There is one question that so many people struggle to answer: What do you love the most about yourself? Both men and women struggle with self-care. People of all ages struggle with accepting their body – loving exactly WHO they are in their body as it exists at this moment. 45 million Americans go on a diet every single year in an attempt to love how their body looks on the outside. We fail to look on the inside. We forget that the real power is in our mind. In reality, the changes must start inward and work outward.
In many cases, people go on a diet or weight loss plan, but they aren’t actually battling the scale. Typically, they are battling something deeper. They are looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. They are finding comfort in food. They are looking for joy in that giant pile of mac and cheese, which I mean, I know, I see you. Mac and cheese is pretty magical, but it won’t fix you. It won’t heal what broke you. Mac and cheese alone won’t spark joy that changes your life.
The other day, I told my five-year-old son, Cooper, that he’s the love of my life. I told him he is my favorite person in the world. I asked, “Who is your favorite person in the world?” I obviously thought he would say me. He smiled and pointed to himself.
All I could do is shout, “YES!!!!! Love yourself first forever, honey!”
This story with Cooper reminded me of another time a young child taught an adult about the power of self-love. On my way to the airport from a conference in June 2019, my driver opened up about how he has a hard time believing in himself. And when I say “my driver” – I mean the hotel driver that was the most expensive ride of my trip, but I needed to meet this guy. I’m sure of it. He told me about a career fair he attended last week. He just graduated from college, but English is his second language. He was soft-spoken. He is not loud like his daughter who he can hear laughing across a room (aka me too, sister)!
He asked for advice on how to tell his story and market himself. In 45 seconds, I tried to summarize my keynote presentation from Ball State about personal branding – focusing on WHO you are vs. WHAT you do. He smiled incredibly big as I shared my (3) words with him that describe who I am.
He told me about his nephew who just interviewed for preschool. He said, “An interview for preschool. Can you imagine? I would be so confident and prepared if I started in preschool!”
I said, “I know, marketing yourself is hard at first, but this practice gets better and easier! And, confidence is grown from discomfort.”
He told me that his niece was upset she couldn’t interview because she was too young – only 2 years old. But the teacher went along with her request to be interviewed.
The teacher asked, “Who is your favorite person?”
The young girl pointed to her chest and said her own name. This little honey already knows to love herself first – being her own favorite person – is the secret to life!
My driver started crying as he told me this story.
He said, “I wish I felt that way too.” The world can beat us down, that’s for damn sure. But if we look in the mirror and treat our body and mind like we are our favorite person – anything is possible! As I left the car, I said, “Have a lovely day – be your favorite person today and every single day, my friend!”
I hope these stories are reminders of the power of self-love. When you love yourself, you take better care of yourself. Your energy is better and you attract magical people in your life. When you invest in yourself, you change your life. When you learn how to reframe negative thoughts and practice positive thinking, you give yourself control over your mind. You don’t let the thoughts, expectations, or comments from others drive who you become because you already know what you are and what you want in life. You know why you love yourself today and you have a goal for who you aim to become one day.
When you love yourself first, you don’t have to search for love and acceptance in the wrong places.
When you find comfort in your own body and mind, you can celebrate small milestones and accomplishments that make you proud!
And when you feel joy within yourself instead of expecting other people to make you happy, you will live a whole new life!
So, what do you do? Where do you start if you struggle with self-love?
Pick one thing. Pick one thing you love about yourself. Start small, but stop telling yourself that story of self-doubt. Stop telling yourself that you aren’t good enough. Stop calling yourself hurtful names. Stop saying you’ll be happier 20 lbs from now. If you’re happy at 293 lbs, you’ll be happy at 185. I am living proof.
Be your favorite person today, no matter where you are on your journey. Love yourself like that inner 5-year-old wants you to love yourself, my dear.