“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”
How to achieve self-compassion and self-love.
Do you remember this famous Saturday Night Live skit? Although the character, Stuart Smalley, had good intentions, puffing ourselves up isn’t exactly the best way to cultivate more self-love. In fact, this kind of self-talk can actually build up our egos, but not our true selves.
We may even begin to think we’re better than others because we’re not digging deep. And this definitely holds true in a society where posting bikini photos on Instagram just to get “Likes” is a thing. That’s why finding a way to self-love and self-confidence involves two things you won’t find in most magazines: cultivating self-compassion and practicing positive affirmations.
Self-compassion involves being kind to ourselves when life goes awry, and noticing our flaws without being judgmental. It helps us recognize that as humans, we’re not perfect, but that’s okay!
Self-compassion allows us to see ourselves and the situation clearly, rather than suppressing our pain or emotions, or making situations a bigger deal than they actually are. With self-compassion, we can embrace ourselves with a sense of kindness, connectedness and emotional balance, rather than kicking ourselves when we’re down.
In Self-Compassion Step by Step: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, Dr Kristen Neff’s research shows that self-compassion increases our level of happiness and resilience. Neff’s audio CD also demonstrates proven ways to increase self-compassion, through guided meditations and other mental and physical exercises.
For practice, the next time something doesn’t go how you’d planned, thank yourself for trying. Thank yourself for doing your best, and know that this situation brought you a great lesson to learn.
Okay, technically, Stuart Smalley’s quote could be considered a positive affirmation. When you make it personal, promoting positive body imagery and acceptance, positive self-talk can be wildly beneficial.
Here are some of our favorite inspirational affirmations from health experts to get you inspired:
- “I am strong. I am beautiful. I am enough.” – Vanessa Pawlowski
- “Every body is a bikini body.” – Kimberly O’Connor
- “Work out because you love your body, not because you hate it.” – Katie Goulet
- “Don’t compare yourself to someone else’s highlight reel.” – Kimberly O’Connor
- “Be your own brand of sexy.” – Susan Edelman
- “Happiness isn’t size-specific.” – Anna Guest-Jelley
- “You don’t have to like everything about yourself to love yourself.” – Tres Adames
- “Don’t let your mind bully your body.” – June Tomaso Wood
- “I am imperfect and yet my imperfections, like any great work of art, are what make me a masterpiece.” – Kelsey Silver
- “Your body is an instrument, not an ornament.” – Ariane Macin
- “Don’t say anything about yourself that you wouldn’t say about your best friend.” – Elisabeth Tavierne
If you’re looking for more positive affirmations, try this boxed set of Power Thought Cards, by Louise Hay, that contains an inspirational piece of artwork on the flipside.
The next time you feel bad about yourself, stay off Instagram. Get centered, and thank yourself for all of the gifts you bring to the world. Practicing one of the affirmations above – or one you write yourself daily – is very powerful, and will train your brain to be more positive and to love your whole self: body, mind and heart.