It’s taken 26 long years for me to get to this point; a point where I’m almost completely happy and comfortable with myself and who I am. It’s been a difficult road with a lot of bumps along the way, but I’ve never been so relieved to be in reach of my final destination.
I’M KINDER TO MY BODY. I used to be a complete and utter jerk to myself. I used to go out multiple nights per week at college, hammer my body with alcohol and then force myself to get up the next day for a 9 a.m. class. I’d eat at ridiculous times, nap in the afternoons, and get up and do it all again. Then I expected my mind to still be able to perform and churn out several assignments every given week. After college, not much changed. I pushed my body to the limit and wasn’t particularly nice to it but now I know better and I do better.
I’VE STOPPED COMPARING MYSELF TO OTHERS. There have been so many times in my life where I’ve put myself down for not being pretty enough, smart enough, etc. I’ve compared myself to other people and made myself feel completely unworthy as a human being, but now I realize that was all BS. I’m more than worthy. We all have things about ourselves that are special and make us unique. We need to stop wishing we had things that other people have got and just celebrate who we are, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
I CHALLENGE ANY HATEFUL SELF-TALK. That negative voice is still there, I simply don’t listen to it anymore; or, rather, I listen but I challenge everything it says. No, I’m not fat—I’ve just lost a bit of tone from not exercising as much but I’ll get it back. No, I’m not an idiot for messing up that presentation—everybody gets nervous and trips up over their words, but who really cares? Negative thoughts don’t bring me down anymore.
I REFUSE TO BE AROUND NEGATIVE PEOPLE. You know, the types of people who never have anything nice to say about anyone or anything. When you meet up with them, it’s all thunderstorms and rain clouds. Ugh. Life’s too short to be anything but positive. Sure, we all have tough times and they suck but we can’t dwell on them or else we’d all be miserable. I’ve learned over the years not to surround myself with these types of people—and I’ve been so much happier as a result.
I’VE CUT TOXIC FRIENDSHIPS FROM MY LIFE. To truly be able to fall in love with yourself, you have to surround yourself with people who love and support you no matter what. This includes friends who become your own personal cheerleaders as well as family members. Eliminate all of the so-called friends who like to put you down all the time, only want to spend time with you when it’s convenient for them, or who don’t really listen to what you say when you’re speaking to them—they just wait for their turn to talk. I’ve had a lot of these types of friends come and go in my life. Unfortunately, I’ve had to make a conscious effort to cut them out for the sake of my own happiness.
I STAY AWAY FROM PLAYERS. I used to let guys treat me like absolute crap. I used to let them do what they wanted to do, walk all over me, pick me up and drop me—you name it, they’ve done it. At the end of the day, I allowed them to treat me this way so I only had myself to blame. Now, I refuse to be with anyone who’s nothing short of amazing to me because I deserve it.
I DO ME. A key lesson I’ve learned recently is that it’s absolutely okay to focus on yourself sometimes. Sure, be a helping hand to your friends, family and loved ones when they need you but make sure you do you too. Work hard for that promotion, get that house you’ve always wanted and take that soul-searching trip around the world. These days, I never sacrifice my own wants and needs for the sake of someone else. I do everything according to what’s good for me. Selfish? Not at all. I want to lead the best life I can.
I INDULGE IN SELF-CARE NIGHTS. Leading the best life I can lead includes having some self-care nights. You know, the nights where you have a long, hot bubble bath, get into your pajamas at 6 p.m. and binge watch Netflix until bed time with a cup of tea and some chocolate. We all need nights like these in order to help us rest up and recharge the old batteries. There’s no shame in it.
I TELL MYSELF I’M A BADASS BITCH. Let’s face it—nobody else is going to tell me how awesome I am. Well, maybe my friends and family, but not on a daily basis. As well as having a reliable support system, it’s so important to big yourself up and be your own cheerleader. You’ve got to make yourself strong. You’ve got to be able to carry yourself through the bad times as well as the good. Knowing I can gives me such a sense of pride, I can’t even tell you.
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