Struggling with Self-Love? : 10 Must-Read Reminders


Positively-Present-Self-Relationship

 

To live your most positive and present life, it's essential that you love who you are. But loving who you are can be quite a challenge at times. Truly conquering self-love is incredibly complex. It’s not just about positive affirmations or breaking up with that guy who treats you like garbage (though those are great starts!). It’s about investigating and assessing every aspect of your life — and continuing to do it all the time, for the rest of your life.

When it comes to self-love, we're all works in progress, so I've rounded up some of my favorite reminders about self-love to keep in mind. If you're struggling to embrace who you are, check these out for some inspiration (or bookmark them for a time you might need them!). 

 

YOUR FEELINGS, NO MATTER WHAT THE REASON, IS VALID. 

You might have it pretty good (and if you're alive and reading this, you probably have it better than a lot of people), but just because you're not suffering from the worst thing in the world doesn't mean that your pain isn't valid. Loving yourself means allowing yourself to experience pain without judging yourself. Sure, other people might have it worse, but self-love means giving yourself permission to feel what you feel. (This doesn't mean you should necessarily act on these feelings, but allowing yourself to feel them is an act of self-love). 

 

YOU WILL MAKE BAD CHOICES, AND THAT'S OKAY. 

We all make good choices and bad choices — that's just part of life. Refusing to accept the bad choices you've made (either through denial or by beating yourself for having made them) isn't a great way to show yourself love. Acceptance of yourself and others is one of the most vital aspects of self-love, and that acceptance includes embrace both the good and the bad choices you've made. The point of making a bad decision isn't to serve as a painful reminder you return to again and again; it's an opportunity to learn and make more positive choices in the future. 

 

YOU CAN CHOOSE TO FOCUS ON BEST-CASE SCENARIOS. 

When was the last time you imagined the best thing that could happen? Most of us imagine worst-case scenarios, which is totally human nature. We imagine these things so we can prepare for (and hopefully avoid!) them. But what would it be like if you chose to focus on best-case scenarios? Would you really be less prepared or is that just something you tell yourself? At the very least, you can choose to focus on the best-case scenario in addition to the worst-case possibilities. Your attitude, whether it's positive or negative, impacts the way you think and act, and embracing optimism is a self-loving act.

 

YOU'LL NEVER 100% KNOW WHAT OTHERS THINK.

One thing that all-too-often gets in the way of self-love is making assumptions about what other people are thinking. Even if you know someone else extremely well, you can never know with 100% certainty what s/he is thinking, and making assumptions about what others' intentions are can actually sabotage your own self-love. Assumptions get in the way of relationships with others and those relationships impact the one you have with yourself. Whenever you find yourself assuming what others are thinking, remind yourself that you only know for sure what's in your own head. Creating clear communication with others will make it easier for you to love yourself.  

 

YOUR ANGER IS A SIGN OF FEAR OR PAIN. 

Everyone gets angry from time to time, and that's perfectly okay (see #1!), but it's so important to keep in mind that your anger stems from a place of fear or pain. Anger is a symptom, not a disease. Knowing this can help you better understand what you're truly feeling. Your knee-jerk reaction if you feel angry is probably to think, "I'm mad!" but a great way to show yourself self-love is to dig a little deeper and find out where that anger stems from. When you do this, you not only gain a better understanding of the current issue you're dealing with, but you also gain a better understanding of yourself. 

 

YOU DON'T HAVE TO ANTICIPATE WHAT WILL HAPPEN. 

Did you know that you can just let things happen? You don't have to analyze everything or worry about what's coming next or anticipate what other people are going to do. In fact, spending too much time prepping for the future (or dwelling on the past...) stands in opposition to self-love. Being present is a challenge, but when you give yourself the freedom to stay in the moment, you're showing yourself a true kindness. It's not easy to shut down a worrying mind, but keep in mind: it's not your job to imagine the future. You deserve to be here, and enjoying, now.  

 

YOU AREN'T OBLIGATED TO LIKE EVERYONE. 

This probably isn't news to you, but you're not going to like everyone (and not everyone is going to like you). Once you embrace that fact, you release yourself from a lot of unnecessary stress and heartache. So many people spend time trying to like or be liked, instead of realizing that not everyone is meant to be linked to one another. This isn't to say, of course, that you shouldn't treat everyone with kindness and respect, but doing so doesn't mean you have to be BFF with every person you meet. Show yourself self-love by reserving your time and energy for those you care about most. 

 

YOU'RE ALLOWED TO SAY "NO" WITHOUT AN EXCUSE. 

"No" isn't a four letter word, contrary to what many people think. Learning that is one of the absolute best acts of self-love. We've all given only so much time here on Earth, and you reserve the right to use that time how you see fit. Every time you say yes to something, you're saying no to something else. And the same goes for the reverse. Every time you say no to something you don't want to do (particularly if it's something that's not good for you!), you're saying yes to yourself. Be mindful of when (and why!) you say yes, and use that self-awareness to make more self-loving choices. 

