Are you struggling to find confidence lately? Living in the era of social media can cause many of us to play the comparison game or act like someone else to please others. But the fact is, it’s important to invest in yourself from boosting your confidence and loving yourself to doing things you truly want to do without the opinions of others. Embracing yourself is a part of self-love but what is self-love exactly?
Self-love is the practice of accepting your emotions and putting your physical and emotional needs first. Learning to embrace who you are can help you make better choices in life that serve you. Let’s take a look at 12 tips to embrace being yourself!
Get to Know Yourself
You can’t embrace yourself if you don’t know who you really are or who you want to be. So, one of the first steps is truly getting to know yourself. Healthline explains, “Building a strong self-relationship is a great way to return your focus to yourself.”
Discovering your true self takes time. Start by taking moments to be quiet and just think about who you are, what you like, what you dislike, and what you want to change. A daily journal might help you on this journey.
If you don’t have confidence in yourself, it’ll be hard to embrace who you really are. Building confidence doesn’t happen overnight, you have to invest the time but the rewards will be worth it! So how can you start building confidence today?
Start by diminishing negative self-talk. Every time you find yourself criticizing yourself, try and change the thought to a positive one. You can also try starting your day by looking in the mirror and giving yourself a compliment.
Be aware of your body language too. When engaging with others, eye contact can be a sign of confidence. As is maintaining a good posture, holding your head high, and smiling. Some of these may feel unnatural at first, but over time you’ll notice a positive shift and slowly build more confidence.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
One of the easiest ways to destroy your self-esteem is to compare yourself to others. Too much comparison can lead to unhappiness, frustration, and anger. It really is the thief of happiness.
As much as we try not to, it’s easy to play the comparison game, especially when scrolling social media, flipping through magazines, or even just walking down the street. So how can we stop it? For starters, try to identify your triggers. Where are you or what are you doing when these thoughts creep in? Once you identify them try to avoid them so you can avoid comparing.
Other ways to stop comparing yourself include focusing on your strengths and taking time for gratitude. You can also use comparison as motivation (in a healthy way, of course). For example, if you want to make more money, think about what you need to do to achieve these goals.
Make a Self-Care Plan
Part of embracing yourself is taking time for yourself. This is where self-care comes in. While many people think self-care is treating yourself to a spa day, or taking a long bubble bath (which it can be!), there’s more to it.
At its core, self-care is the practice of taking care of yourself physically and mentally. This may include improving your sleep quality, nutrition, and exercise plan. A self-care plan can help you reduce stress, recharge, and think more clearly and positively. Some ways to get started may include a daily walk or workout, eating a nutrient-dense diet, meditation, journaling, reading, or spending time in nature.
Do What You Really Want
It’s easy to be persuaded by the opinions of others. While it can be helpful to get insight from loved ones, especially when making life-changing decisions, it’s important to ensure that you’re choosing the path you want.
This can apply to many areas of your life, did your parents encourage you to take a certain career path but deep down you knew that’s not what you wanted? Or perhaps you were always encouraged to get married and have children. Whatever it may be, a part of embracing who you are is taking time to assess that you’re not living someone else’s dream.
Acknowledge How Far You Have Come
It’s easy to dwell on all the things you haven’t accomplished yet but part of embracing who you are is acknowledging how far you’ve come. This step also goes back to the importance of not comparing yourself to others. Everyone is on a different journey and just because you haven’t hit certain milestones, doesn’t mean you aren’t successful in life.
The important thing is that you’re setting goals for yourself (and no one else!) and making an effort to achieve what you want in life. Failure is a part of the process too. In some cases, failure is necessary to help us learn lessons along the way.
Invest in Things You Love Doing
Another important part of embracing yourself is making sure you take time to do things you love. Whether you’re in a committed relationship or parenthood, it can be easy to put the needs of others before yourself. While this is certainly not a bad thing (it’s an act of selflessness) it can cause you to neglect yourself. Over time this may lead to frustration and even resentment.
Setting time aside for yourself can help reduce stress and allow you to recharge so you can be the best version of yourself. Think about the things you enjoy, is it being artistic or exercising? Perhaps you enjoy reading in peace and quiet or playing an instrument. Whatever it is, make sure to schedule time in your calendar to do the things you really enjoy.
Let Go of Your Worries
It’s easy to get caught up in the “what ifs” but dwelling on your worries can only prevent you from being your best self. In fact, the Help Guide says chronic worrying or negative thinking can “leave you feeling restless and jumpy, cause insomnia, headaches, stomach problems, and muscle tension, and make it difficult to concentrate at work or school.”
The good news is chronic worrying is a mental habit that can be changed. There are steps you can take to help train your brain to stay calm and view life from a less fearful perspective. The source says you can do this by scheduling a “worry period.” Allow yourself to worry for this short period but then the rest of the day is a worry-free zone. The source also says it may be helpful to write your worries down when they creep into your mind during the day. Quickly write it down and let it go, then review the worry during your next “worry period” and really think about if that thought is worth worrying about.
Let Go of Things You Can’t Control
Are you a people pleaser? Do you strive to say and do the right things to ensure people like you? While making people happy can be a positive trait, sometimes we do things that aren’t really true to us just to appease others.
If this sounds like you, it might be time to let go of the things you can’t control. You can’t control how people feel or think about you, but you can control your actions. Embrace who you are and channel your time and energy to live a life that reflects your personal morals and values.
Everyone makes mistakes but that shouldn’t make you think less of yourself. Holding onto these mistakes can only lead to more negative thinking and self-deprecation. How can you embrace yourself if you think poorly of yourself, right? This is why learning to forgive yourself is so important.
Forgiving others may come easy, but we’re often much harder on ourselves. But according to Verywell Mind, learning from your mistakes and moving on is essential for your mental health and wellbeing. The source says there are four key actions you can try to practice self-forgiveness. They are:
- Responsibility: Accept what happened and show yourself compassion.
- Remorse: It’s normal to feel remorse and negative feelings. It can even serve “as a springboard to positive behavior change.”
- Restoration: Make amends and restore trust with yourself.
- Renewal: Focus on what you learned from this mistake and the steps you can take to prevent it from happening again.
Emotionally supporting your friends and loved ones can help strengthen your relationship but make sure you show yourself the same self-compassion as you do others. It’s easy to hold yourself to a higher standard but Harvard Health says self-compassion has a ton of health benefits, “including lower levels of anxiety and depression.”
The source says self-compassion can come naturally for some, while others need to learn it. Some ways you can practice self-compassion is by giving yourself encouragement or writing yourself a letter to acknowledge your feelings. You can also practice it by comforting your body by eating something nourishing, getting a massage, or resting.
Finally, practicing mindfulness is also a great way to show self-compassion. “This is the nonjudgmental observation of your own thoughts, feelings, and actions, without trying to suppress or deny them,” explains the source.
Practicing gratitude is the act of being thankful and appreciative and is associated with mental and physical benefits. In fact, Harvard Health says, “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” All of which can help you embrace who you are.
The source cites a 10-week study that had one group write about things they were grateful for, a second group wrote about irritations or things that displeased them, and the third group wrote about events that affected them but with no emphasis on it being positive or negative. The research showed that the individuals who wrote about gratitude were “more optimistic and felt better about their lives.” They also exercised more and had fewer visits to the doctor compared to those who only focused on the negative.
Gratitude can help you focus on what you have instead of what you lack. This can apply to many areas of your life from material goods, your financial success, your physical appearance, and more. Start practicing gratitude today by keeping a gratitude journal, practicing mindfulness, or writing a thank-you note, and see how it helps you embrace who you are.