How to fall in love… with yourself

Lao Tzu quote

We live in a world where finding “The One” is more important than finding yourself, when in reality, it should be the other way around. I think it’s starting to be higher on our priorities now more than ever, but there’s still work to be done.

We are all familiar with the typical things we say to ourselves when we’re feeling low. I’m fat. I’ll never good enough. I’m not smart enough. I’ll never be able to do that job. My writing sucks. My art sucks. I suck.

Stop. Seriously.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so guilty of doing this. Sometimes I wake up and feel great, like I can take on the world. And other days, I feel ugly and boring and so far from who I want to be.

But what makes me think any of the things about me are bad? What is beautiful? Smart? Exciting? Brave? Fun?

It’s different for everyone. So on that note, let’s jump in.

Practice positive self-talk

This will always be number one because it’s the most important lesson of all. Next time you’re having a bad day, listen to the things you’re saying to yourself.

I know this is going to sound cliché, but if your friend was saying nasty things about herself/himself, would you stand there and agree? No! You’d probably give them a long speech about how awesome, gorgeous, fun, smart and amazing they are. So why the heck don’t we say that to ourselves when we’re blue?

Write down what you love. Put it on a post it. Hang it on your bedside table, mirror or by your door so it’s the first thing you see before you start your day. If you’re not feeling fab, remember, you are your own best friend, so treat yourself like one. Don’t worsen the pain by calling yourself mean things. Pep yourself up.

Did you know, if you buy two of the same plant, give it the same amount of sun and water and care, but you say hate to one plant and loving things to another, the hate one will die faster? Don’t kill your soul. Be nice.

Appreciate other people’s qualities, but don’t compare yourself

“There’s room for everyone.”

This is another big one. There’s nothing wrong with thinking someone is admirable or gorgeous. And just because they are those things, doesn’t mean you aren’t. Nobody’s success takes away from your own. Nobody’s magic takes away from your magic. There’s room for everyone. So love that person up and then do the same for yourself.

Do things that make you feel happy and empowered

If you’re not feeling your best, then do something about it. Do something comforting if you’re anxious, sad, self-conscious. Exercise, cook, go out with your friends.

If you’re bored with your life, take that class you’ve always wanted to try, apply to that job. Take a risk.

“Your confidence will soar if you put yourself first sometimes.”

Just do something. You have control over your life even when it feels chaotic. It starts in your mind and changes when you take action. Some things take longer to change, but you’re never going to move forward or feel better if you keep doing what you’re doing. Practice self-care and go get what you want. Your confidence will soar if you put yourself first sometimes.

And remember, you can’t take care of your loved ones if you’re constantly low on fuel.

Don’t try to fit in

We have this notion in our minds that if we’re different, something is wrong with us. But how boring would life be if you met the same, cookie cutter person all the time? We’d be miserable.

I’m convinced the world would literally end because we need different people to make shit happen. Sounds dramatic, but think about it. If we all liked the same look, we’d be fighting over the same person. If we all had the same skill, this world would be seriously one dimensional and a lot of things would fail. We wouldn’t make much progress.

The point is, you will make a difference because there is nobody like you. Isn’t that great?

At the end of the day, we need to stop the emotional violence that takes control of our mind, body and soul. Replace it with positivity and kindness. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing something for you. You’ll be a better friend, mother, father, lover, etc.

And the best part? You’ll find yourself falling in love with the wonderful, brave and amazing you.

top tips for reducing anxiety

Let’s be honest, everyone feels anxious sometimes, and for many, it’s not something that just comes and goes. You might be feeling great, confident, happy… and then it hits you. It can be hard to pinpoint why, but for me, it’s usually possible to know what caused it. Although it’s something I have to constantly work on, here are some things that have helped.

