In the personal development world, we hear all the time…
“You just need to love yourself”
“You can’t change what you can’t accept”
“Self-acceptance is the key and the foundation to self-love”
And I believe in all of those. Buuuut… How the heck do you learn how to accept yourself…?
Well let me tell you, it’s not easy BUT it is SO SO SOOOO worth it. The thing with self-love and self-acceptance is it’s not just a “one size fits all approach”. You don’t just do however many steps and then you’ve “arrived” at self-love! It doesn’t work like that. But that’s not a bad thing because all the steps that you DO take to explore self-love and acceptance enable you to get to know yourself. Which is a very beautiful thing indeed.
What I will tell you before we dive into the 7 tips is that once you learn how to stop fighting with yourself in regards to your body and your mind, things get SO much easier.
Ultimately what we want is for you to accept where you’re at right now. When you accept who you are in every way, you can then move on to loving yourself and achieving your goals from an intrinsic inspiration of self-care and love instead of an external motivation of not enough and needing to change.
Let’s get into it!
1. Inner child work
I’m talking trauma. Everyone is different. Some may have experienced extreme trauma in their lives such as sexual child abuse, domestic violence, the death of a parent at a young age, abandonment etc. But trauma doesn’t have to be any of those things. It can be having lived through “everyday things” that your younger self deemed and experienced as traumatic. Such as your Grandma telling you that your “legs are like tree trunks” when you were 8 years old (one of mine – cheers Grandma!) Trauma” is real for the individual experiencing it as so, no matter how “untraumatic” someone else might see it.
It’s like a phobia. My best friend Nat is terrified of spiders 🕷️ – as in she’s 40 years old and if there’s a spider in her bedroom she will legit go and sleep downstairs on the sofa! I’m not scared of spiders but me saying “Don’t be silly, it’s only an insect, it can’t hurt you” is as helpful as her saying to someone who has body image trauma “Don’t be silly, it’s only a bikini, who cares if people look”… get my gist 😉
Any kind of trauma needs to be released and healed in order for the individual to move forward.
“We must feel it to heal it“
We cannot fully love ourselves if we feel unsafe in our bodies. If we don’t feel safe in our bodies, we don’t feel safe in life. And the body never forgets. Any stored intense emotions that we experienced in the past but didn’t allow ourselves to feel or didn’t know how to feel them, don’t go away. Not until we acknowledge them, feel them, release them and choose to move forward with self-compassion and a new “story” for ourselves.
For example, my Grandma said to me “your legs are like tree trunks” when I was 8, which caused my younger self to feel rejected, unloved and not good enough because of the way my legs looked. So my 8-year-old self dedicated her life to hiding her legs in shame and doing everything she could to make her legs as small as possible because she believed if she had small legs then she would be accepted, loved and enough.
Self-love and acceptance start with “shadow work” which is visiting those parts of ourselves that we don’t want to face such as past trauma, the patterns that we keep playing out in our adult life and diving into WHY we are doing so. For example, why are we always on a diet striving to be thin? Why do we always seem to end up with an abusive or cheating partner? Why is putting on weight the end of the world?
It involves taking a look at our current beliefs and then questioning them – which can feel like your whole life has been a lie and you don’t know who the hell you are anymore! Welcome to the dark night of the soul my friend…
⬆️ THIS is what “inner work” is! It is difficult, messy, painful but oh so transformative and beautiful and empowering and freeing all at the same time. Think of a caterpillar 🐛 going into a cocoon ▪️ and then emerging as a butterfly 🦋. You will never be the same again when you do this work, nor will you want to be!
It’s impossible for me to dive deep into all of this right now because everyone is different and each has their own story, life experiences and beliefs. That’s why 1:1 coaching is so powerful and transformative because we work closely together to get to the root of what’s going on for you.
But until then, start asking yourself powerful questions such as:
“What do I believe that is stopping me from living my life free and happy?”
“Why do I believe it?”
“Where/who did I learn that belief from?”
“How does having that belief make me feel?”
“How does believing it keeps me playing small in life or hidden?”
“What would it feel like to not have that limiting belief?”
“What would my life be like if I didn’t have that belief?”
“What’s the opposite of my limiting belief?”
“How can I start to believe that new empowering belief?”
⬆️ The last question is the hardest part…! One great tip is to find people who are already living as you want to live. Who are loving themselves and their body regardless of how far away they are from beauty ideals.
For example, if you dream of loving your body no matter what size you are but currently you couldn’t love yourself even if someone paid you a million pounds to do so, surround yourself with others that are doing just that… loving themselves as they are. Then ask them;
“What are your beliefs about your body?”
And then choose to take on those empowering beliefs. This brings me nicely to tip number 2…
2. Change your beliefs
Ok so changing your beliefs is simple but not easy. Well, that could be a limiting belief of mine… 😜
Similar to… (Get ready to be spammed with epic quotes)
If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!
Whatever we believe becomes true for us.
Our beliefs shape our lives, not the other way round.
What exactly is a belief?
Do you believe in gravity?
Or do you just know that gravity exists because it’s one of the universal laws?
Do you believe that you love your children or your pet or your parents?
Or do you just know that you love them because you feel it on a cellular level every second of your existence?
A belief is something that you’re intellectually certain of. You weren’t born with any beliefs, you were taught what you currently believe through modelling and conditioning over the course of your childhood and your life up to now.
If you were told that the sky was green growing up – you would believe it to be true.
If you were told that a man in a red suit and a white beard delivered presents every year on 25th December, driving a magic sleigh filled with enough presents for all the (good) children in the world, pulled by flying reindeers, you would believe that too…
If it was modelled to you that having fat on your body was bad and wrong and embarrassing by your mum constantly picking apart her own body and judging others, you would believe that too.
When we deeply believe something, we tend to attach our identities (who we believe to be) to our beliefs. NUFF use of the word belief 😂 !
EG – let’s say someone was to believe that in order for them to feel worthy and be accepted they would need to be super lean. They got this belief from seeing their mum ridicule herself and others for having fat and praising fit, lean women. This is without even considering that every model and woman of sexual power they had seen had NO cellulite or extra body fat EVER.
This would cause them to do everything possible to diminish their fat – such as working out frantically – only to lose weight – dieting, taking slimming pills, using special creams etc – because they BELIEVED they NEEDED to be lean and fit in order to be loved and accepted and good enough.
If they ever reached that lean, super fit state – they would identify with it – believing that they were now “good enough” because they reached they were super lean. They would feel worthy and loved BECAUSE they looked that way.
But here’s the thing… unless they were genetically naturally lean with little body fat, (which equates to under 5% of the world’s population for women naturally looking like the models) they would be left constantly fighting against themselves. Because dieting doesn’t work and bodies change over time – because that’s what human bodies do depending on a whole host of different reasons – they wouldn’t stay super lean for very long. And then they would feel like they had “lost” who they were. They say things like…
“I’ve let myself go”
“I need to get my body back”
“I’m just not ‘me’ looking like this”
“I’ll be happy when I lose ____”
“I am not good enough”
They hold most, if not all, of their self worth on how their body looks. They wouldn’t do the things they really wanted to do because they would feel embarrassed and ashamed of their body. They would put their life on hold and they would be dieting like it was their full-time job in order to constantly strive for leanness.
Maybe you have the same belief as to the example just described, I know I sure as hell did for over 20 years!
How to change your beliefs
The beautiful thing is “You can change your beliefs”! I did and it’s the most freeing thing I have EVER done!
Like I said previously, the how is the easy part, the doing is the hard part.
Let’s assume that you’ve released and healed any trauma that you were unknowingly holding onto through inner child work, therapy or working with a great coach (hi…!).
The next step is to look for role models who are living how you want to live and ask them what they believe. For example, my beliefs around my body are…
“My body does not define me”
“I am more than my body”
“My body is enough exactly as she is in any moment”
“I love and respect my body”
“My body is supposed to change – she is nature”
“Confidence and sexiness is a choice to feel, not looking a certain way”
And then when you have your “evidence” of other women living in freedom and happiness around the things that are currently keeping you stuck, miserable and frustrated, you can work on EMBODYING their beliefs as your own.
Embodiment is to feel in your body that the new belief can become true for you. It is feeling SAFE to accept that belief as your own and then starting to take ACTION AS IF you already believe it.
For example, if you want to change your current belief of “I need to be slim in order to feel sexy and confident” to “I can feel sexy and confident no matter what my body looks like” you would journal the questions I mentioned earlier in SHADOW WORK first and then imagine that you already believed your new belief.
Sit with your eyes closed in a safe space and feel and imagine that you truly believe it. Allow it to feel safe in your body by exploring any signs of panic or unease. Comfort your inner child, go back to journalling out your concerns of having that new belief become yours.
Then take action as if you already believed the new belief. Using this current example an action step could look like putting on some sexy underwear for your partner or yourself and affirming that you look hot. Or putting on the bikini and walking to the sea without hiding your bum and legs in a sarong until the very last minute for fear of judgment.
The action can be the scariest part but nothing changes without inspired action. Hold space for yourself whilst you’re taking the uncomfortable action. Be kind to yourself. Keep affirming your new belief. Think of your role model doing the exact same thing as you are feeling uncomfortable doing.
Repeat. You got this!
Leading nicely from changing your beliefs is affirmations. Choose some affirmations that you wish to believe to be true and stick them everywhere in your house! On your bathroom mirror, on the fridge, in your car.
When your unconscious mind reads these it will activate your RAS (reticular activating system) which means that without you even realising it, your unconscious will “get to work” looking for “proof” that they are true.
That’s how it works, your unconscious mind is always responding to whatever your conscious mind is focusing on.
Thinking about the new white Audi you’re getting? You’ll see white Audis every damn where!
Putting your house up for sale? Every Tom, Dick and Harry will have their house up for sale.
Constantly looking in the mirror thinking you look awful? You will keep finding”proof” that you do indeed look awful.
So affirmations work work work!
I don’t believe it!
What if you absolutely cannot believe your affirmation in the slightest? I FEEL YOU QUEEN!
So then you use these slight abbreviations…
What if affirmations
“What if I loved my body NOW…?”
“What if I was good enough the way I was right now…?”
State the word
“I have an able body”
“My body is healthy”
“My arms can hug my loved ones”
“My body is so clever”
The abbreviations will ultimately get you the same result (believing the new belief/affirmation you want to believe) – it may just take a little longer, but that’s ok. You got this beautiful! 🤗
4. Compare yourself to NOBODY
Comparison is the thief of joy. Period.
Even if you’re comparing yourself to a past version of yourself – it’s doing you NO favours. You are not the same person you was 10 – 5 – 2 years or 2 months ago and nor should you want to be.
We are supposed to change, grow, evolve, learn, adapt. We are NATURE. You don’t see a flower constantly staying the same all year round – forever. You don’t see the weather being the same every day. You don’t see your dog looking exactly the same every day… you get my point. 🤭 We are not supposed to stay the same – we are nature we are alive we are human, we are NOT machines.
I have said this many times but I will say it again…
“You are YOU and that’s your superpower!”
You have gifts that nobody else has. You are not here to be an object of beauty. You are here to find your “gift” and then give it away to the world.
Only a hundred years ago, fat was envied, celebrated and sought after. Because it was hard to attain. The rich were fat -the poor were skinny. This whole body-image thing is rooted in cultural patriarchy and social class – aka – how much money you have.
And whatever people believed was hardest to attain – eg a hundred years ago it was fatness – was what was put on a pedestal. Because if it was hard to get and thereforetherfore sought after and admired, people would spend money trying to get it!
When society changed and it was easier to get fatter and harder to get and stay skinny, the pedestal changed to “skinny is best”!
So yes, Rachel on your IG feed may look incredible according to society’s standards and what’s currently on the pedestal, but you’re not Rachel. And she’s not you. Rachel may not have suffered with. various eating disorders for 20 years like you have, which has caused your body to be naturally “fatter” (in an attempt to protect you) than you would be if you had never dieted in the first place.
So own who you are beautiful, you do you!
5. Spend time with yourself alone
I used to be that person who had every second of her week and weekend booked. My days were jam-packed and booked up months in advance. Why?
Because I was so scared to be alone. I didn’t want to spend a single second on my own. I had a very loud Inner Bitch, and the thought of going inward (like meditation)made me think of only hippies and monks! I convinced myself that if I wasn’t flying around from one thing to another then I would be ‘bored’!.
So in order to avoid myself, I packed my schedule as full as possible. (Blatantly wish bags of chocolate/crisps were
as full as my schedule, what is with that? You open the packet and it’s only like a quarter full!).😱 😆
When I hit rock bottom and realized that you have to become your own best friend, I realized that no matter how busy I was, it didn’t make anything better.
You can’t expect anyone else to love you for the real you if you don’t love yourself. This was hard for me to grasp, as I’d spent years becoming an expert in self-loathing, flirting with depression, an eating disorder,
anxiety, and panic attacks, and I didn’t think I could ever get to that place of overflowing self-love. But the beautiful thing about hitting rock bottom is… the only way out is up! And to be honest, I was so sick and tired of being
extremely unhappy and unwell that I was willing to try anything. So, reluctantly, I thought I would give this self-love stuff a go. Couldn’t hurt, right?
Each day I made a conscious decision to love myself wholeheartedly and to work on all the tools I had learnt from my coach and through personal development.
I made this more concrete by deciding to date myself. I thought that if I wanted to fully accept the love from my partner, and give him true love back, I first needed to love myself so much that I would want to date myself.
Write down ten things you love doing alone. Be as specific as possible. Once you have your list, stick it somewhere you can see it. Each week, put a reminder in your to-do list or phone to book a date with yourself. Then when the reminder pops up, pick something from your list and schedule it in your calendar. Don’t just say “I’ll do it later,”
because most likely your self-love date won’t happen. If you want to be bursting with love and up your self-care, taking yourself on love dates is key.
Here are only a few ways you can date your beautiful self:
- Go to the woods or park to watch the sunrise or sunset.
- Go to the cinema alone.
- Have a shower, then give yourself a full-body coconut oil massage. Make sure you touch every part of your body with love while feeling deeply grateful for your arms, legs, toes, hands, etc.
- Cook your favourite dish for yourself.
- Take yourself on a solo hike somewhere exciting(keep your phone on aeroplane mode – use it for emergencies only!)
- Go to your favourite yoga class, then out for a drink at the local cafe, and simply revel in your own company.
Have fun and enjoy yourself that much that you want a second date…and a third…
6. Mirror work
Spend time with yourself in front of a mirror – naked if you can. Dim the lights, light some candles, put some relaxing music on and spend time being with yourself.
Start at your head and go down your body apologizing to each part that you have rejected in your lifetime and send it love and gratitude.
Look into your eyes and say “I love you” out loud multiple times a day. Allow any emotions that want to come up. All are welcome. Tears, anger, sadness, frustration is all processing stuck emotions.
Sit in front of the mirror on a blanket whilst journaling. Get comfortable being with your naked body.
7. Work on self-trust
If you keep the promises you make to yourself then you will build your self-trust and self-confidence. The most important thing about this is to start small.
Do not promise yourself that you will work out 5 days a week if you haven’t been to a gym in months or years.
DO promise yourself that you will walk for 30 minutes 3 days a week and work out twice.
Do not promise yourself that you will stop eating sugar when you know that that’s never going to happen!
DO promise yourself that you will eat MORE fruits and vegetables.
Do not promise yourself that you will go to bed at 9 pm every night in order to get 8 hours of sleep when you currently go to bed at 12.
DO promise yourself that you’ll start going to bed 15 mins earlier each week until you have gradually built it up to be going to bed at 9.
Whatever you decide to promise yourself – make it doable and realistic and celebrate yourself along the way!
Alright beauties, that’s it from me today! I hope this has been helpful, if so please let me know so I know what is of value to you. 💕
And if you haven’t already, join my FREE FB group below or look into joining me in my group coaching membership to dive deeper into these topics.