Go Ahead And Love Yourself This Valentine's Day
I recently read a quote that really made me think...
"You cannot truly love another until you know how to love yourself."
Seems straight forward doesn't it? But how on earth do you love yourself?
Most people with eating disorders have huge difficulties with the idea of loving ourselves and that's what has led us down this tricky path. We often don't deem ourselves worthy of love, care and nourishment because we don't feel comfortable in our own skin.
We might punish ourselves for not being perfect, not looking a certain way or sticking to the strict rules that we set. We may also spend so much time fixating on what others think about us that we let their opinions define who we are.
So how do we begin to learn to value ourselves and begin the journey to self-love? Here are my top tips to help boost our and worth.
1. Write down each time someone pays you a compliment
Even if we struggle to accept them, we all get paid compliments by those around us at one time or another. They might be about our character, our appearance or something that we did which others noticed and wanted to acknowledge and appreciate.
When this happens, I try to take a note of it so that I can remember them all when I'm feeling low. I have a book full of the nice comments I've received over the years and I also screenshot any complimentary messages I get on my phone to go back over and give me a boost. It really helps me to realise my true worth to others and I very much recommend it - after all they can't all be wrong!
2. Ask a friend or relative to name all of your qualities
That may sound like a slightly odd (and potentially risky) thing to do but I can almost guarantee you it will lead to some very positive outcomes.
The first step is identifying a friend you trust or a relative you're close enough to that you feel able to ask. Give them time to think about it and preferably ask them to send it to you digitally or write it down so that you can keep it and refer to it whenever needed. I bet you'll be surprised how much people think of you and how many great traits they can come up with.
3. Allow yourself to indulge in treats or hobbies
We often deny ourselves the time and opportunity to engage in things we enjoy. It might be because we have busy lives and demanding jobs, or perhaps we spend so much time helping others we forget to look after ourselves.
It doesn't matter if it's twenty minutes or half a day per week, but it's so important to allow ourselves the time to enjoy something that makes us feel good. Personally, I love colouring, writing and walking so I try and walk around the park every day, colour in the evenings and write blogs and articles at weekends. Nothing major - but a few pleasant activities to distract myself from the real world for a short while and boost my endorphins.
4. Think of all the ways you've benefitted others
Have you ever seen the film It's A Wonderful Life? I won't spoil the plot, but in short it's about a man who is down on his luck in many aspects of his life and it's not until he's forced to realise how many people's lives he's benefitted that he realises his true self-worth.
Have you ever stopped to consider your own self-worth? Or how much you've enriched the lives of your family and friends by being you, and being there for them when they needed you?
Think of all the times you've been thanked for doing something or appreciated for your kindness. I bet you can think of examples that hopefully make you see how truly valued you are and the impact you have on others around you. As I said before, they can't all be wrong...
Georgie is a communications specialist currently working for a mental health organisation and volunteering for a charity helping to run community support groups. She has recently embarked on accessing treatment for an eating disorder and anxiety, documenting her journey on her personal blog and Instagram account @start.over_my.darling.
I hope some of these ideas strike a chord with you and make you realise just how valuable you are. It's all about focusing on the positive and strengthening the belief that we are all great people in our unique, special ways.
Well done, congratulations on being so treasured and in the famous words of Justin Bieber, "you should go and love yourself...".