Updated: Jan 6, 2020
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS: Yes, it's in all caps on purpose. This is one of the biggest areas of concern for generations today. By all the exposure to "perfect" pictures that show the "perfect" life we can really begin to believe that we are less than in life. Keep in mind for every perfect picture, there are 100 takes to get there. That is the way life is designed. We are not going to have a perfect life, body, image, etc. We learn through our mistakes, and grow. We often find it hard to see the greatness inside ourselves when we are so busy comparing ourselves to others. I will never be like another person, and I have to acknowledge and appreciate that. You can't take someone's social media life as reality. Personally, I choose only to share the "good" so there is a side only those close to me will see.
Choose Joy: You deserve to be happy, so choose to be. I know that sounds easier than what it really is. Life happens and there will be times where we find a void of joy. Even in the toughest times, realize that you deserve to have joy, so find it. When you are able to identify the things that make you happy, focus on those instead of the negative. It's going to take practice if you are not naturally prone to being optimistic. It may be uncomfortable, but try it.
Rest/Relax: If you're like me, those words need some definition. I was taught to keep myself busy, or it was considered laziness. I ask you this one question, if God created the entire universe in a week and took a day to rest, why do we feel we shouldn't? I've heard people say, "I'll be able to rest when I'm dead". That may be very true and you will take yourself to an early grave. You need to rest so your mind, body, and spirit can rejuvenate. Give yourself permission to relax and rest.
Take hold of your thoughts: Your mind can get the better of you if you allow it to. You need to feed your mind positive thoughts. You can read blogs, set up affirmations that you speak over your thoughts daily, read the Bible, build a list of positive reminders so that when your mind wants to drift, remind yourself to bring it back to where it needs to be.
Remind yourself daily you are loved: Most of the time, we don't remind ourselves that we are loved, but there are seasons in our lives that we must remind ourselves that regardless of who is standing with us, Jesus died for us and we are loved. Unconditionally loved. Mistakes made, promises not kept, bad choices, broken relationships, the list goes on won't change His mind on how he feels about you. For God so loved YOU, He sent His only son to die so that you could live. Now that is love. If He can love you, you should be able to see the good in you to love too.
Respect yourself: To better love yourself, you must first have respect for yourself. I'm sure a lot of you are saying well what does that look like exactly, and honestly, it took me a while to realize my value as well. When you treat yourself with respect, others don't feel free to treat you otherwise. Don't allow people to treat you in a manner that is disrespectful or to take advantage of you. If you don't respect yourself, no one else will.
Forgive Freely: I understand that this is going to be very difficult for some of you. I understand even as I type it, that forgiveness isn't something that is naturally easy to do. Why do we even hold grudges, or not forgive, the answer is because someone has mistreated or wronged us in some way. We may even feel justified in holding on to the resentment, bitterness, or grudge. The reality is that by not forgiving someone for the wrong they have done will turn to bitterness in your heart and it is completely unhealthy. Unhealthy mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. By forgiving someone you are not saying that what they did was right, you are saying I won't allow your actions to keep me from being free.
Self Reflection: Allow yourself time to self reflect. By allowing yourself time to look at how you've responded or reacted in various situations, you allow yourself an opportunity to learn. Self reflection is necessary to avoid toxic situations. If we continue to deflect and blame everyone you will not have peace. You will find that you have no circle to support you, because they don't want to be blamed for your decisions, or mishandling of situations. By self reflection, you are allowing yourself to acknowledge your weak areas, and find ways of strengthening them. Self reflection is the greatest growth strategy.
Be Teachable: Allow yourself to not fear failure because you never really fail. As Keith Whaley says, "You win or learn" you never fail. That statement was so freeing for me. While I felt I was teachable, I realized that if I felt I wasn't good at something I wouldn't even really try it. Therefore when life lessons would come, if I didn't feel like I would pass them, then I would strive to move around them, I would run from them. It has been such a freeing experience, to know that I can try anything, and learn from it.
Friendships are Critical: Know who is part of your inner circle and allow yourself to be transparent with them. Allow yourself to experience fun, laughter, love, and mistakes together. Your inner circle should be strong, so that when you need to be reminded of how loved you are, they will help you remember you are of value. We weren't created to do life alone, you need to surround yourself with people that appreciate and value you. his is one way that you will immediately begin to see a difference in how you look at, love, and appreciate yourself. We were all created uniquely, and that was on purpose. One you're able to see the beauty of yourself (inside out), you will begin to love yourself, the way you deserve to be loved.
We were all created uniquely! That was on purpose, so that we would not compare to one another but see the strengths and value in relationship. When you're able to see the greatness you were created with you will begin to love yourself the way you deserve to be loved!