 

YOU CAN'T RUN FOREVER FROM WHAT HURTS. 

If you've ever tried to run from your pain, you're probably well aware that this is true. You might be able to run, but if you don't deal with your pain, heartbreak, frustration, anger, or whatever other emotion you're experiencing, it'll come back later (and often in an unexpected and unpleasant way). Dealing with what hurts is one of the most difficult aspects of being human, but facing difficulties head-on is an excellent way to treat yourself with the love you deserve. It'll be painful, for sure, but avoiding it will only amplify the pain. 

 

YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF THE STORY YOU TELL YOURSELF. 

You can't control everything that happens to you, but you can control the story you tell yourself about what happens. Everything we experience gets filtered through our minds into a story we tell ourselves. The story is often more important than the actual experience, because it stays with us and impacts future experiences. Our minds are imperfect — memories can be inaccurate, emotions can be heightened, and the facts can be distorted — but we can choose to make the most of whatever information we have, taking lessons from the hard times and embracing the good times. Choosing the story you tell yourself is one of the ways you can show yourself love.  

 

Self-love doesn't always come easy, no matter how much you strive to make it a priority in your life. If you need some additional inspiration or motivation, check out some of the resources below! 

 

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Lettering Life Lessons : Being Open-Minded


Positively Present Open Mind

 

As often as I can, I spend time drawing and lettering on my iPad, thinking all the while about what the words mean and how I might effectively share them with you. This week I decided to share a little bit of that process and, if you like it, I'll keep it up as a new segment called Lettering + Lessons! 

The Lettering Life Lessons concept is simple: I'll pick a quote, then I'll chat about it in more detail while drawing and hand-lettering it. This is the first time I've tried this so I have to admit: it isn't perfect. For one, I forgot to record the audio for a big huge chunk of it (scroll to the last couple minutes of the video if you want to see the audio-free drawing process). For another, I'm still getting the hang of working and talking so, at times, it's a little all over the place. And it's definitely too long, but I kind of like the stream-of-consciousness vibe so I decided to forgo the editing and just see what you guys think! 

Here's the video, where you'll see the process behind the drawing above, accompanied by a (slightly rambling) analysis of the quote and a discussion about what being open-minded means to me (and how we can all benefit from it!).  

 


Can't see the video? Click here to watch on YouTube

 

I'd love to hear what you think about this Lettering Life Lessons concept! If you like it, give the video a thumbs up on YouTube or let me know in the comments section below. And if you have any suggestions for what you'd like to see in the future — more specifics on the lettering? more insights on the quote and less detail about the lettering process? quotes or phrases you'd like me to letter? — I'd love the feedback! :)

  

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How to Distance Yourself from Negativity

  No Negativity - Positively Present

If you're reading this, you're probably striving to live a positive, present life — and you probably know just how hard that can be at times. Life is filled with negative situations, people, and internal battles, which makes staying positive a tad challenging sometimes (and by "sometimes" I mean "most of the time").

As I posted last week (here on Instagram — didn't write it, but I 100% support it), "The first step to getting what you want is having the courage to walk away from what you don't." And that most certainly applies to creating more positivity in your life. If you want more positivity, you've got to make room for it — and that means getting rid of the negative. It's no easy task, but here are some of the best tips and tricks for getting rid of the negative so you can make room for the positive. (And, I know well from experience, the more space you make for positive things, the more positive things will find their way to you!)

 

  1. AVOID NEGATIVE PEOPLE (OBVI)

    This sounds so obvious, but really, how often do you really ask yourself, "Is this person a positive or a negative influence?" Most of us kind of just go with the flow when it comes to who we surround ourselves with, but, in many cases, we have a choice about who we interact with, and we don't always avoid the negative. Pay attention to how people make you feel, and if you determine someone is a negative influence (you'll know because you feel drained, down, or just icky after hanging out with them), stop hanging out with him/her or, if that's not an option, do what you can to limit the amount of interactions. 


  2. SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES + KEEP THEM

    You might have seen the memo Steve Harvey wrote to his staff circulating (and being mocked), but it's a pretty amazing example of someone setting boundaries and making them very clear to those around them. We're all different and have different ideas of what our boundaries should be, but one of the best ways to avoid negative interactions is to know what your boundaries are (especially with other people!), communicate those boundaries clearly, and maintain those boundaries ruthlessly. This is hard (even if you're good at it), but it's one the best ways to limit negativity (and practice self-love, too!).


