Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Words Will Never Hurt Me
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” – Lucille Ball
I'm going to ask you to do something today that is so damn hard. It may be the hardest thing you'll ever work towards. The biggest challenge you'll ever conquer.
Today I am going to ask you to commit to loving yourself.
My self-love journey didn't actually start with myself. In fact, it started with my wife. We had been dating for about 10 months when one day she asked me, "Would you still find me attractive if I cut my hair off like Ellen DeGeneres?" Without a moment’s hesitation I answered “yes” (because who doesn’t love Ellen?) and then took a second to realize what she had actually asked me. She knew she wanted to cut her hair because she asked in the first place, but she probably wouldn't have done it if I said no. Her happiness and confidence we're riding on my one word answer to a seemingly simple question and that was the most terrifying amount of power I've ever had. In that moment I realized, NO ONE should ever have that much power over your happiness except you.
That’s really what loving yourself is, isn’t it? Waking up every day with enough self-confidence and self-worth to walk down your own path, make your own choices, and find happiness in the life that you are choosing to live every single day without the approval of others. Self-love spans over mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical attributes. It covers personal choices, professional choices, and financial choices. It is who you are choosing to be.
I believe that the first step to self-love is creating a foundation of self-confidence. And I'm not talking about the "she's cocky, what an ego" type of confidence. I'm talking about the good stuff. The walk into a room and only caring how I feel in my own skin, greeting my enemies with a smile, accepting criticism and moving forward, type of stuff.
Ready for some good news? It starts with you.
Most people, myself included, never realize how much weight our words hold until our words hurt someone else. How we can completely change a person’s day, a person’s mood, or a person’s perception of themselves based on our choices and actions. We've all been hurt by others and unfortunately we've all done our fair share of hurting. But imagine instead using our words for good. Share compliments, give feedback, make eye contact, and offer support. By being uplifting and kind we not only build others up, we build ourselves up. Imagine having so much self-worth that the spews of others cause nothing but a small ripple in our calm and self-assured manner. Sounds great, right? Now imagine having so much self-worth that when someone else spews negativity we shower them in positivity. I promise you, nothing feels better than passing on light where only darkness existed before.
Unfortunately, for some people this won’t be enough. The struggle can be deep and treacherous when finding what makes your self-love grow. If you go through your day lifting others and still come home to find that you feel like your own worst enemy, here are some tips:
1) Write positive notes to yourself and read them out loud. Yes, this seems silly and strange and trust me, the first few times I just stared in the mirror thinking “what are you actually doing?” But once you do it once, twice, three times – it starts to feel natural. 10 times? You start to believe the things you are reading. 66 times in a row? It becomes automatic. You AUTOMATICALLY feel these positive affirmations within yourself. Wouldn’t that be nice?
2) Ask other people what their favorite things about you are. AWKWARD. But proven true. The more we hear positive things from others, the more our self-confidence grows. The more we hear positive things from others, the more we look for these positive traits in the people around us. Looking for good in the world? That is not a bad thing.
3) Ask other people what their least favorite things about you are. You’re all thinking “This girl is nuts.” Well yes, but not because of this point. At first, hearing this criticism can be hard, painful, embarrassing. But once we know these “negative” traits, it is impossible not to be aware of them and once we are aware, we seek to improve. Working on ourselves is one of the fastest ways to reach new levels of self-love. Not because we are seeking to change, but because we are seeking to understand and to grow.
4) Fake it ‘til you make it. I can vividly recall many situations where I walked in to the room and was sure I was the most self-conscious person on the planet. Everyone can see all the things that I hate about myself, right? Wrong. Pretend until it’s natural. Once it’s natural believe it’s true. No one knows but you. I promise.
By no means do I have this all figured out. I still struggle some days, as does everyone else. Every day is a work in progress and every day I seek to learn more about myself, handle situations better, and spread a good message into this world. In turn, this has allowed me to wake up knowing that I am worthy of so many things.
What makes your wheels turn? What can you use as motivation to find your self-confidence? What steps will you take to make sure that you are offering the world the best possible version of yourself?
Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words don’t have to hurt us.
Be the light.
"Kiss your own fingertips and hug your own curves. You are made of waves and honey and spicy peppers when it is necessary. You are a goddess, I hope you haven’t forgotten." - Emery Allen