1. Eat lunch alone.
Eating lunch alone has been demonized, and I don't believe it deserves the hate it receives. Learning to love your own company is an important stepping stone in learning to love yourself. Spending time with yourself and learning what makes you happy allows you to appreciate you even more. It also helps you wean away from societal acceptance and begin to expect others to love and appreciate you the way you have begun to love yourself. Becoming your own best friend forces you to accept nothing less from those you surround yourself with.
2. Value your feelings.
Too many times, especially in today's age, we devalue our feelings for others comfort or for our own. Loving yourself comes down to respecting yourself and the feelings that you have. You are allowed to be sad, angry, and happy; do not diminish your emotions for anyone. To feel deeply is one of the most overlooked talents that we can grow to obtain; and to truly know your feelings and the value that it adds to your life, and to others, is immeasurable.
3. Allow yourself to be ugly.
Beauty is an objective opinion, plain and simple. Especially for women, we are not allowed to simply be ugly and tired and cold; but, we are humans with so much more to offer. While being socially accepted and viewed as beautiful has been ingrained in our minds as one of the most important aspects of our existence, allowing yourself to simply be ugly in whatever form that may take gives you so much more freedom than we could imagine. Allow yourself to love and appreciate your reflection even if you are not working to appear beautiful because that is not the reason you exist on this planet. You are so much more than the beauty that is relentlessly imposed upon you.
4. Dance naked.
Purely and completely naked, every roll and stretch mark in attendance. Dancing naked, preferably in a mirror, forces you to look at the body you are in when you're happy. You spend so much time expecting your body to conform to social standards and the clothes you believe were not made for the bodies you reside in and forget that it is your home. It protects you and despite how many stretch marks you have or the extra fat under your arm, it loves you and it deserves your love in return.
5. Evaluate your friends.
The energy of the individuals that you choose to surround yourself with becomes the energy that you begin to hold within, whether or not you initially notice it. Surrounding yourself with people that consistently exude negative energy will alter your mindset and your thoughts. Evaluating your friends and making an effort to surround yourself with those that make you feel empowered and enough will have an immediate effect on the thoughts that you allow yourself to have.
6. Find things that make you happy.
This might seem like simple, yet impossible to follow advice, but so many of us have not taken the time to learn what we enjoy. You spend so much time as a human working relentlessly, being shown that relaxing is forbidden freedom; but, it is so important to invest time in yourself in order to learn what you love and what makes you happy. Experimenting and learning about yourself is a lost art that we must work to bring back.
Granted, I am still not in the place that I hope to be, but I believe that it is an uphill battle that is gradually becoming easier. Learning to love yourself does not happen overnight, There will be days where you feel like nothing is working and there will be days where the progress is outstanding. They're both necessary and important. I don't know when or if I will reach the finish line for this journey but I know that I am in a much better place than I was 6 months ago, and any step forward is a step in the right direction.