I’ve had those days when I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. I didn’t dress up or eat healthily or take care of myself. I felt ugly, and I hated going out because, in my head, everyone else looked so good except me.
My relationship fell apart because it’s hard to love someone else when you don’t even love yourself. It’s a crazy phase because nothing seems good enough for you, no matter how “well” you are doing in life. After all, you always expect yourself to do more and more. Otherwise, you don’t see yourself as valuable.
An article in Psychology Today stated that,
“Self-hatred encompasses continual feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and low self-esteem. People may constantly compare themselves to others, perceive only the negative, ignore the positive, and believe that they will never be “good enough.”
This makes sense because it’s hard to see yourself lovable or worthy of love if you have a hard time believing that you are good enough for the person you love. It’s such an ongoing battle, and unless if you work on it seriously, it will never go away.
Over the past two years, I’ve learned to reduce the number of times I criticize myself by doing these five small things. They work for me, and hopefully, if you give it a try, it’ll make at least a slight difference in how you see yourself.
1. Try brain dump journaling.
When you feel like nothing works out in your life, you tend to criticize yourself a lot. But all of these mainly happen in your head. To get out of it, you need to write them down and let it all out. From then on, you can see that life isn’t as bad as you thought in your head.
Brain dump journaling has been one of my best ways to cope up with stress and anxiety. Bad days at work, arguments with my partner, small fights with my brother; I write all of them. My mind always ends up so much clearer, and I feel better.
How to do it:
Set up at least 15 minutes per day. I highly recommend doing it after a long day so you’ll wake up with a fresh mind the next day.
Grab a pen and your journal book and start writing. There’s no limitation in what you can or can’t write. You feel free to pour whatever comes to your mind.
Don’t stop until it has reached at least one page. I like pushing it to three pages at once to make sure I let go of all of the negative/unnecessary thoughts.
2. Build a self-care routine
My first attempt at building a self-care routine started earlier this year. I hadn’t taken care of myself for a long time, and to finally make an effort to do it is rewarding.
You don’t have to do extensive and complicated things. I tried a routine of putting on a night cream every night on my face because it’s simple and easy to do. You can also try a spa day at home or sheet-masking for 20 minutes every two days. Over time if you do this long enough, you’ll feel different because you’ll look different. Things in your body are changing for the better, and that what makes you feel better.
How to do it:
Pick whatever sounds very easy and less time-consuming for you. Sheet-masking is a great example as you only need 10–20 minutes per day to put it on.
Track your journey so it’s easier to notice the difference in your face/body.
Share your story with your friends! Be it on Instagram or just your WhatsApp group. You’ll end up inspiring others to take care of themselves too.
3. Create short-term goals
The last thing you want to do when you don’t like yourself is expecting yourself to crush big goals. No. It’s only going to make you feel worse because of how much pressure you just got.
By creating short goals within less than a year will make you more excited. You are going to make it look so much more achievable. I used to have long-term goals all my life, but since I switched my mindset and changed the rule only to have 1–3 months or 1–6 months at the longest, it helped me become more confident that I’ll reach it. Doing this will also stop you from criticizing yourself too much.
How to do it:
Having too many goals at once will get you overwhelmed. So first, sort out the main three goals you want to achieve short term.
Create the plans in detail. Put them all in a spreadsheet and add a timeline. This way, you’ll keep yourself in check.
Make a vision board will help you stay focused as well, and make sure to put it in the place that’s visible for you.
4. Look for solid & positive support systems
Be it your partner, your close friends, or your family member, make sure they are supportive and aware of what you are going through.
Most people like to underestimate the importance of having people who are supportive and cheerful around them. When you hate yourself, they can help you change the story in your head. They’ll tell you good things about you that you couldn’t see because you are too caught up with the wrong sides.
I come to my partner when I feel like I didn’t feel like myself. Self-love is a lifetime journey, and it can be tricky sometimes. That’s why having people who can be held you accountable can be helpful.
How to do it:
Try to open up first to your close friends/partner about your problems. You can use a sentence like, “Hey, I’m going through something right now, and I need someone to talk to” as a starter.
Be sure to do the same to other people. You can’t expect someone to listen to you, and you never be there for them.
If you don’t have any close friends/a partner, try to join a community that might fit you.
5. Write down things you like about yourself
Why is it so easy to compliment other people, but it seems so hard to say all the nice things to yourself? You deserve it too.
I struggled with this a lot back then. I could write down things that I hated/ things that I needed to fix all day, but when it’s hard to come up with ten things that I genuinely love and appreciate about myself.
That’s where I knew I was beating myself up.
No one is perfect, and if you always need to fix yourself, then it’s going to take a lifetime to do. In the end, you’ll have no time to love yourself. So make it a priority to have a list of things you love about yourself. Something you could say out loud and be proud of who you are.
When you write down something good about yourself, especially in tough times, you’ll begin to acknowledge certain things that you often overlook. And that activity will give you hope. This isn’t a way to be narcissistic, but sometimes you have to be your own cheerleader.
How to do it:
Instead of running to your partner/friends, try to sit down with yourself, grab a notebook and write down ten things you like about yourself.
It doesn’t have to be big things, small things such as your creative side when giving a custom birthday to the people around you.
Treat it like you are writing down a person you admire or a best friend. This way, you’ll avoid limiting and judging yourself in the process.
I stumbled upon this quote the other day, and it keeps reminding me of how important it is to be patient with myself — even when I didn’t want to.
“Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others.” — Wilfred Peterson.
Life is already hard enough. At some point, you need to befriend yourself and accept it as it is.