Hi friends! Today I am excited to introduce to you my friend Chelsea of @choosingchelsea on Instagram and YouTube. Chelsea is an advocate for self-love and body-positivity and uses her social media platform to spread joy and inspire others to love themselves too! Chelsea found that when she lost weight, she still was not happy with herself. This is something that hit home for me and I talk a lot about it in this post. It was then that she realized self-love doesn't come from a number on the scale. Today she is here is talk a little about her journey to self-love and the 5 things to stop doing to find your self-confidence and love yourself!
I always grew up heavy, insecure and NEGATIVE. I didn’t realize it until I got older because I was always happy to hang out with friends, and I could be wild and crazy and fun. I made some changes in my life and lost 60 pounds. I maintained that for awhile but halfway through nursing school when I wasn’t doing the best in school, I had gained back 20 pounds. I was feeling like a complete failure. I realized that something had to give because I was straight up miserable. And it was all my fault. I was the reason I was so unhappy. Because instead of being gentle on myself and being proud of what I was accomplishing, I was only focusing on the negative things. And who wants to be around someone who is always down on themselves? No one. You don’t even want to be around yourself.
So I knew this was an issue for me, I knew I had to change something. But I had no clue where to start. I had spent my whole life picking apart my body and comparing myself to other people. It was so engrained in my entire being that it wasn’t a switch I could just flip, no matter how much I wanted to.
I asked myself “how can I start to love myself?”. I was desperate for a solution for own sanity and for those around me. I would see people all the time suggesting positive affirmations (you know looking at yourself in the mirror and saying how amazing and beautiful you are and lalala all that stuff). This was not only ridiculous to me, but basically impossible for me to do at the stage I was in. So I didn’t do that, or start doing anything else. I actually STOPPED doing some of the things that were preventing me from loving myself. And I’m going to share my journey to self-love with you!
1. STOP THE NEGATIVE SELF-TALK
Who else is guilty of looking in the mirror and picking themselves apart? “Gosh my thighs are so huge, my stomach is so flabby, I am so disgusting”. That was me for a majority of my life. Picking out every single flaw I saw until I was so upset with my body and myself that I would just fall into a puddle of tears on the floor. I can’t recall a worse feeling than what I felt in those moments.
This was the first change I made. And it’s a process that takes time. I still catch myself falling back into this mindset on the rare occasion. But I’m aware now, and I am able to snap myself out of it so much faster. Stopping negative self-talk. Sounds simple right? Not so much. Learning to tune out the constant negative dialogue in my head took a while. But every time the negative voices came and I acknowledged them, instead of believing them, I would send them away. And each time I did this, the voices became harder and harder to hear.
When I stopped giving these negative thoughts power over me, my life changed. My happiness increased tenfold. A huge weight was lifted just with this one switch.
2. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS
You’ve heard it once and you’ll hear it again and again. But that’s because it’s true; comparison is the thief of joy.
We’re all guilty of doing it, but nothing good ever comes from comparing yourself to someone else. Whether you are comparing yourself to someone on social media, someone at work, someone you see at the gym; nothing good comes from comparison.
We all know those Instagram models with the “perfect body”. You don’t have to follow them. You really shouldn’t if they make you feel bad about yourself. Stop following all people on social media that make you feel less than worthy. And if you do follow/know/admire people in your life, and you just keep catching yourself comparing yourself to them, try to embrace the abundance mindset instead. When you see others achieving what you wish to achieve; you are seeing living proof that what you want is possible and attainable, and that you can totally do it too. That is, unless you’re trying to achieve unrealistic body goals (stop that ASAP mmkay?)
3. STOP PUNISHING YOURSELF
So picture yourself; you’re sitting on the couch, stomach full of pizza and cake because you were just at a birthday party or work event. And you think “wow why did I do that? I shouldn’t have eaten all of that. What is wrong with me?! I must have no self-control”. And then you make a plan: “no more food for the rest of the day. Tomorrow it’s time for a juice cleanse and 2 hours of cardio”.
STOP IT RIGHT NOW WITH THIS THOUGHT PROCESS. This mindset is all based on punishing yourself for something you think you did “wrong”. And first of all, you are allowed to LIVE. You are allowed to enjoy yourself and participate in social events. You didn’t do anything wrong.
Just because you maybe “got off track” doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to eat, and move your body in an effective way. Starving yourself and doing too much cardio will just take an even bigger toll on your body and lead to even bigger problems.
BE GENTLE ON YOURSELF. If that food made you feel crappy, then just be aware of that feeling and remember it next time. If you only felt crappy because you thought you were doing something you weren’t “supposed” to, that’s because something is wrong with your mindset, not YOU.
Every day is a fresh start, focus on taking care of ALL of you each and every day.
4. STOP HIDING YOURSELF
Have you ever felt yourself feeling “too big” to wear a bathing suit to the beach or the pool? Or too “out of shape” to go to that gym or take that spin class? So you just don’t go. You avoid social situations, and continue to hide yourself because you’re not there yet?
Well let me tell you something: you’re never going to get “there” by avoiding these situations and hiding yourself.
Avoiding wearing a bathing suit to the beach is never going to make you comfortable enough to wear one, no matter your size.
And not stepping into the gym for the first time because you’re inexperienced, will do the opposite of what you are seeking out to do.
So this is when we adapt. We fake it till we make it. You won’t get confident in a day. Or a week. Or a month. Especially when you’ve been so negative and down on yourself basically your whole life. But the first step to getting there is faking it until you achieve it. The aura you put out into the world is what they perceive. And eventually you will convince yourself.
Being a beginner is a beautiful thing. It’s where the most growth happens in a short amount of time. It’s when you learn so much about yourself.
And when you realize that everyone around you is more concerned about themselves rather than you, you can continue to live. And stop hiding.
5. STOP NEGLECTING YOUR SELF CARE
You know that meme? The one that says “Drink water. Get sunlight. You’re basically a house plant with more complicated emotions.” Well it is so true. Except when you neglect your self-care you don’t just wilt and die a slow death. More likely you’ll end up exploding with a full on mental breakdown.
So let’s try to avoid this. Take care of yourself. Get in that workout, eat nutrient rich food, get adequate sunlight. Work on your gut health.
But also spend time with friends and family. Spend time by yourself. Indulge in those feel good moments.
Want some self-care ideas? I GOT YOU!
Take a bath. Use a face mask. Go for a walk. Read a book. Color. Meditate. Get a massage. Go to Target. Clean your house. Watch a movie. Take a social media break. Go out for coffee. Or wine. Buy some fresh flowers. Plan a trip. Listen to your favorite playlist. Light a candle (or buy 6 new pumpkin scented ones because it’s fall. Duh.) Declutter. Unsubscribe from unwanted email lists. Stretch. Go to bed early. Sleep in. Journal. Plan a dinner date. Make a morning routine (watch mine here). Bake something. Play with animals. Take your vitamins. Listen to a podcast. Spend time in nature.
And above all else; BE GENTLE ON YOURSELF.
The journey to self-love may seem like an impossible task, but it is completely possible to shift your mindset. You’re already on the right track by being aware. Now just stop doing those things that are preventing you from living your best life, and you’re golden. YOU GOT THIS.