think the relationship you have with yourself is the single most important relationship in your entire existence. I’ve spent the better half of my life beating myself up over every single tiny detail of my body and how I look. And then I realized one day, that I’m exhausted. Exhausted from constantly feeling put down. Then I really assessed things, and realized the harshest opinion on me comes from myself, and not others.
If I could give one piece of advice to my younger self, or just anyone in general struggling with body image issues, is to stop seeking love and comfort from others and to first find it in yourself. I truly believe that self love is the most important love language. The relationship you have with yourself should always be top priority. I find too few people have truly ever been ~alone~ and enjoyed it. Find time to be completely on your own and find things you love to do, take note of what makes you happy, how you operate, everything. I promise you will be shocked from what you learn about yourself.
Another piece of advice is to talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend. It’s so easy to stand in the mirror and point out everything you don’t like, but finding something or multiple things you like will open up a door to appreciating yourself, your looks, your shape, your size all of it, in a brand new light. So, when you’re trying on that new outfit standing in front of the mirror and you’re just mere seconds away from pointing out every little thing that’s wrong, ugly or unflattering (in your head) about the outfit, instead, force yourself to point out at least 3 things you like about how you look and feel in it. Even if it doesn’t end up being the outfit you wear, doing this consistently rewires your mental reflex to search for the negative in yourself to instead see the positives.
One thing I started doing consistently when I realized how important having a good relationship with yourself is that I intentionally set aside a large chunk of time for a “me date”. I take these me dates very seriously. A me date will look really different to everyone. It’s just a chunk of time where you essentially date yourself. So one night a week, I spend the evening alone, I make myself whatever I’m craving for dinner, I get dolled up for myself (or cozied up if that’s the mood), and I basically just spend the whole night doing exactly what I want without apology. Everyone’s me date will look different, for some it might be a day on the beach, time alone in a coffee shop with a good book. Whatever it is, it has to be something you truly love doing and feel some sense of comfort from afterwards.
As a woman, I’ve always felt this both internal and external drive to care for or prioritize others first. Because naturally society praises a selfless woman right? Well, I’m officially done with that model of thinking. After several severe bouts of burnout, I realized that even if I wanted to take care of others first, I physically can’t if I’m burnt out from not taking care of myself. I learned the hard way that sometimes to be the selfless person you want to be, you have to first be selfish.
Self love for me encapsulates that age old saying of “if you can’t love yourself who else will?”, and I stand by that phrase. Self love truly goes deeper than just repeating some lovely affirmations to yourself about how much you love yourself. I believe it’s truly honouring the relationship you have with yourself, making it a priority, otherwise how are you even capable of showing up for others if you can’t, or refuse, to first show up for yourself. People will always come and go in your life, but the only constant is YOU. You are the sole person in your life that will always be there for you, don’t be a bad friend to yourself. Take care of yourself the way you take care of everyone else in your life.