The importance of self-love and how it’s the first step to changing everything.
Myranda’s recent post Stop Fat Shaming: Steps for a Healthy Future about how the comments you make about your own body effects others, reminded me of the Love Yourself Project I did last year. I especially resonated with the effects we have on young people just by speaking about our own bodies. If we talk about our bodies, or body fat, with hate and disgust it will unquestionably have a negative influence on the way children feel about theirs.
We’ve learned to be negative about ourselves and we perpetuate the problem by fostering a casualness around self-hate & body shaming. These are not healthy behaviours. Some people will argue that this leads to normalizing obesity, however, I don’t think that’s the point. Shaming and negativity won’t change anything for the better, it’s self-love and care for each other that will have a lasting positive effect. You can’t shame yourself into becoming healthier, you actually have to take earnest actionable steps towards a healthy mindset and goals.
I started to become healthier a year and a half ago. The first thing I did was start the 30 day Love Yourself Project. I made sure to say nice things to myself to dispel my negative thoughts. If I tried to shame myself or think something awful I would draw attention to it (instead of ignoring it) and force myself to say something positive instead. I was persistent with thoughts and verbalization. Also, I did a lot of research about setting goals, changing habits, and I explored body image issues. And guess what? I GOT BETTER. I stopped having to correct myself so much, I noticed how often women speak poorly about themselves, I started discussing these issues with my friends. By channeling my thinking, I was able to become more positive and supportive of myself, and I strengthened my sense of self-love.
Guess what my stronger self-love led to? First, mindfulness. I realised I wasn’t listening to what my body needs, food, water, bathroom breaks, and even forcing my body to do awkward movements quickly–especially when I was stressed and in a hurry. After I hurt my shoulder, I was forced to pay attention to how I moved it and the position I held it on a regular basis. Then THAT GOT BETTER.
Next, strength. I had been doing pilates for a couple of years already but after I returned from Christmas break I was frustrated to discover I had reverted to beginner-like weakness. Around this same time I got a couple of slightly high readings from the doctor’s office. These two things were enough for me to seek a solution, so I started an at home fitness program in the spring that also includes a nutrition plan (which I was apprehensive of at first because I’ve always ate fairly healthily). A few nutrition tweaks later, and a lot of hard workouts, I look and feel amazing! And I’ve done it for myself, so that makes me feel even more amazing. Self-love has propelled me through all of these steps even when they were really hard and made me feel like I wasn’t making any headway.
I encourage you to try it for yourself. Start with the steps I’ve outlined to do your own Love Yourself Project. It’s 30 days of finding different ways to feel good about who you are, about your body, and accepting yourself for all of your wonderful talents and abilities. Change starts with a couple of baby steps, then a couple more, and next thing you know you’re so far away from where you began you’ll feel like you’re in a different universe.
By the way, these are the dorkiest videos of me but who cares! Try it, you’ve got nothing to loose except your self-hate.
All of my project videos are below in order (YouTube seems to be against chronological order. Sheesh!) Click on any of the 30 #nomakeupselfies to watch. I’d love to hear what you have to say about self-love in the comment section…
Day 1: It’s my birthday!
This is the first day of my social experiment (conducted on yours truly) to improve the negative thoughts I think to myself as I look in the mirror. They say you can change yourself using baby steps. This is a 30 day experiment to change my rituals and my negative inner dialog into self appreciation, acceptance, & confidence instead. Time to breakdown body image barriers!
Day 2: Nice eyes.
Day 2 of a 30 day experiment to change the way I think about myself and my body. An attempt to confront the negative dialog that runs through my head on a daily basis and transform it into something positive and long-lasting. Finding strength through self-love instead of self-loathing.
Day 3: Hair salon story, & ladies that carry a spare tire.
Day 4: Costume designer, & an interview for my brain.
Day 5: Things I find beautiful, sticky notes, & a passionate creative.
Day 6: Searching for self-love after the worst night’s sleep.
Includes good advice about how to look at yourself differently.
Day 7: Dim sum dreams & gratitude galore.
Day 8: Frozen Facebook & comparing yourself to other people.
Day 9: Stomach woes & dental hygiene.
Day 10: Why I’m doing this experiment & being me is good enough.
A 30 day experiment to change my rituals and my negative inner dialog into self-love, appreciation, acceptance, & confidence instead. Breaking down body image barriers one step at a time!
Day 11: #OneBeautifulThought & this morning’s pep talk
Day 12: Lancôme ad & I really do love my age.
Day 13: Preteen insecurities vs. adulthood, your flaws make you unique.
Day 14: Spider veins & killer legs!
Day 15: Cellulite & stretch marks, plus thanks to mom for my beautiful hands and feet!
Day 16: Wear what you want, you instead of I, & just the way you are.
Day 17: The things a creative genius has to put up with. Ha ha.
Day 18: Why do we talk about each other’s size? Also, it’s none of your business.
Day 19: What do real bodies look like? And love your belly rolls & cellulite. Yes, seriously!
Day 20: What if you don’t fit into societal norms of beauty, respect everybody’s bodies, & my nose sticks out.
Day 21: Lovely lips, & this designer has opinions!
Day 22: What happens when you nit pick at the small things, & the let it go pep talk.
Day 23: Importance of a pep talk to yourself, long term goals, & owning it!
Day 24: Relaxing with friends & bubbles, plus celebrate your unicorn tears & sex dimples. I know I will!
Day 25: Freshly showered, channeling Greek sculptures, & almost lost the towel #peepshow!
Day 26: Ways to be nicer to yourself listicle.
A handy list we can all use!
Day 27: Putting on magical makeup, other ways to alter your body, & contemplating authenticity.
Day 28: Bikini ready, & channelling my inner goddess.
Tips on how to get ready for bikini season!
Day 29: Body positivity, inner beauty, & bodies do amazing things!
Day 30: Final thoughts on the last day, what I’ve learned, & why you should do it too!
Feeling strangely sad on the last day, and having to say goodbye to all of you hanging out with me in my bathroom. Haha!
1 Year Later: Big Birthday Special Anniversary Addition!
An special anniversary follow up for The Love Yourself Project. Does Bridget still practice saying nice things to herself and how positive is she a year later?
Big birthday blog post: http://tea.empresschic.com/2017/05/11/love-project-big-birthday/