In this blog post, I’m going to ask you to do a little exercise. Grab a piece of paper and write down everything you can think of that you dislike about yourself. Afterwards, take that piece of paper outside, light it on fire, and watch it burn until there is nothing left of it. After doing that, go back inside and take out another piece of paper. This time I want you to write down everything that you love about yourself – anything that you are proud of and that makes you feel good. With this list, I want you to keep it safe in a spot that you’ll remember where to find it or even hang it up in your room on your wall. If you ever feel those negative thoughts starting to creep back into your mind, look at that list and read through it. Really let it sink in.
Now, you may be wondering what exactly the purpose of this is so let me explain. There is something called “embodied cognition”, which means that the body and the mind are interconnected and influence each other. That is, the actions of the body and the feedback you receive from those actions influences cognitive processes. Many don’t realize that the body can affect the mind just as much as the mind can affect the body. This reciprocal relationship that exists between the two can be used to your advantage, which is why I suggested doing the exercise described above.
Studies have shown that by writing down thoughts, you are in a sense objectifying those thoughts into the paper. As a result, what you do with that paper afterwards affects the power those thoughts will have over you. Pretty fascinating huh? If you simply visualize the words in your mind, it won’t have the same effects. This is why it is important to physically write the thoughts down in tangible form.
There is another application of this concept that I think is worth mentioning because it can also serve to better your mental state. Ever heard of the saying “grin and bear it?” Well, forcing a smile in the face of stress or when experiencing upsetting emotions actually does help to alleviate the symptoms associated with those feelings! The muscles in the face that activate when you smile tricks your brain into thinking that you are happy, in turn prompting your brain to release hormones like dopamine and serotonin that promote happiness and reduce stress.
If you’d like to explore this idea of embodied cognition a bit more, check out this Scientific American Article. It includes a number of other interesting manifestations of the mind-body interrelationship.
Returning back to my original exercise, I want to stress that it is so important to try not to dwell on negative evaluations of yourself but instead acknowledge all your positive traits. Ultimately, you need to love yourself for who you are.
When I say love yourself, I mean unconditionally – flaws and all. Love yourself on your worst days and on your best days. Love yourself when you fail and when you succeed. Love yourself when you’re feeling lazy and when you’re feeling lively. Love yourself when you’re ill and when you’re in good health. Love yourself with and without makeup. Embody confidence and others will perceive you as a confident individual.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there as purely you and own it! I won’t ask of you anything that I wouldn’t be willing to do myself, so, here is me in bed without a stitch of makeup on my eyes or face. (:
Don’t let anybody make you feel like you aren’t beautiful because you are! Everybody is in his or her own unique way. Everybody also has those days now and then where he or she doesn’t feel too great about his/herself but that is why I asked you to write a list of things you like about yourself to look back on. Reading something positive that came straight from you will be a reminder that you feel these ways about yourself, even if it’s temporarily hidden on a bad day. It still exists within; it’s just tucked away.
I hope you found this helpful and will take my advice! It really can help you.
Daily reminder: LOVE YOURSELF ALWAYS!! – Even in your most undesirable moments.
∼ Taylor ♥ xoxo