Make peace with the fact that you have anxiety

Acknowledge it, befriend it, and nurture it. One of the biggest ways to fuel anxiety is to have anxiety about having anxiety. It sounds funny, but we all do it. We worry about how long it will last, if we’ll forever be haunted by it. But even if this isn’t going to be the only time we suffer, it won’t be constant. Everyone has their highs and lows, and maybe right now you’re in the peak of it. But as they say, this too shall pass. And most importantly: You’re not alone. Seriously.

Get to the root of it

There’s usually something that causes your initial panic, and then it spirals into a web of worries. But if you take a minute and really think about what started it, you might just surprise yourself with the clarity and calm that follows.

Try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

I have this weird time of year where my anxiety comes out to play – and man, does it throw some serious punches. When I was in the heat of it, I spoke to my doctor about what I could do to break this pattern and he referred me to a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. Unfortunately, it took months to actually see the doctor and I was doing much better by then. But I still went and it was really helpful. She asked me if I knew what caused the panic attacks and I told her, and how it seemed to spiral into even more worries, and how random and illogical the triggers were. I know that it can feel really vulnerable being that honest with someone, but she didn’t laugh, she didn’t make a comment about it being unusual. She just threw a ton of questions at me, slowly changing my thinking pattern. She gave me a bunch of exercises and a packet of ways to conquer my fears and manage my attacks. How to shift my reactions. I became more aware of the triggers and was able to open a dialogue within myself. It was really refreshing. I’ve since used some of her suggestions and I’ve noticed a big difference in my thinking patterns. If you live in the UK, you may have to wait, but it was free and the wait was worth it. There’s nothing wrong with speaking to someone – sometimes it could be the thing that leads to a breakthrough.

Be active

There’s nothing in this world that helps me as much as exercise. I grew up watching my mother work out – in fact, she went into labour with me while doing leg lifts – so it’s in my blood. You don’t have to leave your house, just do it right in your living room. It’s a perfect way to do something 100% for yourself, without interruption or justification. It’s healthy, it feels great, releases tension and the endorphins are lovely. Do some research. Look around at different workout programmes. Find one that speaks to you and do it. Not only will you be helping your mood and mind, you’ll be creating a healthier, stronger body and that’s always a good thing.

Learn breathing techniques

This is particularly good if you’re about to have a panic attack. I often find it helps to lay down, or go somewhere quiet, and breathe in through your nose for five counts, filling your belly with air, then exhaling through your mouth for five counts. By breathing air into your belly, you’re massaging your “fight or flight” nerve. Be sure to focus on your breath. You can even put a hand on your stomach to feel it rise as you inhale and drop as you exhale. After a few rounds you will suddenly feel calm and light. It works so well.

Create a comfort ritual

Feeling anxious? Keep those feelings at bay by finding small ways to create a comfortable environment.

  • Aromatherapy. I love to use my oil diffuser with lavender or rosemary essential oils, or even Women’s Balance by Neal’s Yard. If you don’t have a diffuser, get a candle with a scent that immediately comforts you. It might be one from your childhood or a classic calming scent like lavender. One of my favourites is This Works’ Deep Sleep Heavenly Candle. I also use their Deep Sleep Pillow Spray by spraying it into a paper towel or cloth and inhaling it, then spraying it on my sheets. It instantly calms me and really does help me sleep if I use it at night.
  • Watch a show that inspires you or makes you laugh.
  • Read a book, either a fiction novel you can get lost in or maybe a self-help book. I personally love Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed. It’s a collection of all her best quotes, and you’ll be amazed how there’s a perfect quote for every situation. It’s my bible. I strongly suggest you pick up a copy.
  • Do something pampering. Take a bath, use a face mask, paint your nails, etc.
  • Listen to calming, soulful music that won’t cause angst or sadness, but will make you feel relaxed. Check out my zen playlist here.
  • Journal: Focus on the things you’re grateful for, the highlights of your day, week, month or year. Shift your thoughts to the positives.
  • And like I said before: Exercise! Do some yoga, pilates or maybe even a hard core workout that gets anger, tension and stress out. It’s amazing was some movement can do.

