Unless you’ve got self-esteem falling out of your butt (and if so, good for you!), it’s safe to say that you’ve probably spent a great chunk of your life thinking about self-improvement. There’s always something we want to fix about ourselves. We could be thinner, kinder, better read. We should watch less Netflix, make more money, start walking to work – the list is endless, because no matter where you are in life, you’re always going to want to change and grow. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that in itself. Growth is great, it’s awesome to want to be a better person.
What’s not awesome is our tendency to beat ourselves up about who we are in the here and now. In Western society, stoicism is pretty highly commended, and notions of self-love and respect are too often painted as narcissistic or indulgent. So in fact, to break the mold and acknowledge that you deserve to be happy is really rather ballsy.
Buddha famously said “You, yourself, as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” And if that’s not enough to convince you, remember that Beyoncé herself once said: “From now on I’m gon’ be my own best friend.”
So how can you learn from the likes of Buddha and Beyoncé? Simple.
Spend More Time Alone
It actually takes quite a bit of self-esteem to really enjoy your own company, so time alone is excellent practice. Every once in a while, carve out one full day for yourself, morning to night, with no other obligations. If you’re already comfortable being alone, do things you can’t do in polite company – read a book cover to cover and eat crumbly cookies in bed. Otherwise, try to do things that you’d normally do with a friend – go for a drink, watch a film with awful reviews (that you’re secretly dying to see), or have a picnic lunch in the park. F**k the idea of being “a loner” – get comfortable with being alone. You’re always going to be guaranteed a good time because you’ll only ever have to do what you want to do.
If You’re Sad, Be Sad!
If a friend came to you miserable and in tears, it’s unlikely that you’d tell them to get over it. So why do that to yourself? If you’re feeling crappy, indulge in a little foetal-position crying before you shake it off and move on. It can be incredibly cathartic.
Listen to Your Other Best Friends
If you’re not quite sure how to love yourself, figure out why other people love you. Take note of their feelings. There’s a reason why people come to you with all of their problems, or why every last one of your parent’s friends seem to know all about your latest news and victories.
Stop Making Yourself Do Sh*t That Makes You Miserable
While this is easier said than done, it’s never impossible. Note what makes you feel anxious or pissed off, and cut it the hell out. If dragging yourself out of bed at 6am to go running makes you want to sob, maybe running isn’t for you. Find a more appealing workout class to replace it, or do a free online course like the 30 Day Yoga Challenge. If you dread going to work, commit to sending out a couple of job applications a day. Thinking about upcoming job interviews and fantasising about handing in your notice can really make the work day about 8x more bearable. There really is a way around everything, even if it take a little while to figure it out.
Practice Radical Self Love
Radical Self Love is a movement founded by the dazzling Gala Darling. The idea is to commit to being happy, devoting yourself entirely to discovering how awesome, lovable and utterly revolutionary you are. The movement is huge, with so many different avenues to explore. If you need a little help, you can enroll in a self-love boot camp or sign up to receive love letters from Gala herself. If you’re ready to take on the task alone, Gala Darling suggests keeping a Radical Self Love Bible to get the ball rolling. This is essentially a journal that you fill with anything and everything that makes you happy, from compliments you received, to pictures you tore out of a magazine, to your everyday attitudes and thoughts on self-love. It may seem a little ‘out there’, but there really is something irresistible about Darling’s glittery attitude and extraordinary dedication to happiness.
Bonus Beyoncé Tip: Take Your Cue from People Who Do Have Self-Esteem Falling Out of Their Butts
As a society, we’re fascinated by people who have the guts to unapologetically adore themselves. Think of Beyoncé Knowles – the woman who when told “You’re Beyoncé,” simply answered “Thank you.”
I mean, wow.
She’s so assured of how mind-blowingly fabulous she is that she sees her own name as a compliment. Imagine how consistently awesome it would be to feel flattered every time someone called you by name.
So try to channel Beyonce. The next time someone says your name, before you answer them, give yourself a moment to excitedly think: “Why yes, thank you, that is me!”
It’s a cliche for a reason: happiness really does start from within. You can’t rightly rely on anyone else to get you there.
So be your own best friend. It’s worth it, because after all: happiness is endgame.
Featured image by Evil Erin.