With the celebration of Valentine’s Day this week, I thought I would continue the love train to talk about something that is very near and dear to my heart: self love. To be honest, I always thought I loved myself. I was independent, I thought I was pretty confident, and I for the most part I liked a lot of qualities about myself. It wasn’t until I really began my blogging journey that I found that perhaps, what I thought was self love, actually wasn’t, and maybe I had some things I needed to work on…
Let me start from the beginning.
When I initially began creating a presence on social media in the form of an Instagram page, I started out with a fitness page, or fitstagram. Initially, it was so fun, I met lots of people, and it helped to hold me accountable (this page can still be found here – the name is currently different, it used to be @wrkoutqueen haha). It wasn’t until a friend that had also created one, began getting more “followers” than me, did I begin to feel inadequate, lousy, and stressed out about my page. I began comparing myself to her and as a result, it ruined all the fun for me and even affected my feelings toward her (#notfair). It was so difficult for me, that I actually ended the page all together.
I should have realized during this moment, that perhaps I had some self work to do, but instead I allowed it to consume me and removed myself from the space. This did help, but only because I was no longer a part of it. I wouldn’t realize until later, when I created my fashion and lifestyle page, what I know now, in that perhaps my jealousy and insecurities were something I needed to work on, instead of blaming others for their success.
You see, once I decided I wanted to become a fashion blogger, these insecurities, inadequacies, and jealousies only got stronger. It wasn’t until I heard Rachel Hollis on a podcast talking about her own jealousies that I began realizing there may be more substance to how I was feeling and that truthfully, this was something I needed to work on.
Here is the thing. This is one example, of many for me, where I felt inadequate. I thought that if I had a lot of followers and people telling me I’m pretty and smart, that I would feel better about myself. The truth though, is that by doing that, I was looking for external validation, and external validation never fills you.
Through this realization, I found that I had a lot of work to do. The first issue? How could I be authentic and real with these women I am hoping to help, if I am expecting them to help me. Second issue? I wasn’t going to survive in becoming a fashion blogger, if I was always looking to others for validation. Third issue? Jealousy is not becoming (a statement my mom would always tell me growing up).
So, here is where you all come in. First, I want you to be really honest with yourself. Do you look for external validation? Are you seeking others’ approval for whether or not you are good enough? We are trained very young that producing perfection is a good thing (hello grades) and through producing perfection (straight As), we are rewarded (good job, Melissa! You got straight As). We then begin tying our worth to those external productions, which then leads us (or me) to where we are today.
Now, that you have gotten honest with yourself. Don’t worry, I struggle with it too. Let’s talk about how I am making small micro changes, to begin loving myself, all of which I have gained from listening and reading other people’s content that have struggled with the EXACT same thing – Rachel Hollis, Ed Mylett, Tony Robbins, Jasmine Star, etc.
1. Realize you have a problem. Realize, you aren’t loving yourself because through doing this you will be able to determine just how much work you may need to do. Once I became aware of the fact that I was looking for external fulfillment, I began noticing just how little self love I had for myself.
2. Now that you are aware of these thoughts and actions, we are going to take a page from Ed Mylett and any time we have a negative thought about ourselves, we are going to scratch it out like you would scratch a CD or DVD. Immediately scratch it, and fill it with a positive one. The more and more positive things you tell yourself, the more and more you will begin to feel it.
3. Morning pages. You all know I love Morning Pages. This is actually from the book, The Artist’s Way, but I first learned of it from Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential. All your “feelings” and inadequacies and worries get written in those three pages. It helps to provide awareness and it helps you to work through those issues.
4. Any time you feel jealous of someone. Instead of being jealous of them, wish them double of what you are jealous of. I learned this one from Rachel Hollis. If you are jealous of someone’s car, wish that they had two of those. In this way you putting your best self forward, and you are ultimately supporting that person in the best way you know how. This is hard to do (sometimes I say it with gritted teeth), but it gets better.
5. Learn what you like. A HUGE one of my problems is that I used to be a follower. I was go with the flow, whatever you want and like, I like to. I think it stems a lot from being the baby of four girls, but also from having a very pleasing personality. I hate to see people upset with me or disappointed, so I go with the flow. This has resulted, however, in one attracting people that take advantage of my personality, but also in that now I am not quite sure what I do like. As a result, any time I realize something I like, I write it down on this notepad. It sounds so silly, but it really has helped me to figure out who I am, which is important if I am going to love myself.
6. Practice Gratitude. Realizing just how much you have, makes you so thankful and fulfilled. We are all truly blessed, we just sometimes have to search for our blessings. I try to write down three things I am grateful for everyday and then I also have begun practicing gratitude for what I seek. In this way I can feel thankful already for what I know is to come, because I will make it happen.
7. Begin building confidence within yourself. One of the biggest pieces I have learned and am actually pretty bad at is keeping promises TO MYSELF. I am externally motivated so if someone else asks me to do something, the pressure of letting them down will make me do it. However, keeping promises to others, does not build confidence within yourself. It is the promises you keep with yourself. Here is an example, if you tell yourself you are going to get up at 5 am everyday, but a lot of mornings you snooze your alarm or you don’t hit that consistently, you are failing to keep the promise with yourself that you decided to do something. When you don’t keep your promise you internally and self-consciously loose faith in yourself because you don’t keep your word. Thus, if you decide to do something, get up at 5 am, you have to do it. By keeping this promise to yourself, you build momentum and you are able to TRUST YOURSELF. Each time you get up at 5am, you are building confidence with yourself and it builds momentum, making you more confident to do other things. I learned this one from Ed Mylett also, and if you all haven’t read any of his material or listened to his podcast, you are missing out. He is extremely motivational and inspirational.
For today, I am going to leave it at these 7 things. It is a lot, but I can promise you, it will make the difference in your life. I have realized exactly how little faith I have in myself despite how hard I work and the persona I put forward, so if you want to work on this together, let’s do it! In fact, if you tell me on my Valentine Insta post (it is a wedding picture) the one promise you are going to keep to yourself to begin building your self-confidence, I will pick a winner and send you a little present in the mail. Let’s grow together my loves. Let’s be the best version of ourselves we can be. Let’s begin building love within ourselves (where it all starts), so we can spread even more love to those we care about and are in our lives.
I hope you had a beautiful Valentine’s Day and Happy Friday!