Acts of Self-Love That Will Change Your Life

We all have our weaknesses.

I, for one, am too hard on myself. I’m obsessive. A perfectionist. It’s easy for me to criticize or blame myself. Being kind, loving and understanding to ourselves doesn’t come as easy. Why? Because for a lot of us, it’s a habit. We put ourselves down, without even thinking about it most of the time.

DITCH YOUR DESIRE TO BE PERFECT

perfectionism
per·fec·tion·ism
pərˈfekSHəˌnizəm/
noun

  1. refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.
  • Being average is a terrible thought for me.
  • The only way I’m ever satisfied with my work is if it’s done perfectly.
  • Failing on an assignment at work or school makes me a failure as a person.
  • When I look back at my life, I see only my failures.
  • I believe that if I’m perfect for my partner, he or she will never reject me.
  • To encourage success, it is essential to be tough on a child when she or he fails.
  • The idea of making a mistake worries me. 
  • I have to excel at everything I do
  • I have to be in perfect physical shape in order to be considered attractive.
  • If I do really well on an assignment the first time around, I’ll be expected to consistently produce results of the same quality, without exception.

Do you relate with any of the thoughts about? You may be obsessed with perfection.

Life is not an an endless report card. Perfectionism is a fast track to unhappiness, and can feel like a trap. When you’re a perfectionist, you feel that strong need to be in control of your emotions. It’s just like having that all-or-nothing attitude, where unless you get 100%, you get nothing. It’s more time spent worrying about failing than  focusing on what it is you’re trying to accomplish.

“To escape criticism — do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard

Look at the things you’ve overcome, the things you’ve accomplished. Is there are a way you could use the strength or knowledge you already have to get you where you want to be? You need to learn how to let go of that need to control everything, slowly. Take it step-by-step. I started doing this by putting myself in situations that I knew I wouldn’t be able to control entirely. Basically, my worst nightmare. The thing is, once you do that, and let go of that need to be perfect all the time, you actually kind of get to enjoy yourself. It’s just like learning to surrender. To surrender means not being afraid to look silly, to make mistakes, to change or be imperfect. It’s realizing that as much as you can try to control every aspect of your life, you can’t.

There is nothing wrong with constant need to do better–to grow, try new things, to learn and wanting to become a better person. But as you grow and learn, remember to stop once in a while and tell yourself that you’ve done a good job so far.

SET HEALTHY BOUNDARIES

A lot of us are taught, from the young age, to put others first. We then grow up and often get lost in serving everyone but ourselves. Setting up healthy boundaries has changed a lot for me, especially the way I make friends. I wouldn’t call myself a people-pleaser exactly, but I love helping others. I love solving problems, coming up with solutions and if I am in a position to help someone in need, I’ll try to go out of my way to make them happy. I never saw anything wrong with the fact that I was usually the one listening, but didn’t do much talking myself. I didn’t see anything wrong with the fact that over the years a lot of people around me got so used to me just “being there” ready to help, that I rarely ever heard “thank you.” At some point, I got lost, and no longer knew where others’ lives ended and mine began.

Saying “no” was just so damn hard for me. I’d say “yes” to things I didn’t feel like doing, meet with people I didn’t feel like meeting, and I’d do a favor after favor. There was a point where I couldn’t really focus on what I wanted, because I was so worried about everyone else. Then, I just kind of decided to be a little selfish. Well…. no. Selfish isn’t the right word, although it’s funny that it’s the first one that came to my mind when writing this. I decided that I’m going to start setting up some boundaries. I started being careful about giving away my energy to others, and it was honestly life-changing.

Setting up healthy boundaries is one of the most important acts of self-love. It’s sort of like drawing a line at a point where you become uncomfortable. You set boundaries because you deserve it, and to be clear, no, it’s not selfish. Think of it this way: when you give yourself the opportunity to be the best version of yourself, you can then take that love and wisdom and spread it around the people you love. If, instead, you spend your life sacrificing yourself, ignoring your own needs, plans and dreams, you might never give yourself a chance to get to that point.

BE GOOD TO YOURSELF

Be good to your body, mind, and soul. A lot of the feelings we have toward ourselves are reflections of our past relationships. If someone close to you offends you enough times or is too hard on you, you eventually start to believe what they say. So, at times when I feel inadequate, or at times when I have a particularly tough day and feel like giving up on everything, I like to imagine myself as that little girl I once was. What would I tell her? Would I say “You’re tired, you should just give up” which is what I used to tell myself all the time, or, would I tell her “You’re strong. You’re doing amazing. Take a break if you need to, but don’t give up. Keep going.”

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Be mindful of your self-talk. Pay attention to what you tell yourself because even if you think you don’t, you are listening. We don’t always pay attention to the way we talk to ourselves, but it’s important to stay mindful. If you notice yourself being self-critical, try to remember that beating yourself up for making a mistake will only make you feel worse. Don’t let self-criticism weigh you down. Accept those feelings and thoughts for what they are, and let them go. Self-love isn’t just about liking yourself, it’s not just about being comfortable in your own skin; it’s also about appreciating yourself, it’s about you stopping once in a while and telling yourself, “You know what? You’re doing a great job!”

Loving yourself isn’t selfish.

It’s not about thinking you’re better than someone else. It is, however, a lot more than just accepting yourself.

What do you love about yourself?

Laurie Hamame

Ball of sunshine. Chronic giggler. A lover of all things sweet potato. An overly friendly, world traveling, body positive warrior. Avid bookworm. Self-proclaimed chef and spiritually Italian. Promotor of daily walks, coffee dates and 30-second dance parties.

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Laurie Hamame

Ball of sunshine. Chronic giggler. A lover of all things sweet potato. An overly friendly, world traveling, body positive warrior. Avid bookworm. Self-proclaimed chef and spiritually Italian. Promotor of daily walks, coffee dates and 30-second dance parties.

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