How I learned the art of self-love

Facing Fears Blog On How I Learned The Art Of Self Love By Tegan Marshall

Had enough of all the positive memes on your FB feed that keep telling you the answer to all your problems is to just love yourself but they never tell you how? A friend of mine brought this to my attention the other day by posting the great question “how do you learn to love yourself” and I thought it might be something that others were thinking because I certainly used to.

To give you a bit of context, I used to be a big self-hater. I despised my body for a huge list of reasons. I hated myself for all of the mistakes, bad choices and stupid ideas I had made. And don’t get me started on what a crappy friend, girlfriend, and lover I thought I was. I had self-hate as my “go to” in pretty much any situation and laughed at the thought of self-love.

What I didn’t realise was how much hating on myself was affecting my confidence, my relationships, the quality of my life and my opportunity to be happy.

I used to read the positive memes that would tell me to love myself and think, “what would they know, they haven’t had my life. They don’t have my body. They don’t know me.”

Or I would just get even more frustrated with myself because I didn’t even know where to start to learn the art of self-love.

These days I like to think that I have a healthy amount of self-love most of the time. This has contributed to me having more confidence, courage and connection. Which in turn has given me more opportunities, success, and most importantly, happiness.

Here are the steps I used to take me from hating on myself to a space of self-love where I am today. From time to time if my fear monkey tries to fill my head with negative self-belief thoughts again, these still work to get me back to my truth:

  1. Give yourself a break. Would you be so hard on a friend as you are on yourself? Holding yourself to high standards is totally fine and this is how I have achieved amazing things. But… holding yourself to impossible standards of perfection is a fear response that only serves to give you ammunition to hate yourself even more. It’s like setting yourself up to fail. Don’t be a slacker but don’t be ridiculous either.
  2. Stop comparing. When we compare our body, looks, life, or career to someone else’s highlight reel we are looking for evidence that we aren’t good enough. Comparison is fear’s best companion and it will keep you small, depressed and far away from self-love. Guaranteed! So, when you catch yourself comparing, get out of your Facebook feed and go do something more positive i.e. one of the following steps.
  3. Forgive yourself. If you are hating on yourself for making a mistake then look for the lesson in the mistake, the gift (yes there will be one!). Then forgive yourself because the reality is you were meant to make that mistake so that you could learn the lesson. To help you, think about how would you do it differently next time? Can you do a re-do? If so, then plan it out and make it happen. If you can’t, then forgive yourself, let it go and cherish the lesson.
  4. Be thankful. As women, we can be extremely harsh on ourselves. Instead, focus on your good points and better qualities. Writing them down is even more powerful. Hating on your body? Write down 10 things your body has done for you today. Does your heart keep beating every day? Do your feet keep you moving through life? What can you be thankful for?
  5. Be kind to yourself. This always makes you feel better and it isn’t selfish because it fills your cup up ready to give to others again. Being kind to yourself brings you back to your heart and love, making you much nicer to be around than when you are hating on yourself. For some inspiration read my 30 days of gifts to me birthday post.
  6. Acknowledge your wins. If you focus on what you haven’t achieved, guess what you will get more of. So…Congratulating yourself for even the smallest steps can have a positive snowball effect on your mind and your life. You don’t have to yell it from the rooftops but take a moment to tell yourself you did a good job
  7. Mirror work – This is one of my favourite (and most powerful). Created by the legendary Louise Hay RIP. It involves looking in a mirror and telling yourself you love the person looking back at you. I’ll admit, when I started I wanted to punch the face that looked back at me. Then I couldn’t do it without balling my eyes out. But as time went on, just by committing to the steps each day, I eventually could say it to myself and mean it. Now I can even do it standing naked in front of the mirror. Imagine that! I wrote a post about how to do it here.

I’m hopeful that if you are in the space of hating on yourself that at least one of these steps might get the ball rolling for you in the direction of self-love. I can assure you that although it’s not easy, the journey is well worth it and the rewards are amazing. Without it I wouldn’t be where I am today (happily married and traveling the world). So, stick with it. Xo

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