“Fall back in love with yourself” does sound a bit cheesy. I agree, but it does have value. So stay with me.
Usually, we are our harshest critics, speaking and thinking negatively about ourselves. Yet, no one wins a race by beating their horse to death. Life may not have turned out as you wanted, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get there. Believing in yourself and rekindling your love for yourself is a beautiful place to start.
So what is self-love? It is an essential part of life and well-being. It can shape our thoughts, decisions and actions, making it a necessary aspect of our mental wellness. It is not spending vast amounts of money on beauty regimes, staring for hours in complete admiration at our reflection. Nor is it seeking pleasure at the expense of others or, in fact, your own future goals.
Unfortunately, due to many reasons too long to list here, many mothers struggle with the concept of loving themselves and lAs a result, leading to negative self-talk, decreased self-esteem and a general lack of fulfilment in life. Hence, I thought it appropriate to write this blog to explore five actionable steps to loving yourself and accepting yourself.
Embrace your flaws.
It is confronting yet highly liberating when you finally say, “F**k it! I love every bit of me.” Anyone who tells you differently is a fool. It doesn’t matter if you have a muffin top, grey hairs, or wrinkle lines; learn to love them all.
One of the biggest obstacles to self-love is our focus on flaws and imperfections. We often focus on what we see as our shortcomings and forget to appreciate our strengths. As a result, we fail to embrace ourselves, warts and all. And who can blame us? Women, for generations, have lived with society’s unrealistic expectations and standards of what is attractive and what is not.
It’s vital to remember that we all are perfect in our imperfections. Our bodies are vessels that carry us through life, doing a fantastic job. We all have things we would like to change. Yet many that do, don’t find themselves that much happier. Instead, love yourself for those imperfections is more fulfilling and longer lasting. Just as we love our children, however, they have come. Our flaws are a natural part of who we are.
So, focus on what you like about yourself and try to cultivate a positive self-image. Avoid negative self-talk and, instead, try to see your flaws as unique qualities that make you who you are. And if you can’t embrace them, give them a big hug, tell them you love them, and that everything will be okay.
Cheryl D. Rickman, in her book “You are enough: Embrace Your Flaws and Be Happy Being You”, provides valuable insights to let go of the myth of perfection, help you embrace your flaws and celebrate your unique awesomeness.
Forgive Your Mistakes.
The importance of being kind and understanding to ourselves cannot be overstated. Make sure you recognise that you are doing your best rather than beating yourself up. Having a critical mindset can be a significant obstacle in our lives.
It is easy to dwell on our failures and let them define us. However, forgiving yourself for your mistakes is essential on the journey to self-love. We all make mistakes and must let go of past failures and move forward, as holding onto them harms our self-esteem and mental health.
Remember, everyone makes mistakes. Making mistakes is a natural part of being human. This is how we learn. They do not define us as a person unless we’ve made the same mistake twice. Then you should probably get a new definition and seek help. Definitively 😉
To forgive yourself, start by acknowledging and accepting your mistakes. Be kind and understanding of yourself. Shift the focus from self-pity of “Woe is me” or self-degradation of “You stupid woman!” to curiosity “, What is the universe trying to teach me here?” Reflect on what you have learned from the experience and take steps to improve. Avoid dwelling on your failures; focus on your progress and growth.
Self-criticism can be a “go-to” response for many, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of condemning yourself, try speaking to yourself as you would talk to a friend or child. Be gentle with yourself as you guide yourself through the hurt of the experience, and support yourself along the way. This shift in thinking is healthy for your mental well-being and will help you flourish by becoming more resilient.
For Fox’s sake, STOP it! You are you. Full stop. Aim to be the best version of yourself. It is impossible to be somebody else, so why compare yourself to them? You are a pear, a beautiful, delicious pear. So the apple is all rosy, girl, please! She wants your curves!
Comparison is a natural human tendency but can be detrimental to self-love. Comparing ourselves to others often leads to feelings of inadequacy and can be a significant barrier to self-love. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, we should focus on our unique qualities and talents.
Remember, everyone’s journey is different, and there is no need to compare ourselves to others. Be happy for others and their accomplishments, but do not feel like their achievements take anything away from you as a mum. Your strengths are not their strengths, and vice versa.
The truth is most people are unaware of the actual struggles that everyone else experiences. They think that they are the only ones who do not have all the answers or the only ones who fail from time to time. Use other people to inspire you to be better, but avoid letting it deteriorate into a comparison battle that makes you feel inferior.
Take stock of your strengths and positives in your life through journaling. It is an excellent practice advocated by some and laughed at by others. Yet, if you can think of only one good thing about you and your life per day. At the end of the year, you will have a small notebook filled with fantastic stuff about YOU and your enviable life. So, grab a copy from the Single Mama Way resource page and start noting down today.
Believe in Yourself.
We celebrate and believe in our children. Our family and friends. We champion and support all in our tribe—time to extend the same courtesy to yourself. Include the person with whom you live most closely in your loving kindness; YOU! She will amaze you when you do.
One of the critical components of self-love is having faith in ourselves. We are more confident when we believe in ourselves, and our self-esteem improves. Believing in ourselves means accepting ourselves for who we are, flaws and all. It also means faith in our abilities and confidence in our decisions. Note it does not mean getting every decision right.
To believe in yourself, start by recognising and appreciating your strengths. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people, and avoid negative self-talk. Pursue your passions and interests, and invest in your personal growth and development. Small actions lead to the most significant rewards.
Being a single mother can be a challenging and lonely experience, but finding a support network that understands your unique circumstances is fundamental to helping you through difficult times. Whether it’s friends, family members, or even an online community, having people around you who understand your struggles can be invaluable in providing emotional support and guidance.
Invest in yourself.
Finally, investing in yourself is a non-negotiable aspect of self-love. This means prioritising self-care and well-being. When we invest in ourselves, we show ourselves that we are worth it, and our self-love improves.
It can be challenging to find time to focus on ourselves and our own needs amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But we must make time for self-care for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Setting aside a few minutes or a few hours each week to do something that brings us joy can help us stay grounded and centred amid life’s challenges.
Self-care can look different for everyone – it could be something as simple as stepping outside for a walk, reading a book, or engaging in an activity that brings joy. Investing in oneself doesn’t have to involve money; it can include participating in physical activity, eating a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep.
Whatever it may be, it’s necessary to make the conscious decision and effort to prioritise your needs and wants to take care of yourself properly. Making this time absolute and protected from interruptions or distractions is vital. Booking such time with yourself, like an appointment with another, and respecting that time as you would for another is one way of ensuring you honour your commitment to yourself.
Setting boundaries to prioritise your mental and emotional well-being is another critical component in this step. When we prioritise our needs and wants by setting boundaries, we ensure that we are not overworking or neglecting our mental, physical, and emotional health. In addition, this helps us be present and show up at our best for all we care for.
And one last extra step to fall back in love.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes, reaching out to a friend or family member for support can do wonders for your mental health. We will spend our last cent and give up our last bite for the little ones we love so much. Yet we must recognise that investing in mental and physical health benefits them the most. What good will you be as an exhausted, nervous wreck? Putting ourselves first is not selfish; it is a necessity.
Book a complimentary counselling consult with me. I’m only too happy to point out all the great things about you!