I recently satisfied my little wanderlusting heart and pre-celebrated my 30th birthday by wandering solo through the Tuscan hills of Italy.
I began my Italian trek by looking out over Juliet’s famed balcony in Verona and closed the curtain on my two-and-a-half-week adventure on the Spanish Steps in Rome. But of all the cities I’ve wandered in, Florence, by far, holds the gold medal for beauty, masterpiece and good Chianti. Really good Chianti.
And as I sat in a tiny cafe, admiring the decaying paint and quirky cobblestones, I couldn’t help but wonder why don’t we look at ourselves with such reverence and appreciation of character. Why are we somehow flawed if we aren’t symmetrical, shiny and new?
Why is our body confidence as elusive as a unicorn, Sasquatch or getting through the DMV line in less than an hour? (Who are we kidding? It’s not gonna happen.) Why is a size 0 and flawless skin (courtesy of Le Photoshop) the gold standard for beauty?
I spend my days working with gorgeous, authentic and undeniably frustrated women who have built up this belief that if they just lost 10 pounds, toned their arms, covered their roots or Magic Erased their wrinkles that their life would be better, happier, perfect.
They’d land the job, the dress and the suave dude serving their dirty martini who, I’m quite certain, is behind on baby-mama child support and still living with his parents.
But the truth is, we women don’t have a food problem or weight loss problem or a crow’s feet problem; we have a self-worth problem. Yes: Self-worth. Otherwise known as that thing you stopped cultivating when you were an awkward 10-year-old in a bikini.
You are just as unique and opulent as any cathedral (and a hell of a lot younger). But you beat yourself up with words like “fat” and “ugly” and “next time.” And those words build a life of insecurity and loneliness and regret. Those same words leave your confidence and value and self-love at absolutely nada.
But at any moment, including this one, you can change your world and flip your dialogue to live a life of more courageous compliments, applauded birthdays and remarkable moments.
So love yourself liberally. Love yourself more. Love yourself now, as you are, you sexy scoop of gelato, you.
When you build up self-love/worth/value, you see your life through a new lens, and you want to take care of yourself more, eat healthy, move your body, ditch stress, laugh tons and embrace your beauty without the criticism.
To get the self-love rollin’, here are five ways to build body confidence, self-worth and love yourself a helluva lot more.
Gaze in the mirror at your favorite feature. Instead of berating your breasts, look into your beautiful brown eyes. Spotlighting body parts you love will flip the mental chatter from negative to positive. Creatively compliment yourself and rave about your eyes or your muscular legs because the language you use to talk to yourself is the one that makes the difference.
Hang with a beauty bestie
Spend time with folks who make you feel good inside and out. Sincere complimenters are great to keep by your side because they help you see the gorgeous qualities you’re too busy overlooking. Hang with women who feel good about their bodies, who believe they’re beautiful as they are, without running through a laundry list of what could “look” better. Their confidence will be contagious and hopefully inspire you to be a little gentler with yourself.
Quit criticizing other people
Yeah, those people who aren’t you. The more you point out other people’s perceived flaws, the more you’ll point out your own. And really, the language you use to critique others is just a reflection of how you feel about you. The goal is to love and honor you tons more.
Disengage from all the magazines and TV shows and Facebook pages that praise being skinny and perfect and airbrushed to high heaven. They offer you nothing more than a source of constant comparison, bad feelings and insecure thoughts. Plus, there is a whole lot of airbrushing happening in those places.
Clean it up
Your diet, exercise routine and stress level lay the foundation for how you feel, so fuel your bod with good nutrition, break a little sweat each day and set aside time to unwind. Because it’s hard to feel bad about a body you’re taking great care of. Yoga, green smoothie and a bubble bath, anyone?