If I asked you if you love yourself, your answer would probably be “Yes, of course.”
But what if I asked you when the last time was you said something nice to yourself?
The last time you supported yourself, encouraged yourself, cheered yourself on and lifted yourself up?
The last time you actually talked to yourself like you really do love yourself?
That answer might come a little more slowly.
We say we love ourselves because it’s an easy answer. We are independent and enlightened and we live in the modern era of strong women. Loving yourself is expected and encouraged, so we say we do because we think we are supposed to.
But I would venture to guess there are thoughts that come to you during the day that are anything but loving.
There are words you say to yourself that you would never speak to another person.
There are things you say that prove you might not truly love yourself the way you should.
A few years ago I read someone suggest we should talk to ourselves like we do our best friends.
If your best friend were to call you and say she yelled at her kids, ate an entire pint of chocolate ice cream, hasn’t worked out in four days, is exhausted, has a hard time finding motivation, can’t fit in her favorite jeans or tanked her recent presentation, what would you say?
You would comfort her. You would tell her it’s going to be ok. You would encourage her to keep trying and tell her she deserves some time to rest or cry or sleep. You would say it’s ok to mess up sometimes and that we all learn from our mistakes. You would laugh with her about how horrible the presentation was and then share that chocolate ice cream with her, knowing it’s only one night and the salad can wait.
Now think about what would happen if you said those things to yourself.
What if you put away the insults, the shame and the fear? What if you spoke true love and encouragement to yourself?
When the doubts and negative words come, stop them. Speak to yourself like you would your best friend or your child in the same situation. Show yourself some patience and laugh with yourself about your mistakes. Don’t dwell on them and don’t go down the shame spiral. Pick yourself up and move forward.
Only then will you truly love yourself.