Be your own best support by turning self-hate into self-love.

There’s a dangerous epidemic that is slowly killing the happiness of hundreds of thousands of girls and women. It’s nearly impossible to avoid. It can cause feelings of inadequacy, depression, poor health, eating disorders and even death. This life-threatening epidemic is low self-esteem.

Sadly, girls as young as seven are starting to worry about their physical appearance. And it only gets worse. By the time a girl reaches 17, she has seen over 250,000 commercial messages through the media. An astounding number of these girls are asking their parents for breast augmentations for their high school graduation present. Do you think Victoria Secret’s advertisements have anything to do with this?

As more and women seek to find the perfection they see in magazines and on television, the collective happiness of women continues to take a nose dive. Even though there is a broader understanding that most of the images we see have been digitally enhanced and aren’t real, we continue to be hyper-critical of ourselves. Our daughters, nieces, and even granddaughters pick up on this. This unhealthy way of thinking has to come to a stop.

8 Steps to Self-Love

How often do you have hateful feelings about your skin, hair, arms, breasts, legs, belly, hands or butt? If you’re like most women, you experience these thoughts on a daily basis and may not realize how harmful these negative thoughts are to your mental and physical health. One negative thought often leads to the next and it becomes a difficult cycle to break. 

If you’re tired of living in this cycle of negativity, the following eight strategies will help you turn your feelings of self-hatred into self-love

1) Rename your “negative thoughts” as “destructive thoughts” 

That’s what they are—destructive. Write them down on a sheet of paper. You may be shocked at the number of destructive thoughts you have. Decide to let them go by throwing the list into the fireplace or the shredder. Do your best to keep those nasty comments out of your head.

2) In the mirror, focus on the things you LIKE

Let’s face it; we’re not getting any younger. The aging process results in sagging skin, brown spots, wrinkles and more. So quit examining every little thing on your body that you don’t like, and focus on something you do. If you love your smile, then look in the mirror and give yourself a big grin.  It’s really good medicine.

3) Realize that mistakes are a normal part of life. 

We all make really stupid mistakes. When it happens to you, learn from it and get over it. If you owe someone an apology, be sincere.  There’s nothing worse than a phoney apology.

4) Do something nice for someone else

Send a card. Pick up the phone. Hold the door for a stranger. It may seem like a small gesture to you, but I promise it will mean a lot to the other person.

5) Treat yourself the same way you treat your best friends. 

The wonderful thing about best friends is that you love them unconditionally. You don’t focus on their flaws; you cherish their friendship, covet their loyalty and appreciate the “package” that is unique to them.

6) Sleep an extra half hour

An extra 30 minutes of sleep each night results in an extra 3½ hours each week. That’s two full nights of extra sleep each month! It’s much easier to love yourself when you’re well rested.

7) Re-think your definition of beauty

We all know beautiful women. They are beautiful because they exude confidence, contentment and beauty from within. Don’t let an obsession with outer beauty steal the real beauty that lies inside of you.

8) Don’t compare yourself to others—just be YOU 

There’s only one of you, so be true to yourself. If you have friends who think you should act or dress differently, they’re not really your friends. There’s nothing more beautiful than just being yourself.

So start complementing and stop criticizing. Be gentle and kind, accepting and loving. The time is now. Are you ready?

More Insights: Check out this great article on finding kindness and compassion through yoga

Author: Molly Napolitano, the Managing Director of Slim Belly System North America, has 25 years of experience in developing medically based fitness and rehabilitation programs.  With a Master’s Degree in Exercise & Sports Science, she specialized in exercise prescription for the elderly, developed physical therapy centres, presents at health and fitness conferences and is senior health & fitness expert at GlobalFit, a provider of fitness and wellness programs to multinational companies. 

You may also like