I’m getting older, y’all. It feels like I was sixteen two seconds ago, but alas, I am currently a responsible twenty-seven-year-old (I pay for my own health insurance and clean up dog vom now! Yay adulting!).
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From sixteen to twenty-seven, however, I made A LOT of mistakes, but I’ve also learned a thing or two. The most important thing, you ask? How to like, love, and be nicer to myself on a daily basis. Let me tell ya, it ain’t easy some days, but it’s the key to becoming your most awesome self.
As someone whose inner critic can be downright savage, these little steps helped me toward a happier me, and I hope they’ll help you too.
1. Name your inner critic, then politely tell it to shut the eff up
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First, let’s identify who your inner mean girl actually is. It’s the voice that lies to you straight up. She’s the one that whispers things to you that you would NEVER say to another human being like, “You could never make the track team.” “Why would Brian even like you? You’re not even pretty.” Sound familiar?
Now, let’s name her. Sit down, close your eyes, and personify your mean voice. What does its voice sound like? What does its apartment look like? What clothes does it wear? Once you’ve got a great visual image, give it a name. How does Rhonda sound? Let’s use that.
Anytime you hear Rhonda saying those ridiculously untrue things, simply say, “Hey Rhonda, I hear you, but I have no interest in listening to you or taking your advice right now. Have a great day!”
2. Start small
Step #1 can actually be pretty challenging since your inner critic might literally be gabing in your ear every three minutes. My advice? Start small. Start with five minutes. Promise yourself you will shut down Rhonda every time she talks for the next five minutes. Then, move onto an hour. Then, try a whole day! You got this.
3. Don’t wait until (fill in the blank)
Guess when the right time to start loving yourself a little more is? Right. This. Second. You don’t have to wait until you start working out to like yourself. You don’t have to wait until you make the track team. If you hear yourself saying, “I’ll be happy once I get these Christmas pounds off,” stop right there. Start loving yourself in the perfectly unperfect place you are right this moment.
I know, I know. You don’t need anything else to add to your morning routine, but just take two minutes to tell yourself all the things you love about yourself–maybe while you brush your teeth or drive to school. They can be as simple as “I’m really great with my little brother” or as big as “You are a very talented singer. Big things are coming.” PS: I am NOT a talented singer. That was not autobiographical.
Who else stumbles upon an Instagram account and finds themselves getting all jealous/comparing yourself to them? Well, first, Instagram ain’t real life. So remember that. But also, if you need to unfollow certain accounts to avoid that boobytrap, do it! I promise you one day sh*t like that won’t bother you. You’ll be too busy loving your fab self and life, but it takes baby steps.
Oh! And also, follow some inspirational people while you’re at it. I personally love seeing @tracymcmillan in my feed every morning.
6. Practice gratitude
You’ve heard me talk about this before, but nothing cures a case of Down On Yourself like reminding yourself of the good things in your life. When you’re at your lowest, think of one thing you’re grateful for. Maybe you’re grateful you have an amazing room where you can study and learn in peace. Maybe you’re grateful for a short chat you had with your mom. Maybe you’re grateful puppies exist.
And with that, go on with your day you beautiful, brilliant tropic fish.
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