7 Ways To Love Yourself As Much As You Love Beyoncé
Here’s a question – why is it so important for someone else to love you? It makes you feel good, boosts your self-esteem, puts you in a good mood and makes you feel sexy as hell, doesn’t it? Now imagine if you could feel like that all the time without having to rely on anyone else.
There’s a reason the self-love narrative is pretty popular these days: there’s no greater foundation for health and happiness than actually liking yourself. After all, you’re the only person you can count on being around until you’re kicking back at a retirement village, ordering mimosas.
So why are most of us still walking around with the crushing weight of humanity on our shoulders? Because self-love can be a hard gear to switch to. And the steps to achieving self-love are extremely personal and differ for each individual.
You probably won’t roll out of bed one day, madly into yourself, without some effort. So figure out how to love yourself as much as you love Beyoncé by trying out these seven tips (which actually work, by the way):
#1 Quit being shady
Self-love isn’t just about appreciating your physical appearance but it can be pretty common to beat yourself up about being too big, not big enough, too flat or too saggy. The biggest thing I ever changed in my self-love journey was making a vow to stop saying (and thinking) negative things about the way other people look. I considered myself a pretty positive person but I didn’t realise how often I thought things like ‘she shouldn’t be wearing that’ until I started unpicking my thought patterns. When we judge other people, it’s a projection of how we feel about ourselves.
Once I stopped viewing other people with a critical eye, it caused me to let go of a pretty toxic behaviour: comparison. I stopped comparing my body with other people. It was a miracle. Now, when I spot a girl with a cute butt I try to think things like ‘she looks terrific’ rather than ‘I hate her and her perfect ass’. Working on appreciating other people works like magic – the love flows right back to you. If you wouldn’t say it to someone else, why would you say it to yourself?
#2 Add some variety to your visual diet
If you’re only following people who look like Miranda Kerr on Instagram, you’re only making it extra difficult to stop comparing yourself to other people. There’s nothing wrong with Miranda Kerr – she’s gorgeous – but only looking at images of conventionally attractive people probably isn’t going to do a lot for your self-esteem. Carefully curate your Instgagram feed and add some variety to your visual diet by following babes of all sizes, colours and abilities.
Try following Australian plus size model Jess King or plus size style bloggers Nadia Aboulholsn and Gabi Gregg. Check out the transgender babes Devin-Norelle and Laverne Cox, or visit Desi Instagram artist and Rihanna video sensation, Sanam. While you’re on a following spree check out the self-love themed illustrations from Frances Cannon, Amber Ibarreche and the work of poet Rupi Kaur. Appreciate the beauty and strength in diversity.
#3 Declutter your online life
Decluttering where you live tends to mean you get rid of things you no longer use or enjoy; items that are just taking up space. Try doing the same thing with your online life. Are you on a mailing list for a juice fast company that makes you feel bad about yourself? Unsubscribe. Do you follow a news outlet on Twitter because you love-to-hate reading their articles? Unfollow. Does your cousin keep posting racist things on Facebook? Unfriend him, or hide him from your feed if you don’t fancy having an awkward conversation at the next family barbeque.
Engaging with people or brands online that consistently irritate you or make you feel bad about yourself is a losing game. You probably shouldn’t unsubscribe from your phone bill, but removing updates that no longer serve a purpose can make the internet a less stressful place. While you’re at it, quit checking your ex’s Instagram account. And your new squeeze’s ex’s Instagram account.
#4 Save your compliments
Do you emerge from a meeting swirling that one piece of “constructive” feedback around and around in your head? It’s easy to dwell on criticism and even easier to forget the nice things people have said about you. Combat this by saving every compliment you receive.
Set up a ‘Compliments List’ in the Notes app on your phone and a ‘Positive Feedback’ folder in your emails. A girl on the train compliments your haircut? Write it down. Your boss praises the way you handled that presentation? Type it in. Before long, you’ll have a list of the things that other people admire and appreciate about you. Revisit this when you’re feeling low, for a reminder that other people think that you’re ambitious and that you smell good.
#5 Make time for movement
One of the most annoying things about physical activity is that it is an actual fact that it improves your mood. I always thought it was a conspiracy cooked up by the fitness industry, but the endorphins I experience after a sweat session are no joke. As well as being beneficial for both your physical and mental health, exercise can give you a whole new sense of appreciation for your body.
Movement isn’t about the way your body looks – it’s about recognising what your body does (or can do). Pick a realistic goal, but one you’ll still have to sweat for. It could be moving from the slow lane to the medium lane at the pool, learning a dance routine, perfecting your sun salute or deadlifting your bodyweight. If you’re superhuman maybe your physical feat will be running a marathon. Enjoy the regular endorphin blasts as you work towards your goal and bask in the sense of achievement you feel when you get there.
#6 Engage your brain
Appreciating the way your body looks and moves is one thing, but make sure you spend some time nurturing and challenging yourself mentally as well. Brew a pot of tea or coffee and sit down with an inspiring book like Women Who Run with the Wolves, Tiny Beautiful Things or something off this list to boost your career. Podcasts are another way to get your neurons firing.
Don’t dismiss the power of a great discussion with friends, either. You can have stimulating and fulfilling conversations with certain friends, so invite them over, cook a nice meal together and talk ideas. A sense of connection to community is as wholesome as the food you’ll be eating.
#7 Affirm who you really are
Now, this last one is easily dismissed as New Age – but it’s actually been around for a while. First popularised by French psychologist Emile Coué back in the 1920s, affirmations are positive self-statements. If repeated over time, you’ll be convinced the statements are true. It’s how our brain works; repeat something enough, and it eventually becomes reality.
Do you understand the power in this? Good and bad? Our words have immense power, and if you are loading up a machine gun full of negativity and firing off rounds inside your mind all day, you’re wearing yourself down. Build yourself up, instead.
When you’re getting ready each morning, your challenge is to look at yourself in the mirror – in the eye – and state five things you love about yourself. Even if you don’t believe them. This can be extremely confronting, but stick with it, because when you repeat how wonderful you are and all the amazing things you love about yourself, soon enough, you’ll believe.
Ally Garrett is a Sydney-based writer and performer. Her writing has been published on Jezebel, The Wireless and The Guardian. Ally’s work often touches on body positivity, like her recent performance in Force Majeure’s dance-theatre show, Nothing to Lose. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @allygarrett
Lead image: Youtube/Beyonce