During the school year, it’s easy to get caught up in all the hustle and bustle. Sometimes I forgot myself. I forgot to acknowledge and tend to myself. It might sound unrealistic, but it’s true. My work came before my well-being. That should never be the case. Not for me or anybody else. Protect your well-being. Thriving academically or occupationally should never hinder your self-love.
Honestly, self-love is difficult for me in general (even without school) and it’s something I struggle with daily. These tips aren’t coming from a person who has it down pact, but from a person who is trying every single day to stay within a healthy and happy mindset.
Here we go:
1. Adjust your Aperture
In photography, the depth of field is the distance between the nearest and the furthest objects in focus. If you’re looking to focus on yourself for a while and blur out the background, adjust your aperture to a 3.5 f/stop (or any other wide f/stop). Unlike an aperture set at 18 f/stop, you’ll have fewer background aspects to focus on. It’s like taking a step back from all the commotion and refocusing.
Look at yourself. Don’t look at Instagram where all the social media influencers seem to have perfect lives with perfect skin and hair and everything else. There’s so much that goes on behind social media posts that viewers are uninformed of. Your self-worth does not equate to how easily you can replicate an Instagrammer’s lifestyle (followers included). Don’t compare yourself to the few tidbits you view of another person’s life. Work on improving yourself. Don’t do it impress your followers, but to better yourself.
I’m not saying to focus on yourself all the time. No one should be that egotistical. Just don’t forget that it’s not a competition between you and everyone else. Your past self is the only person you’re competing against. Always work to be and do better than you did yesterday.
2. Power in Words
Words are vital to me, and I believe sometimes words guide actions, rather than the infamous “actions speak louder than words.” It depends on the situation, but often times, words are everything. Be careful with how you speak and think about yourself. Looking into the mirror and saying “wow, I look terrible today” is not helpful!! Trust me, I’ve done it. All that’ll do is put you into a sulky, self-deprecating mood.
The best thing to do is say “hey, you’re doing your best” or “you look fantastic even with that pesky pimple.” The more you do it, the sooner it becomes a habit to uplift yourself rather than beat yourself up because you’re not “perfect” or you don’t appear to be “perfect.” Don’t sweat it. Accept it. Love it.
Share some loving words with your reflection. Strike a cute, powerful pose, and tackle the day.
3. Love Others
Let your love for others be an example of how to love yourself. It’s simple, but it helps. You can learn a lot from the way you love others and the way they reciprocate it.
Over the past few years, I’ve opened myself up to loving others more. I used to say “love is a myth” all the time. No wonder I couldn’t love myself, I didn’t even try. Some people my age say that you can’t love another person unless you don’t love yourself, but that’s not true. Maybe you have to love other people first. By loving others we learn that much like everyone else, we’re also human and worthy of love. Nobody is perfect (and nobody should feel pressured to be), and sometimes we have to step outside of ourselves to see that.
Let love in, don’t be afraid (especially not of yourself).
4. Be Patient & Consistent
Trust. The. Process. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Be patient with yourself the same way you are with the people you love. Of course, there will be times when it’s easier to hate than it is to love, but don’t give into that. You’re human. Keep trying because things take time. The only way to fail at self-love is to give up on yourself. Be patient. Be consistent. Most of all, be loving.
To accompany my four tips I decided to include four self-loving jams that I enjoy.
- Feeling Good – Nina Simone
- Donchano – Steve Lacy
- Kehlani – Be Alright
- Everything is Everything – Lauryn Hill
Happy loving & Happy listening