When I realized that Wellness Wednesday and Valentine’s Day would collide this year, I was inspired to write a blog post combining the two. So the focus of today’s post is how to nurture the longest-lasting relationship you’ll ever have: the one with yourself.
Because as Mama Ru says:
Tip 1: Don’t Shit-Talk Yourself
I know that I’m so guilty of this, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize it’s a problem. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES!
When you let that inner critic run rampant, you eventually start to believe what that little jerk is saying. One thing I’ve been trying lately is to not say or think anything about myself that I wouldn’t say about my best friend. This tactic means that you approach any sort of criticism constructively–sure, if your best friend was about to do something really reckless, you’d find a way to gently be like, “Maybe there’s a middle ground between rage-quitting your job and resigning yourself to working there until you die,” but you don’t insult or bully your friends the way we sometimes do to ourselves.
I think that sometimes (especially as women) we think that we need to be self-deprecating so that nobody thinks that we’re full of ourselves. But, just like the example above with rage-quitting and dying at your desk, I think that there’s a healthy middle ground between telling ourselves we’re shit and telling everyone that we’re perfect.
The key is to think of your “flaws” as areas for improvement, rather than moral failings. I’m not as fit as I’d like to be. Before, I would look in the mirror and tell myself that I was a disgusting lump of dough and that nobody could stand to look at me. When I’d get winded while running to catch the bus, I’d think that I was an embarrassment to everyone around.
Now, I instead acknowledge to myself that yes, my fitness is an area that I’d like to improve. It’s no longer a value judgement; it’s just a goal, just like saving money or starting a business. It loses its sting and instead acts as a catalyst for change.
Tip 2: Treat Yourself
I know I’ve quoted Dale Cooper before (he’s basically my guru), but I feel like it’s a tip that bears repeating:
“…I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee.”
The same way that you’d do nice things for a partner or a family member or a friend, you should also be doing that for yourself. Why? Same reason that you do them for others: love.
It doesn’t have to be some big, romantic gesture–although if standing on your own lawn blasting Peter Gabriel does it for you, I’m not going to stand in your way. Find time every day to do something that’s really important to you, whether it’s having a bubble bath, going to the gym, or just relaxing in front of the TV.
You might feel like it’s selfish to do these nice things for yourself, but I’d argue that it puts you in a better position to come through for others. When I’m depressed, I’m not helping anyone (usually least of all myself). But when I’m taking care of myself, I’m better able to be there for other people, too.
Tip 3: Stop Comparing
You know how sometimes you’re bopping along, totally content, and then BAM! You find out that the friend-of-a-friend you never really warmed to got a book deal, and suddenly everything you’ve ever done sucks?
Yeah, we need to stop it with that shit.
Sure, having goals is great, and I even think that a little healthy competition can help push us forward. The problem, though, is when you start thinking that someone else’s accomplishments negate your own. You can both be awesome. That other person isn’t the only one on Earth who gets to be successful.
You’re also never seeing the whole picture. That guy who just got the big promotion? Maybe he also has a sick relative, and he’s super envious of your great relationship with your still-healthy parents. Your friend who’s always taking these amazingly swag trips? Maybe she’s secretly super lonely. The point is: you don’t know.
It’s kind of like in a romantic relationship. It’s probably not super-helpful to always be comparing your partner to past partners, or your relationship to other people’s. Instead, it’s better to focus on improving the things that you want to work on and building the life you want together. The same goes for your relationship with yourself. Focus inward and don’t worry so much about what everyone else is doing. Eyes on your own paper.
Did you find any of these tips helpful? Do you have any self-love tips to add? Let’s have a self-love fest in the comments (even though that sounds SUPER masturbate-y).