We sometimes hold ourselves to such high standards, we get caught up in our lives and forget to ease some of the pressure off of ourselves once in a while. Not to mention the media and society’s relentless missions to make sure our confidence and self-esteems don’t stray too high. Sometimes, when I feel like I’m trapped in a place and I can’t see far ahead, I have to take some time to myself to go through the process of self-love and rebuilding myself. Here are some things to remember when doing just that.
1. Treat Yourself
Too many times, we are made to feel that we are inherently selfish, spoiled, and rotten for asking for the things we need. In a world where messages of self-love are so rare for us, why is it that when we devote time to take care of ourselves, we are made to feel like we are doing something wrong? You deserve to have a healthy mental state, you deserve to eat what you want, you deserve to do with your own body what you feel is right. You’re allowed to be tired or sad or frustrated. You are allowed to buy a new dress or take an extra hour to do your hair. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel guilty because you make yourself a priority. We all work hard in our own respects and do our best; even if that’s not enough for you, I’ll still reward myself with some sparkly gold eyeliner and a new sundress.
2. Don’t Compare Yourself
Especially in a world immersed in social media as a major form of communication, we can find ourselves lurking onto photos of objectified women. Everyday my social media feeds are scattered with iLikeGirlsDaily, CollegeBabes, and much more — photoshopped booties and big breasts, shoved down my bronchial tube. Instagram and Pinterest bombarding me with fun fitness workouts, quick ways to lose weight, before and after photos of girls who worked to get hot! It’s not just annoying—it’s poisonous. They are persistent reminders to us that we are never going to be good enough. What we look like and who we are must change to fit the mold of what’s desired. But when you take all of that away, put down the phone, lose the “for-women” magazines, and you take a gentle, compassionate look at yourself in the mirror, you must know you are so beautiful and perfect, that it’s a goddamn shame that anyone would ever even make you feel otherwise.
3. Understand the Beauty Myth
Though the representation of the female body since the dawn of time is a complicated and convoluted one, there’s a few myths in modern culture that directly affect a modern women’s life. But one of the more important ones here is the idea that being beautiful is important. It’s a theme that we cannot escape. Mothers tell their newborn sons that they’ll be president one day, but they turn around and tell their daughters that they’ll be the prettiest girl at school. Women have made progress, but sometimes that progress seems useless when we will have Miss Universe, America’s Sexiest Woman, 100 Top Maxim Babe — whatever. We’re ranked and pitted against one another, like dogs for show. Yes, we’re so damn beautiful, but we’re also much, much better than that. We’re smart, compassionate, determined, spirited, strong, fearless, creative, thoughtful — not just something for your eyes to busy themselves with.
4. Good Music and Chill Time
Happy music leads to increase in dopamine leads to happy you. There are feminist artists out there who make beautiful music, (Ingrid Michaelson, Yuna Zarai, Regina Spektor, Sarah Jones just to name a few), and there’s music that bring back your memories of extravagant nights and friends. You can sometimes distract yourself from whatever is getting you down with your favorite television show or movie. Pleasures can include Friends, Adventure Time, Riverdale — whatever makes you sit down and take a breather. You can more easily face your problems and emotions head-on when you’re not bogged down by what seems to be everything coming down on you at once.
5. Writing in a Journal
Pushing out the stream of voice and gibberish in your mind onto paper can be so much more relaxing than you think. Keeping it all “bottled-up” is as uncomfortable as it sounds, and studies have shown that journalism boosts immune systems, reduces stress, and clarifies emotions. The paper doesn’t subtweet you, the pen doesn’t make snarky comments—it’s just you and your thoughts. You are completely in control of the organization of your thoughts.