Try some CBD

I’ll start by saying I’m not a doctor and I suggest speaking to yours before taking anything. But my brother got me onto CBD oil, which is cannabis oil – it doesn’t have THC so no, it won’t get you high. It’s completely legal and natural and has amazing benefits. One of them being: it calms anxiety. There are so many brands you can choose from that are really affordable, but the first time I tried it, my brother shared the CBDistillery CBD oil (500mg, 30mL) and it was liquid magic. It doesn’t make you feel heavy and foggy like some medication might. I felt happy. And light. And clear. It was as if someone just sucked out the negative energy and I carried on with my day. Plus, when I take it at night, I sleep like a baby. You can take a regimen of this every morning or night, but I tend to take it when I need it, mainly due to the price. But it’s worth it.

Anxiety doesn’t mean you live in a deep, dark hole. Sometimes it might feel that way, but there’s a lot of ways you can control it. These are just some simple things that work for me, and maybe they’ll work for you too.

Do you have any of your own tips? Comment below!

The five biggest lessons I’ve learned …so far

With every lesson, comes a lot of learning. Here are the ones I live by.

Trust your intuition

“We think we’re mundane beings with no powers, but in reality, our superpower is our intuition.”

This is the rule to live by – it encompasses all other rules. Does something feel right? Trust it. Does something feel wrong? Trust it. We think we’re mundane beings with no powers, but in reality, our superpower is our intuition… our natural instinct. There have been times my intuition has saved my life, and other times where it opened up wonderful opportunities. I wrote and published my first short story Rust based on a real experience I had. It’s the biggest lesson I’ve ever learned, and I honestly believe nothing will ever beat it.

Let go of toxic people

Feeling anxious, unhappy, maybe even sick? Look at the company you keep. You’ll probably make excuses at first.

“But if I let them go, I’ll have no friends?” However, if you let them go, you might actually be happier and attract healthier people, you know, the ones who are actually good friends.

“But he has been good to me in the past, like.. remember that one time?” Whether it be a boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend or family member, emotional abuse is a real and very valid thing and I’ve had strong firsthand experiences with it. Do I remember the occasional good time with that person? Sure. Does it override the bad? Absolutely not. And to be honest, I’m so much happier without them – and that’s not a bad thing to admit.

Never live up to other’s expectations over your own

“If you stay true to yourself, you won’t regret your choice when you’re on your deathbed.”

People will clobber you with their own opinions, limitations and expectations. But your right as a living, breathing human is to own your choices and your path. If you have a vision for your life, one that will make your soul sing, then go for it. If someone else thinks it’s boring, small, lame or out of reach – don’t listen. Lead a life you value. The right people will support you. And maybe the people you love the most won’t understand and that’s okay. If you stay true to yourself, you won’t regret your choices when you’re on your deathbed.

Believe in the impossible, because it’s possible

This is kind of linked to the previous point, but it’s an important lesson to learn.

I want to be a screenwriter. The first thought in your head was probably, “But Sal, nobody makes it.” You’re actually wrong, tons of people make it. You know that show you’re binging on Netflix? Whoever wrote it was told the exact same thing. But guess what? They didn’t believe you. They believed in themselves. And now they have a show on Netflix.

There are people who love you …and people who won’t

“Stop tearing yourself down just because someone else doesn’t click with your uniqueness.”

….and that’s okay! You will never make everyone happy. You will never click with every single person. It may be uncomfortable, but that’s the beauty in life. You think you’re an outcast? You’re not! There’s someone out there who will totally dig you. Feel like you can’t make someone happy? Stop trying! You’ll be enough for someone else. Your crush isn’t into you? Next! There will be someone who shares your feelings.

Stop tearing yourself down just because someone else doesn’t click with your uniqueness. Think about everyone you’ve ever disliked – are they bad people or just not your cup of tea? Striving for someone’s affection and approval when they just won’t give it is toxic and exhausting. If you accept it, you’ll be a happier person, and you’ll have more time to appreciate the ones who adore you.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned? Comment below.

Sincerely,

Sally