If you’ve had your fair share of struggling with feeling worthwhile, you’re in good company. Figuring out how to love yourself is hard. Trust me, I’ve definitely been there, and I know what it’s like to go through life berating yourself all day, every day. But if you’ve just started to realize that you don’t want to live your life this way anymore, even if it’s just a glimmer of a moment before you go back to hating yourself again, I have a little trick I want you to try.
Here’s the deal – no matter why you got into the habit of being so cruel to yourself, the fact remains that it’s still a habit. Which means that it can be broken. It also means that you need to recognize that habits are difficult to break, so if you’re not doing so great so far at trying to increase your sense of self worth and value, don’t sweat it. You need to be patient with yourself and just keep trying.
I’ve been trying out this little trick for a while now, and so far it has been helping me a lot. I have most definitely struggled with self loathing and brutal negative self talk – for years.
And the thing is, to break a habit that is that entrenched is going to take time. To retrain your brain, you need time, practice, and consistency. You can’t just decide from today onward you’re going to be totally in love with yourself and that’s that. The self-hater in you will pitch a fit.
That’s where my little trick comes in. All I do is braid my hair.
Okay, that’s not ALL I do, but that’s most of it.
I take one smallish section of hair from underneath, at the nape of my neck, and I braid it every morning. I tie it off with one of those tiny black elastics.
And while I’m braiding, I take a moment to mentally prepare my attitude toward myself for the day.
I remind myself that my intention is to be kind to myself today.
I remind myself that I am in a process (that will probably be longer than I want it to be) of changing old habits, and it’s okay if I slip up. If I catch myself thinking mean thoughts about myself, it’s no reason to give up.
This is simple. It’s just a matter of taking a moment each morning to be present with yourself and set the intention for kindness and self-encouragement, just for the time it takes for you to make the braid.
Then, as you go through your day, the braid will serve as a reminder of your intention. It’s sort of like the old trick of tying a piece of string to your finger so you don’t forget something, but WAY less annoying. This way you don’t have to flick your hand everywhere like a cat trying to get tape off of its paw every time you want to, you know, use your hands for something.
You might be surprised how often you’ll notice the braid throughout your day, when you put up or take down your hair, shake out your hair or play with it, or notice the braid resting on your shoulder.
Or you might notice the subtle weight of it pulling at your hair roots. No matter when or why you notice it, let it remind you to be kind to yourself. That means, at the very least, not saying cruel things to yourself about yourself. And if you’re feeling like you want to take it a step further, try actually replacing some of the mean things you say to yourself with something encouraging for a change.
When you take your braid out at night, take the same amount of time as you did in the morning (not very long) to quickly reflect on how the day went. How kind were you? Go with your gut reaction and just notice. You don’t have to write anything down. It’s just meant to take a pulse and inform whether your next day needs more effort or not.
Part of the magic of how this will retrain your brain lies in the repetition of it, so you’ve got to try doing this for many many days in a row, just the same way the braid reminds you many times a day of your new thought pattern. Remember, so much of learning how to love yourself is just practice!
I’ve been doing it for a while now, and it’s really helping, but I’m not perfect! I wanted to share it with you because I know that it’s hard trying to change yourself when you’ve been convinced you deserve ill treatment, and I want to help you with any tool I can.
Try it out for a week or two and let me know what happens!
Worst case scenario, you’ll still feel like you hate yourself, but you’ll have been lookin’ cute all week! Best case scenario, it starts working and your brain starts forming new habits. You start loving yourself more and feeling worthy. Which makes it seem like you’ve pretty much got nothing to lose.
P.S. If you love my trick for learning how to love yourself, check out some of these related posts: