Why settle for only loving the outer you when there is an equal amount of beauty within the inner you? Take some steps to have an irreversible, irresistible love for yourself! Here’s how you can do it using the word L-O-V-E-D:
Step #1: L
List Your Strengths
It’s amazing to me that most of us – me included – can quickly rattle off great things about everyone else. It’s a no-brainer that someone’s hairstyle is on point, their shoes are the bomb, and her career is to-die-for. Unfortunately, when we’re asked to compliment ourselves – we freeze. Maybe we can eke out a nice word or two. For most, it’s hard to run down a bunch of things we love about ourselves.
Now let me just interject this: you need to list them for yourself! There’s nothing wrong with having Bae or our BFF tell us how amazing we are. It’s more important, though, if it comes from you. Your voice – believe it or not – is stronger than others and will tip the self-love scales in your favor.
The first step to love is realizing that you do have strengths. Now you may not be able to easily share 10 things but challenge yourself to list 3 strengths that you own! I’ll get us started: I am super creative. I am a great writer. I am a wonderful encourager. These are mine. It’s time to make your list!
Step #2: O
Organize Your Thoughts
There are some women who color coordinate every outfit in their closets. The slacks are separated by fabric, season, and length. The shoes are divided based on heel height and designer. The rationale for this level of division is simple. Organized closets make getting dressed a lot easier because you have all options at-a-glance.
Let’s use this same model for our thoughts. What tumbles from our mouths was first formed in our heads. If I don’t feel great about myself, I’ve likely been thinking a lot of negative thoughts about myself. Organizing our thoughts is the perfect way to put an end to toxic thoughts.
Take the time to really pay attention to your thoughts. Then ask yourself some questions: Which thoughts have I outgrown? Which thoughts are out-of-season? What mindsets make it easy for me to love myself?
Once you’ve answered these questions, begin to mentally focus on the positive thoughts about yourself. When you notice that an outdated, negative thought emerges, quickly access one of the positive thoughts about yourself. Sometimes I take the thought organization a step farther; when I push a positive thought to the front of my mind, I make sure to push it out of my mouth! When I’ve arranged my thoughts to focus on my positive traits, I speak that thought from my mouth. This is a great way to make the organization stick.
Step #3: V
Verbalize Your Love
Noise is never overrated. It’s been said that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Well I like to say that the loud woman feels the love! Time out from being shy and mealy-mouthed about how you feel about yourself. Refuse to get in the company of others and say negative things about yourself.
You may not have achieved your goal weight, but there’s no reason to say, “I sure am fat.” You can try saying, “I’m on my way to being my best weight.” Okay you didn’t do the best job with that relationship, but why put yourself on blast? I’m not suggesting lying or refusing to be honest. You can be honest and lovingly say out loud, “I didn’t do great that time, but the next time I’ll do better. I’m still worth being loved!”
It’s amazing what happens when we speak what we feel. A wonderful proverb says that positive words coming from our own mouth bring life. It’s time that you bring some life and love into your personal world. It’s only one word away!
Step #4: E
Expect A Change
No one is born with their love tank on “E.” Life events and life relationships have a way of making deposits or creating deficits in our souls. This being the case, it stands to reason that our ability to love ourselves was years in the making. For me, my ability to love myself was shaped as a 4-year-old. The constant teasing about my skin and appearance set the stage for self-hatred throughout parts of my adolescence and parts of my adulthood.
Feelings don’t take root overnight and neither do solutions! Now there are some people who have realized unhealthy patterns and course-corrected immediately. My process – and maybe yours too – has taken some time. I’ve had to learn that change does not always come overnight, but it will come overtime.
The ability to love ourselves completely from the inside out is truly a journey. We should look forward to the days when we’re not plagued by negative self-talk. For those who already love themselves, you can look forward to a time when you pay it forward and help women heal from self-inflicted wounds.
Don’t stop believing because the process for change takes time. It’s on the way, but expect to see it. Just like planted seeds, seasons of showers and sun occur before growth appears. The dirt doesn’t determine whether the seed will sprout. The push inside the seed determines whether fruit will appear. Learn to brush the dirt of your past to the side; keep pushing and look for change. It will come. Expect it!
STEP #5: D
Demonstrate Your Admiration
We all know that love is an action word! Valentine’s Day is sweeter when your Boo or Beau shows up with flowers, candy, or tickets to your favorite concert. A child’s handmade necklace or sloppy kiss is a welcome display that your love is on top! While it’s great to have everyone express love for you, don’t forget to express love for yourself.
As I’ve grown in my self-appreciation, I really like doing things for myself. Nowadays, nothing says “I love you,” to me like some self-care. I purpose to give myself more than lip action. I often say I love myself, but now I will put works behind it. On stressed days, I am known to steal away to my favorite quiet spot with some music. If I feel down, for myself, I’ll play some funny videos that bring a smile to my face. After taking 6 years to write Hairlooms: The Untangled Truth About Loving Your Natural Hair and Beauty, I bought myself a diamond bracelet. I’ve learned to celebrate the big and small things that I do. When I miss the mark, I’m also learning to be kinder to myself.
Don’t wait for someone to let you know you’re L-O-V-E-D, demonstrate it for yourself! You’ll be so glad you did.
Michele Tapp Roseman is the Author of Hairlooms: The Untangled Truth About Loving Your Natural Hair and Beauty – one of NBC’s NBCBLK Fall Reading Guide recommended literary works. Michele is a seasoned writer and media placement specialist who has provided editorial services throughout the U.S., on military bases, and in Bangkok, Thailand. Read her interview on LadyBossBlogger here.