  3. LOOK FOR SOLUTIONS, NOT PROBLEMS

    We all have problems — that's just life. But what most of us don't do is redirect our attention from the problems to the potential solutions. As humans, we're often on the lookout for what could go wrong (it's our instinct, trying to help us avoid bad situations), but if you want to cut back on negativity, try shifting your focus from what's going wrong to how you might be able to make it right. Yes, it's easier to complain, but when did whining ever get you anywhere? The more you treat problems like challenges you have the opportunity to solve, the more likely you'll be to actually find solutions (and limit negativity!). 


  4. PRACTICE NOT TAKING IT PERSONALLY

    So, so many issues in relationships (and maybe in the world?) could be avoided if people strived not to take things personally. It's difficult not to do this (after all, we're with ourselves all the time and, even if you don't realize it, your world really does revolve around you and what you're doing, feeling and thinking), but you can cut down on negativity by not taking what others say and do personally. More often than not, another person's attitude, words, and actions have way more to do with him or her than they do with you, and realizing that will make it easier not to be offended, thus cutting down on negative emotions!


  5. RELEASE THE NEED FOR CONTROL

    This probably comes as no surprise, but you can't control what other people do and feel (much as you might want to!). Realizing this (and keeping it in mind all the time!) will greatly reduce the amount of frustration you feel. So much angst comes from trying to make others different than they are, and acceptance is critical for positive relationships (and for cutting down on your own stress!). This doesn't apply only to people, either. There are many things we cannot control in life, and accepting what is is the best way to create more inner calm. 


  6. PRIORITIZE SELF-LOVE

    Self-love has been a huge focus for me this year, and, as a result of prioritizing it, I've noticed a number of positive changes in my life. Self-love is about respecting, caring for, and taking care of yourself. When you make this a priority, you're going to be able to more easily make choices that are best for you. Whenever you face a new decision, ask yourself, "What would be the most self-loving choice?" then choose that! The more you do this, the less time you'll have to waste on anything (or any person!) that brings you down. 


  7. KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE

    To us, our lives seem so big and important, but remember: you're just a tiny little creature on a little rock in a gigantic galaxy in a stunningly huge universe. This isn't meant to make you feel insignificant (you aren't!), but it's meant to remind you that, in the grand scheme of things (even within your own life!), most situations are pretty small. Keeping perspective (and focusing on how lucky you are to have at least some things going right in your life) is a great way to manage stress, and less stress = less negativity. 


  8. PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU SAY

    How much of what you say is negative? How much is positive? We often get in patterns and are so used to doing (or saying!) something a certain way that we just keep doing it that way. But, in order to cut back on negative thinking and speaking, you've got to realize you're doing it! Pay attention to how you're describing things, and consider if you might be able to change that. For example, saying, "Ugh, Mondays!" isn't helping you make the most of your Monday. Sure, it might not be your favorite day of the week, but framing it from a negative perspective is going to keep it negative. 


  9. CHOOSE YOUR MEDIA WISELY

    Where you spend your time is going to have a big impact on your thinking. How much of what you consume on TV, via social media, in films and online is actually positive? How much of it is making you more optimistic and engaged with your life? How much of it makes you feel sad or stressed or overwhelmed? This isn't to say you should never watch or read anything upsetting, but if you want to have a more positive life, you need balance, and you need to keep in mind that you have a choice. Take note of how certain shows / sites / etc. make you feel and actively choose whether or not you want to spend time engaging with them. 


  10. CONSIDER IF "I CAN'T..." IS TRUE

    Many of us get quite set in our ways (especially as we get older!), and it's all too easy to say, "I can't..." Sure, there might be things you actually cannot do, but it's way more likely that "I can't" is actually "I don't want to" or "I don't yet know how to." Saying you can't do something not only limits you (if you think you can't, you probably won't even try), but it's also a pretty negative mindset to put yourself in (regardless of whether or not you actually do the thing). So, instead of saying "can't" consider what the truth is: that you don't want to, don't yet know how, don't feel up to it, etc. Doing so will help cultivate more internal positivity. 


  11. SEEK OUT POSITIVE INSPIRATION

    There's a lot of negativity out there, but there's also a lot of positivity, too. If you want to cut back on negativity in your life, fill up your time with positive inspiration. Seek out people, activities, websites, etc. that add positivity to your life and inspire you. We all struggle with negative feelings and thoughts, and it can make a big difference if you have some go-to resources to check out when you're having a down day. (Or a go-to friend you can call for a positive pick-me-up!) Try to incorporate something inspiring into every day, and you'll be giving yourself a daily boost of positivity! 


These tips are the best place to get started when it comes to distancing yourself from negativity, but it's important to remember that choosing positivity isn't easy (especially if, like me, it doesn't come naturally to you!). If you find yourself struggling to stay positive, know that you're not alone and remind yourself that it takes practice. And the more negativity you remove from your life, the more room you'll have for practicing that positivity! 

  

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