes you feel awesome, even if you don’t need to dress up. Eat the brownie.
If you’re ready to start loving yourself, sign up for my mailing list to get the 15-Day Love Yourself Challenge. It includes 15 suggestions for a confidence-boosting activities. This challenge will:
- Get you in the habit of validating your strengths and accomplishments
- Help you identify supportive people who care about you
- Invite you to treat yourself like the awesome person you are
This challenge is meant to be an introduction to confidence-boosting activities. It is not designed to be a replacement for therapy or medication, and I encourage you to continue working on your self esteem for more than 15 days.