People say you have to love yourself, right? But sometimes, life with ourselves is a little like dating: Not only are we not feelin’ the love, we don’t even like ourselves. Well, here are ten ideas that can help set off that spark and get you crushing on the best person in the room: you.
To help you start liking yourself a little more…
1. Show off your best feature. Yep, we’re good at groaning about the worst ones, but what’s the best? Your calves? Your eyebrows? Your hips? Your hair? Whatever you know you’ve got going on, show it the heck off.
2. Decide what battle you would win. I wouldn’t win Jeopardy. Or a marathon. But put me head to head in a who-can-eat-the-most-popcorn battle, and I’ll win. Me and popcorn, we’re a sure thing! Now, I don’t think anyone’s hosting this competition, but I like to picture my trophy in it anyway. Do the same thing. What battle would you win? Smoothest moonwalk? Loudest laugh? Best scrambled eggs? Who-can-lip-sync-to-every-song-on-Men-at-Work’s-Business-as-Usual album? Put your imaginary trophy on your imaginary mantle and shine it up every now and then.
3. Talk back to yourself like a crazy person. By which I mean, have an out loud conversation with yourself about what you don’t like about yourself and why those reasons are ridiculous. If you get down on yourself thinking, “I hate myself for my extra twenty pounds,” that reason might rear itself every time you get dressed. But hearing yourself say that out loud, you can hear why it’s a stupid reason not to like yourself. So tell yourself that out loud. “Self, you are awesome and people like you.” Talk yourself out of your own nonsense. It’s the most non-crazy thing you can do.
4. Give yourself a fair mirror glance. Mirrors are funny things. Yes, they reflect an image of you in that moment, in that light, from that angle. But they’re not a true reflection of what everyone else in life sees when they see you. So give yourself the benefit of seeing yourself the way others do—usually just a quick glance on the sidewalk or sitting a couple of feet away over coffee. I mean, think about it: Those moments you lean into the mirror to analyze your wrinkles or pluck gray hairs from an inch away…who do you see during the day who looks at you that closely? No one. Not even a spouse or partner looks at you as closely as you look at yourself! (Well, my cat Guinness does, but she’s just hoping a piece of tuna drops on my forehead, so that doesn’t count.) So give yourself a realistic reflection in the next mirror you pass: Walk up to it, smile your truest smile for two or three seconds, then turn and go. There. Didn’t you look nice? Admit it: You’d like you. You’re just the kind of person you’d want to run into a sunny afternoon.
5. Have one good hair day. One day, wake up early and really do your hair. If your hair is hopeless in your own hands, pay to get a blow-out for a day for fun. Or, get your hair cut into a style that will give you more good hair days more often. For whatever reason, we are undeniably happier with ourselves when our hair looks good. Give yourself a great hair day and get back in touch with those “Hey, I like me!” feelings.
6. Do something that will make you proud of yourself. My husband and I spend most nights before we go to sleep reading side-by-side in bed. Recently, he’s been picking up the classics like Old Man and the Sea, The Great Gatsby, and Huckleberry Finn, so I’ve been reading them again, too. And you know what? I feel like a million bucks every time I finish one. There’s something about closing the back cover of a book that’s stood the test of time for five decades (and still holds up!) that makes me swell up inside with pride. Mostly because it balances out the time I spend scrolling through Facebook and watching episodes of Bait Car or The Dog Whisperer as if life didn’t have more to offer than this. In between the silly stuff, do something that will make you feel proud of yourself and accomplished. Sew on a button. Paint your bedroom. Plant some rosemary. Learn two chords on the guitar. Give yourself an easy reason to like yourself today.
7. See how your “flaws” can be your strengths. Often, we don’t like some aspect of our personality because we think it’s holding us back. But maybe, in reality, this aspect can also move us forward. If you don’t like that you’re quiet or shy, remember that you’re probably listening and taking in more than the talkers are, and that can be an even more valuable position than someone yapping away. Like your “flaws” for the awesome stuff they can actually give you.
8. Make a list of what you’re good at. And that list can include anything. I’m not talking about skills you get paid for, I’m talking about kitchen accomplishments and party tricks. You know what’s on my list? I’m a superfast reader. I make a delicious gumbo. I can eat a small Dominoes pizza all by myself. I can do a lot of sit-ups. (Mind you, I can’t do a single “boy” push-up, but sit-ups? I’m your girl.) And let’s not forget this one: I can find the positive in absolutely anything. Make this list for yourself. Number a page from one to twenty—heck, from one to fifty, and then start filling it in. Then, look at that list! It’s a reminder that your life isn’t for nothing. You’ve been learning something every single day and you’ve become good at a lot of things—both physically and emotionally—that you should be darn proud of. Just remind yourself.
9. See yourself through your loved ones eyes. Think about the person who loves you more than anyone. Maybe that’s your mom or dad or sibling. Maybe it’s your dog or cat. Maybe it’s your best friend you text with two dozen times daily. Well, for one minute, see yourself the way they do. What do they love about you most? You should be liking yourself for that very same reason.
Those are just nine ways I thought of to start with. Have any of them worked for you? And what else works? Do you have any tricks or mantras or moments when you fall “in like” with yourself all over again? What makes you like you?
Before anyone else can like you—in work, in friendships, in love—you must like you. You have to think you’re the bomb-diggity, good, kind, awesome, proud owner of yourself. Hopefully, some of these ideas will nudge you back there when you need it.