This is your life, and you should do what you damn well please with it.
By Ashley Paige
We get it: self-confidence is challenging to master. It's entirely too simple to fall into a discouraging rhythm of beating yourself up, because let's be real — culture isn't always kind. However, it is possible to surmount the odds and discover a place in which loving yourself comes naturally.
1. Stop nit-picking.
First and foremost, the endless barrage of self-criticisms and nit-picking must end. Learn to change the dialogue in your head!
"More often than not, your belief isn’t rooted in fact, but assumption," says Dating With Dignity CEO Marni Battista. "Maybe you assume you aren’t smart because of one insignificant incident." Keep things in perspective — you're only human (one who makes mistakes once in a while!), and you are good enough.
2. Keep a positivity journal.
To really gear up and switch the direction of your thoughts, try maintaining a positivity journal. This will keep your spirits up and encourage joy and gratitude.
3. Take a break from dating.
Unless you're already in a happy, committed relationship — which is hard to attain if you're plagued with self-doubt — take a break from dating. After all, learning to love yourself first is imperative for a fulfilling romantic connection. Carve the time out to focus on yourself, because you deserve it!
It's no secret that exercise boosts your mood, which paves the way for self-love. Not to mention, taking care of your body will recharge your self-esteem!
5. Prioritize what YOU want.
Make a list of the things you love most, and why. Maybe watching Netflix with a bowl of kettle corn puts a smile on your face faster than just about anything (we feel you, girl). Or maybe you find your happy place when you're decorating cakes.
Prioritize these on a scale of one to ten, and make a pact with yourself to engage in each and every one by the end of the week, the month, the year (depending on how big your list is!). Fun, right?!
6. Read a good book.
Books can change your life for the better... the ones on this list are a wonderful starting point!
7. Rid yourself of toxic connections.
It's time to ditch the "friend" who constantly cuts you down with subtle, passive-aggressive barbs. You're on a journey, and there's no room for toxins where you're headed.
8. Drink less.
It's SO tempting to end a bad day with a bottle of cabernet, but let's face it — drinking isn't the best way to deal with your problems. Sure, a glass or two here and there is perfectly acceptable, but you know if you're popping the corks a little too often. Limit yourself to libations once a week.
9. Learn to enjoy alone time.
Facing alone time can be intimidating if you're feeling not so good about yourself or have recently been through a major breakup. Sleeping alone at night after the end of a relationship is a scary struggle, in particular. But it's essential that you face your fears and realize you alone are fabulous company. Besides, having extra time to do everything you desire is pretty amazing! (And as for the sleeping problem? Just invest in a huge snuggly teddy bear!).
10. Take a vacation.
It's been your dream to visit Taiwan for years, but life got in the way and it sort of just fell down the pipeline. Now's your chance to officially make it happen while you're still young and able!
Browse Pinterest for travel tips. Plan your budget. Take the time off of work. Buy the plane ticket! (In that order, more or less.) Leap on the chance, because you won't always have it.
11. Eat healthier.
Have you ever felt downright awesome after eating a nutritious meal? We thought so! Putting yummy, healthy food into your body is a simple remedy for self-love.
12. Invest in your career.
Since working is what you do most, put your heart and soul into it! Whether you're content in the field you're in or wish to pave a new career path, discover and establish your passion . . . and work hard. Everyone gets a case of the Mondays from time to time, but if you love what you do, the rewards are abundant!
13. Go shopping.
Hey, who says retail therapy doesn't lift your spirits? No one. Besides, buying clothes that fit well can make all the difference in your self-esteem.
14. Make new friends.
Attend a Meetup once a week. Show the new girl the best bar in town. Hit up your neighbor for brunch. Get to know your brother's girlfriend. Overcoming social anxiety and surrounding yourself with new pals will put you on top of the world, fast.
15. Value your education.
No matter where you're at in your education, value it! At the risk of sounding nerdy, the learning process is kind of beautiful... especially with all the resources at your fingertips. It's possible to become an expert in virtually anything.
When you're stressed AF, try a quick guided imagery exercise. You don't have to be a guru to achieve zen!
17. Care for your appearance.
The skin you're in will last you a lifetime, so take care of it with a thorough cleaning routine! And make sure you're always polished for the office. You don't have to go all out with a smoky eye and contour, but looking presentable, from your hairstyle to the shoes you wear, will work wonders for your confidence.
18. Get a pet.
Maybe it can't be proven that pets help you love yourself, but they certainly love you. If you're financially stable and crave a living, breathing cuddle buddy (RIP, huge snuggly teddy bear), consider a furry friend. There's nothing like an adorable animal to greet you at the door every day!
19. Take up a new hobby.
Playing the guitar has been on your bucket list for ages, but you just got busy with other sh*t. It's never too late to take up a new hobby, which can be incredibly fulfilling... especially if you stick with it!
20. Step out of your comfort zone.
You've always wanted to run a marathon, but you're worried you won't make it to the end. Lace up your Nikes and train, lady! It's time to step out of your comfort zone whenever you can. Breaking out of your bubble will give you a healthy dose of self-esteem.
If your room is a mess, your life might be a mess, too. This could be an overstatement, but you'd be amazed by how far a little organizing can go. Not only will things look better, but you'll feel like everything — big and small — is falling into place, too. So cancel next Sunday's plans and take the day to clean out your closet... literally and figuratively.
22. Answer to no one.
Remember: when it comes down to it, this is your life, and you should do what you damn well please with it. You can make your dreams happen; you can become everything you've ever wanted. It all starts with a little self-love.
This article was originally published at PopSugar. Reprinted with permission from the author.