This Valentine’s Day, spread the love to everyone – including yourself. Mary Young, a Ryerson alumna and lingerie designer, spoke at the Gladstone Hotel last week to give a room of Toronto ladies a lesson in self appreciation. Here’s her 11-step guide to loving yourself:
- Write down five things you love about yourself
Take time to think about what makes you great. Do you make your friends laugh? Are your eyebrows always on fleek? Write it down. Include any trait that makes you thankful to be you.
- Look at yourself in the mirror and say “you are beautiful”
This one may be awkward the first few times, but keep it up. It took Young a week of doing this before she started feeling the positive effects. She suggests standing in front of your mirror in your underwear to remind yourself that every part of you is beautiful.
- Repeat the following: I am kind, I am smart, I am important
Young echoed the words of Aibileen Clark in The Help to remind us that we all have insurmountable worth. Say it. Repeat it. Believe it.
- Make time for yourself a priority
What activities bring you joy? Whether it’s going to the gym, reading books or eating a bag of Cheetos while watching Netflix, figure out what makes you happy and make time for it. Schedule it into your calendar if you have to. Think of this time as a reward for the hard work you do.
- Surround yourself with positive, encouraging people
Don’t let negative people put you into a funk. Surround yourself with those who lift you up and push you to be your best self. Ain’t nobody got time for haters.
- Stop comparing – embrace the things that make you, you
Appreciate another woman’s beauty, but don’t see it as a detraction from your own. Existing as a human woman should not be a competition. Acknowledge beauty in others but take time to remind yourself of your own.
- Do one thing for someone else everyday
Doing something kind for another person can bring happiness to your own life. It can be something as small as holding the door for a stranger or giving someone a compliment. Knowing that you have contributed positively to someone else’s day can lift your spirits.
- Write a love letter to yourself
Sometimes it’s easier to take a compliment when it’s coming from somebody else. Try writing a love letter to yourself. Remind yourself of your value, what you know you deserve and the way you want to be treated. When it feels like someone else is talking to you, it’s easier to believe it.
- Support other women
Our society often pushes women to compete with one another and this needs to stop. It’s time for us to support all women – whether they’re your friend or not. Remember that we’re all trying to overcome the same odds placed against us. Don’t resent success in other women; praise it. Remind yourself that success looks different for everyone.
- Forgive yourself, don’t feel guilty or hold onto past regrets
It’s easy to reminisce about every negative thing you’ve ever done. We all replay in our heads that dumb thing we said or that time we hurt someone. But in the long run, this play-by-play of all your mistakes will just bring you down. Apologize to those you’ve hurt, but always remember to forgive yourself. Learn from what you did wrong and remember that you’re not a product of those mistakes.
- Embrace your alone time
Take a few moments for yourself to appreciate what you have. Reflect on your personal growth and take stock of all the positive aspects of the life you’ve created. Look around. You’re responsible for all that you’ve achieved. You go girl!