When Self-Love Is a Challenge: 4 Tips to Help Promote Self-Esteem & Build a Better Relationship With Yourself by Dr. Teralyn Sell
When was the last time you looked in the mirror and gave yourself a compliment? With the COVID-19 pandemic and all that it has brought still swirling around us, finding positive ways to relate to and encourage yourself can be pretty difficult.
Maybe you gained a few pounds during the pandemic and struggle with accepting your new body image. Maybe you struggle with intrusive or demeaning thoughts about yourself. Or, maybe you just struggle to find the beauty in yourself and your surroundings right now. And that is OK, that pain, stress and change is justified. But, that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to feel strong, beautiful and confident.
July 3, 2021, was National Compliment Your Mirror Day. I hope you stood in front of your mirror and recognized all the things that make you exceptional – the things that make you you.
Self-love is a construct that can be quite challenging. We live in a world of comparison to others through social media campaigns as well as movies and television. This past year was quite unique in that to counteract our loneliness and isolation, use of social media and technology was on the rise. It became our outlet and it also became a big part of our emotional challenges.
It is time now to take a step back and think through the things that we rose above this past year. Give ourselves some credit and be gentle with ourselves, because we have collectively been through a lot. Perhaps it isn’t as much about self-love as it is about gratitude and grace while we begin to heal.
What are some unique mental health challenges this past year has brought people when it comes to self love and self-appreciation? This past year has been quite challenging and taxing to our self-esteem. We didn’t have a lot of chances to build mastery or experience a sense of belonging. Loneliness and isolation were part of daily life. When left to this kind of isolation it can wear on our self-worth and value.
Here are my top four tips on how to talk to ourselves to promote a better relationship with our reflection:
- Focus on your favorite thing. Find something about yourself that you love, or are just OK with, and build from there. For instance, if you enjoy your eye color, focus on that in the mirror and continually tell yourself that you love them.
- Create a positive mantra and declare it. Write something positive about yourself, or even a small goal, right on your bathroom mirror. As you brush your teeth, repeat the mantra. It can be as simple as "I'm OK." Once you feel you have that mastered, create a new one.
- Out with the negative, in with the positive. Whenever you compare yourself to others, or find yourself circling the negative rabbit hole about yourself, engage in thought stopping. This is when you literally catch yourself thinking and then say "STOP!" and rework the negative language or say your positive mantra instead.
- Ditch the mirror altogether and just focus on your thoughts. Honestly, mirrors are tough for many people. They can be quite triggering and demoralizing in some cases. If that is your case, you might want to ditch the mirrors altogether and, instead, focus on keeping a positive mindset through journaling.
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