I have many fabulous female friends – successful in their careers, funny, ambitious, and beautiful. But there seems to be this huge disconnect between the way I see them, and the way they see themselves. I think perhaps our generation of fierce females is losing touch with the notion of “self-love”.
The relationship you have with yourself is literally the most important relationship you will ever have. It’s certainly the longest, and the one that will have the biggest influence in creating the type of life you want to live. You know how they say fit your own life mask before helping someone else? That’s a real thing. Life is short, and we cannot keep giving to other people without acknowledging what we should be taking for ourselves.
So, here’s some advice on how to do just that.
Be your own bestie
Stop being so mean to yourself. Every time you speak to yourself in your head, think about your tone and words. Would you ever say that to your best friend? And if you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, why on earth are you saying it to yourself? Allow yourself the same forgiveness, respect and patience that you give to your best friends. Start seeing yourself as someone to be supported and uplifted – you need a cheerleader, but who says they have to be on the outside?
It’s also something to do with focusing on the negatives. A positive comment provides a temporary buzz, but a negative one can stick for days, weeks, months or years – generally because it keeps repeating itself in our heads. But imagine stopping that negative self-talk. Next time you look in the mirror, instead of saying negative things, think of three positives about yourself. Or alternatively, just say “fuck yes, I look like Beyoncé” and repeat this mantra every day.
Get to know you
What brings you true satisfaction and joy? Think about it and then do it. We can feel empty fatigue from the repetitiveness of activities that don’t satisfy us, or contented exhaustion from doing something in line with our values. Invest your time in activities or endeavours that you actually care about.
What you do today is important – it’s costing you a day of your life. So, if you hate your job – quit. If you’re unhappy in a relationship – leave. We literally only get one shot at this, don’t waste your time. It can be easy to get caught up in a cycle of “satisfactory” and completely miss out on “extraordinary”. Plus – what’s the worst thing that could happen? Honestly, what is it? You might have to eat baked beans for two months or live on your friend’s sofa? If you’re unhappy with the current outputs, there has to be a shift with the current inputs. You can’t make a cheesecake out of vegetables (no, you actually can’t).
Remove the perception of perfection
Perhaps it’s the pressure of expectation that we have to uphold as modern women and the ongoing pressure to “have it all” – whatever that actually means or represents. Social media undoubtedly plays a role in painting expectations of what “success” looks like and creating a melting pot of comparison and competition.
But never mould yourself to someone else’s idea of a “perfect life”. Make up your own mind about what this involves and then make it happen. Focus on becoming the best version of “you” in line with what you value.
And on that note, it’s time to forget about keeping everyone else happy. People will come and go, and guaranteed you won’t be sitting on your deathbed saying “I’m so glad I didn’t upset Karen from accounting by applying for her promotion 70 years ago”. Focus on what you want and your true friends will understand. And if not, well….
Ditch the bitch
Get rid of those people that bring you down. There’s something to be said for the idea of “quantity over quality” when it comes to friends. Don’t waste time on people who wouldn’t give the same to you in return. We’re old enough to get over this ridiculous mentality of being friends with “the right people”. Be friends with people who make you feel good – and tell the others to fuck off (maybe not literally, but this is situation dependent).
Try not to rely solely on others to make you happy. Hedging your happiness on an event that hasn’t happened yet, like getting a boyfriend or a league of Instagram followers, is a recipe for disaster. Other people should never be the foundation of your happiness, but rather the cherry on top.
Live in the moment
Don’t be a bystander in your own life. Focus on making your story worthy of a biography, rather than spending your time reading everyone else’s. Stop constantly thinking about the things that should be different, and instead appreciate everything that you currently have. Life will pass you by, and you’ll wonder why you ever worried about the muffin top from your jeans.
Always be present. Engage with those around you and give your full attention to every activity. So often these days we’re viewing our lives through the lens of a camera and dividing our attention between two realities. Decide which will make you genuinely happy, and focus on this (hint: it’s not your Instagram feed).
Again, life is short. It’s a trap to assume we will get a long one, as this is not always the case. However, “long” does not predict “full”. It’s not important how many days we have lived, but rather the number of hours we have lived present in the moment, appreciative, engaged, listening, looking and feeling.
People, places, events, hours and days will all come and go. There is literally only one constant throughout all of this – and that’s you.
So girl, it’s high time you realised just how fucking wonderful you are.
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