Love yourself first

Love yourself first

Why, oh why do so many women have low self-esteem?

 

Why stress over what people think of you? Is the stress, burnout and/or anxiety really worth it?

 

I wish I had the answer, so we wouldn’t have these issues anymore. Why? Because I believe every person is beautiful, no matter where you come from.

 

I recently worked on our second edition of the Rock Me Fabulous fashion show and Ultimate Makeover contest in our small community of 5,000 people. I am very proud to have had the chance to be a part of that project with an awesome team. (We'll be posting more about this project in other blogs to come!)

 

When going through the emails, testimonial letters and pictures of contestants who wanted the chance to win an ultimate makeover, there were many times I had tears in my eyes. So many of these women were so very beautiful and unique; I kept thinking to myself, why do they feel not beautiful and confident?

 

It was the hardest thing to do to vote for only one person. I would have chosen all of them—and not because they needed the makeover, but to help them see how beautiful they are.

 

Because all they needed was to love and appreciate their own bodies and selves.

 

I am no expert on this issue and far from a PhD, but here are a few things that I do to stay somewhat happy and feeling great. I hope these tips will help some of you see how special we ALL are, no matter what we look like.

 

1. Love yourself FIRST (so easy to say, but not always easy to do!)

  • Love your body for all its little imperfections. Guess what: even the most beautiful girls you see in magazines have what society considers “imperfections”—which as not imperfections at all, but signs of life! Plus, they make us unique.
  • Consider yourself lucky to have that body and cherish it. You can’t trade it for another one; and anyway, for which other body would you want to change it? Chances are you would find other imperfections in that one too.

 

2. Take care of yourself—physically, emotionally and spiritually

  • Look in the mirror every day and tell yourself you are beautiful and you love yourself. Think that’s crazy? Try it for a week and see.
  • Eat well. This, for me, is the hardest, because I love my chips and chocolate. However, I give myself permission on weekends and the rest of the time I eat well. As a result, I feel better, and more energized.
  • Get pampered. Get your hair done, or take a “spa day” once a month. Think it’s too much? Why? And who says? Where are the rules on “too much pampering” or too much self-love?
  • If going to the spa or hair salon is too expensive, do it at home. Make sure the kids are sleeping, the dogs are fed or that your husband is taking care of it all—or better yet, bring all of the above to your in-laws for a whole day. Take a hot, foamy bath, light up candles, put in earplugs with relaxing music, add a glass of wine with all that…and just breathe. It will take the stress away with the bubbles. I assure you, you’ll feel like a million dollars.
  • Meditation is always a good way to start your day. Focus on what’s important, get grounded, and get in touch with your spiritual side. It takes practice and patience but if I can get around to do it, so can you!

 

3. Prioritize yourself

  • Some people may think “my god, this lady is selfish!” NO WAY!! If you don’t love yourself and take care of yourself, who will? How will you be able to love others around you and care for them? I’m not saying never take care of others: I’m saying don’t forget that you need to be happy and well to take care of other people. If you get ill from stress and aren’t taking care of yourself, how will you be able to take care of the people you love?
  • If you never prioritize yourself, it will catch up to you. And trust me: nothing good comes out of exhaustion.
  • Don’t forget that if you have young kids, will mimic you. If you’re sad, tired, depressed, overworked and not taking care of yourself, they will tend to do the same. If you want your kids to grow up loving themselves and taking good care of themselves, you need to be their role model. Love every bit and pieces of you and show your kids that there is nothing wrong in loving everything about themselves: whether their hair, body, skin colour, eye colour etc. And show them it’s okay to take time to relax, have fun, and enjoy life.
  • “Make yourself a priority once in a while. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary.” This is one of my favourite sayings, which I found on lessonslearnedinlife.com.

 

4. Take time out

  • Yes, do take time out! Take a day off to do absolutely nothing or something you’ve been wanted to do for a long time like roller skating, seeing a movie, having a picnic, reading a good book or a good blog, or whatever else makes you smile.
  • Take some alone time: take a walk every night or as often as possible, just to breathe in some fresh air. It doesn’t have to be an hour long—just enough to get your mind clear. Do not feel guilty about wanting to be alone! It is normal (even if nobody says so).
  • I never understood why lots of men had a snooze after diner or lunch; I would instead get frustrated when they did (why did they get to sleep and relax while the women were doing all the work afterwards?). Well, I understand now. No one forced the women to do everything; the women just assumed they had to. And the men took time off and why not, nothing wrong with that, women should do the same.

 

5. Have fun

  • Have fun and laugh. Even better? Laugh loud! It’s a de-stressor and healthy to let loose once in a while.
  • Be a kid. When we get older, we tend to forget to have fun (what with all the chores and work and bills to pay etc.). But deep down inside, we are still the kid that knew how to play and have fun. Yes, we have responsibilities! But by “having fun,” I don’t mean you should get wasted every night. Instead, put on some music and dance like crazy in your own living room—even the kids will love it! Or play tag outside, play baseball or soccer, count the stars, enjoy a “paint night,” and let your imagination run free. And while you’re letting yourself be a kid again, enjoy that moment.

 

6. Treat yourself once in a while

  • You’ve worked hard. You take care of the kids, the house, the laundry, the groceries, the cooking, the pets, the husband…now you can treat yourself. Why should you feel guilty about buying a new pair of shoes? My husband never had remorse for buying an ATV, a camper for hunting, or a sports car—but when we buy accessories, it’s a big thing!?

 

7. It’s okay to say no

  • If you’re tired and have too much on your plate, it’s absolutely okay to say no to other people. Don’t do something that makes you uncomfortable or unhappy or tired—it’s not worth it! Because if you say “yes, yes, yes” all the time, you’ll end up tired and feeling trapped with all the things you have to do.
  • Instead, make a list of your priorities and forget the rest. Take your time making decisions—and think of how doing something will make you feel. Meanwhile, don’t overpack your schedule; make sure you leave some time open for yourself.
  • And don’t worry about making people angry when you say no. If you say no to a friend and they choose not to talk to you anymore, they probably weren’t such a great friend after all.

 

8. Surround yourself with positivity

  • Choose the people that you hang around with. If you don’t feel good around someone, it’s probably because they’re not good for you. Be careful: some people will suck all energy out of you. They may not be bad people, but it’s probably a good thing not to hang around them every day.
  • Instead, be around people who make you feel good, who make you laugh, who think positively, and who spread good vibes. And stay away as much as possible from gossips! (Coming from a small town and having been a hairdresser, I can tell you it’s not that easy to do so—but don’t feed it! Just ignore the gossip and stay polite.)
  • Meanwhile, remember that it’s okay that not everybody will like you. The important thing is that you like who you are.

 

So why should you listen to me about loving yourself? I’m no expert—but like many of you, I’m an ordinary woman from a small town with big dreams. And one day, I decided it was okay for me to be happy, healthy, and to put myself first once in a while.

 

I wish women everywhere would be good to themselves and to others.

 

It took me 45 years to finally do it—and I hope to help others achieve the same goals of self-acceptance and self-love!

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