Mass media undermines everybody by portraying believable people having the times of their lives. Their problems are solved before the story ends, or you don’t care if they continue. Social media worsens the problem because users can be selective about what they share with the world, including posts filled with “My life is great!” lies. That’s in addition to restraining themselves from sharing problems to be solved. Then you begin to wonder why your life isn’t as smooth or as rewarding as Hollywood’s and Instagram’s. Fiction is fun, but not when you use it to condemn yourself for having problems in life. The cure for that is to use your memory, imagination, and a bit of good sense. Keep reading for “Three Can-Do Steps to Self-love.”
Step One: Keep track of improvements. Keep a diary about what’s working in your life. Create a computerized document or use a paper notebook, whatever feels comfortable. We’re going to increase your level of comfort all the way to the end!
Fill the space with notes about your successful efforts, pleasant interactions with other people (include your pets!), and rewarding insights that you gain over time.
Step Two: Take time out to nurture yourself. Eat well, pamper yourself with a good book, a good massage, a pedicure, a manicure, a facial, a concert, a movie, walk outdoors more often, exercise a bit each day, and so on. Do things that leave you feeling better off for the effort. You’ll be resting from stress and benefiting from those nurturing experiences in various ways.
Shop for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and make your meals with pure foods. Prepare real meals that didn’t come with wrappers or a lot of synthetic additives plus grease and salt to make you swell with bloat, fat, or higher blood pressure. The nutrition will help your brain to work better. Processed “food” tends to slow brains, and to harm them in other ways.
Solid nutrition supports mental and physical health. Reading enhances memory skills, rewards pleasure centers, and so on. Tactile sensations are soothing. Getting away from monitors, dreary schedules and predictable routines livens up our senses of joy and of optimism.
Positive feelings can sustain you when things go downhill at home, work, campus, or anywhere.
Step Three: Focus on Gratitude. The mental health world is packed with evidence that this activity improves our emotional lives. We begin to see the good in just about everything when we focus on gratitude. Reminding ourselves of what’s worth living for and thinking that over is a great way to increase self-respect, self-confidence, and self-love. It’s a package deal.
Add notes about all the above into your journal. Reviewing your writing will remind you of positive things that might otherwise be forgotten.
Here’s what’s happening:
You didn’t torture yourself with some set of New Years’ or post-New Years’ resolutions that tend to be broken by normal people. Yes, you’re normal for breaking your own rules. Add that to your journal.
You’re not pushing your limits, you’re expanding them. You started with a small goal and advanced your way to more sophisticated self-love tactics. You’re being smart, not overloading your sense of expectations with false promises. You’re keeping it real. Add that to your journal.
Ready for the reward to everything you’re doing? It’s this: People will notice your upbeat mood and that you have it more often than not. Your sense of self confidence and self-respect will rise before and after that happens. That leads to self-love.
Enjoy your relationship with yourself. You’re an increasingly decent human being for the efforts you’ve made.