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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Moving?: 5 Steps to Save Your Sanity

  Positively-Present-Moving

 

While moving can be exciting, it's often pretty stressful. For the past few weeks, I've been helping parents pack for an upcoming move, which included my own mini-move because a lot of things they've been holding on to for me had to find their way into my (tiny!) apartment. Because moving is such a mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing experience (and something most people have to go through at some point!), it seemed like a good time to reflect a little on how to make the most of it. Even if you're not in the midst of moving, check out these tips so you can better prepare for a future move! 

  

STEP 1:
DONATE, DONATE, DONATE

While it's incredibly tempting to throw all your stuff in boxes and worry about it later, the first essential step of moving is decluttering what you have and donating as much of it as you can. Most of us have lots of extra stuff that we don't want, need, or use, and, while it's time-consuming (and sometimes emotionally draining) to get rid of stuff, it's such a great time to do it because then, when you arrive at your new place, you'll only have what you truly need and want. Admittedly, I didn't do the best job of this when I was bringing stuff from my parents' house to my place, and now I'm regretting it because I have a lot of stuff to sort through. Avoid this by asking these questions while packing: Do I really want this? When was the last time I actually looked at / used this? Packing up all the things you no longer need and donating them to a local charity is such a great feeling and eases some of the stress of letting things go. 

 

STEP 2: 
ROUND UP THE RIGHT SUPPLIES 

Unless you're a frequent mover, it might have been awhile since you last moved, and it can be easy to forget all of the packing supplies you might need. If you have a store that specializes in moving (like U-Haul), check out their supplies and ask their employees for advice on how to pack efficiently. They're the experts and they'll likely have all of the supplies you need to make the move as easy as possible. And make sure to get extra supplies if you can. It's incredibly frustrating to be in a packing groove and realize you've run out of the small boxes you need. Most moving supply stores allow returns so it's better to get more and return them rather than run out mid-pack. 

 

STEP 3:
PERUSE TIPS ON PINTEREST

There's a lot to consider when it comes to moving. Everything from all of the addresses you'll need to change to how to pack oddly-shaped items will come up while you're in moving mode, and there's almost no better resource for finding answers to moving questions than Pinterest. Not only are there tons of tips and tricks on there, but there are so many amazing checklists to help you plan out your move and advice you might never have considered that will help your move go even more smoothly (like this tip: take a photo of how all the cords are plugged into your TV so you know how to put it back together the same way!). Pinterest is my go-to for a lot of info and inspiration, but I've found it especially helpful for move-related tips. 

 

STEP 4:
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF 

It's a fact: moving is stressful. And whenever you know you're going to encounter a more-stressful-than-normal experience, it's a good idea to give yourself a little extra love, care, and attention. If possible, amp up whatever self-love practices you have in your life and mark time on your schedule to do the activities that make you feel the most relaxed. During a busy time, like a move, dedicating extra time for self-love activities might not feel super productive, but, trust me, the hour or two you give yourself will help you feel less stressed and make whatever difficulties you encounter easier to conquer. And if you do encounter challenges, try a relaxing breathing technique — breathe in four seconds, hold it for seven, breathe out for eight — to help combat the emotions that arise during a stressful situation. 

 

STEP 5:
MAKE IT YOURS

Moving day is such a stress-filled day, but one of the best things you can do for your emotional state is to do something that makes the new place feel like home. Whether it's hanging up a favorite photo, making up your bed, or arranging your favorite items on a shelf, try to do at least one little thing on your first day to make the place feel like yours. Living in a new spot is always a little unsettling at first, especially when boxes are stacked all around you, so doing even one small thing to make it feel like home can make a big difference in your mindset. It can also serve as a reminder that home isn't about a specific place, but about how you feel when you're in that place. 

 

If you're going through a move, I hope these tips inspire you to feel a little less stressed. It's never an easy thing to do, particularly if you've been settled in one place for awhile and, like me, don't love change, but the more you strive to keep calm, stay centered, and aim to be positive, the easier even the most challenging move will be. 

 

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Wireless Wonderland: Managing Phone Use to Stay Present


Wireless Wonderland
Alice, referring to her experiences in Wonderland, in  Disney's Alice in Wonderland.
Also: me, every time I fall down the internet rabbit hole.  

 

Do ever feel as if you're in a different world when you're on your phone? Do you ever feel as if you've somehow fallen into it, like you've gotten sucked into the alternate reality of what's happening on the screen? 


Recently while watching Disney's Alice in Wonderland, it occurred to me how fascinating — and accurate — it is when people use the term "internet rabbit hole." How often have you gone on your phone to search for something and looked up from the screen a while later, surprised at how much time had passed since you'd unlocked the screen? How often have you said to yourself, "I'll just look at [Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / etc.] for a sec," and then found yourself in a lengthy cycle of app-checking? If you've ever experienced these, you're certainly not alone. Most people with a smartphone have probably had these experiences. 

 

Wondering where you stand in terms of phone addiction/use? Here's a Smartphone Compulsion Test to check out. (I scored 14/15.)

 

One study found that 89% of Americans check their smartphones “at least a few times a day," and 36% admit they’re “constantly checking and using” their phones. For those ages 18-24, that number is closer 50%. Even if you're not in the "constantly checking" group, all you have to do is look around to see that a lot of people are. This is not news, of course; many Americans (and others) are attached to their phones, some of us quite literally addicted. And it's no wonder! These devices provide us with some of the best aspects of life: connection to others, information and up-t0-the-minute news, entertainment and games, external validation, and so much more. It makes sense that we're drawn to such incredible devices. But when they become the focus of our lives, when we spend so much time in them that it's almost as if we're living parallel lives in real life and online, we have to step back and consider what this means for who we are (and who we want to be). 

 

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