Every single day, you insult yourself, you replay your awkward moments, you give yourself far less credit than you deserve. You are your own worst enemy — but that needs to change. You need to learn to love yourself. Your mindset isn’t going to switch overnight, but you can take small stepping stones toward accepting yourself every single day.
Starting today, you are going to challenge yourself to be kind to yourself. See if you can handle these tasks for a full twenty-four hours (or longer)!
When you look in the mirror, you are not allowed to complain about anything you see. Instead, you are going to look yourself in the eyes and say, “I am beautiful.” It doesn’t matter if you believe it in the moment. Say it. See how it tastes on your tongue.
Now, you are going to find your absolute FAVORITE picture of yourself. A picture from when you felt your most attractive. A picture from when you felt confident and strong. Change your phone background to that photo. It doesn’t matter if it feels cocky, just do it. Throughout the day, whenever you glance at the screen to look at your reflection or check for a text message from your crush that isn’t coming, the photo will remind you what a beauty you are.
Once you change your background, put together an album on your phone consisting of all the pictures where you felt your most secure. Photos where your eyeliner was perfect, where your hair was silky, where your smile was beaming. You can also throw in pictures where you were in a great mood, where you were with close friends, where you were celebrating an achievement, where you were feeling completely relaxed. Whenever you are upset, flip through those pictures to cheer yourself up.
Now, it’s time to look at pictures of everyone else. Go through your Instagram, keep track of every person who makes you feel bad about yourself, and unfollow them. Only surround yourself with people who uplift you, who inspire you, who make you happy. If you are still following a frenemy from high school or a celeb who keeps posting about weight loss pills that make you feel bad about yourself, unfollow, unfollow, unfollow. You are in control of what content you see.
You are also in (somewhat) control of your own thoughts. You might not be able to stop yourself from thinking mean things about yourself, but you can catch yourself when you start having those thoughts and counter them with a compliment. It doesn’t matter how small the compliment is. If you’re feeling bad about yourself you’re not going to be able to convince yourself you are beautiful and perfect in every way. But maybe you love the shoes you’re rocking. Maybe you love a line of poetry you’ve just written. Maybe you love your eyebrows or your singing voice. Find something, anything, to focus on instead of the negative.
It’s impossible to stop criticizing yourself completely. You can’t suddenly start loving yourself after years of self-hatred, but you can start small. You can take it one step at a time. You can call yourself beautiful today, and maybe tomorrow, you will actually believe it’s the truth.