Before we can fall IN love with ourselves, we need to look at how we fall out of love in the first place - where does our confidence go and why?
First off, I have a question - do you remember the TV adverts from the 90s that reassured you that you were going to be feeling so amazing during your period that you would be going roller skating with dogs pulling you along?
Now whilst we may not have actually believed quite those dizzying heights of unreality there is such a gap between the fantasy and the reality it is no wonder that we end up feeling vaguely disappointed with ourselves. Not because we believed that the neighbour's golden retrievers were going to be towing us along on our roller-blades, but because there weren't actually any images showing the reality of what actually happens with our bodies, and really things haven't improved very much over time.
So, before I start talking about how to fall in love with yourself, I need to acknowledge why we fall out of it in the first place.
Firstly our bodies do change A LOT, not even over long periods of time just within any given month, from one day to the next we can be unsure of what our body is going to be doing, so when we look in the mirror we're almost surprised and often disappointed in what we see. Add in things like childbirth, weight loss, weight gain, things that can happen like breast cancer. Our bodies are constantly changing in ways that we have no control over whatsoever, and we can really easily get a disconnect between how our bodies actually look and how we think they should look. These can be two completely different things, and also a lot of the time we tend to think that it's just us that has this scar or this stomach pouch or sagging skin, because these things aren't talked about very much - people don't share them - so we end up feeling like we're hiding some kind of shameful secret underneath our clothes.
So firstly I need to tell you, your body is completely normal. There's nothing going on that is so uncommon that it's just you.
The thing that you're conscious of? Everybody else has got their own thing that they are conscious of. So you have absolutely no reason to be ashamed of your body.
Secondly, when we're younger in our teens, through our twenties, we get to be quite self-centred. Not necessarily in an obnoxious way, but we don't have other priorities. We can prioritise ourselves and at that point in our lives we tend to know really well our likes and dislikes, how we want to spend our time, because we only have to consider our own thoughts, our own feelings, and then we get older and our priorities shift massively.
I'm sure that everybody with children will agree that you don't prioritise yourself, but also what we are really good at putting our partners and jobs our extended family first a lot of the time, and we go to the bottom of the pile.
The movie that is our life
In the movie of our life, where we used to be the central character, we've now become supporting actors in the movies of other people's lives.
We don't think of ourselves, we get lost as individuals in all of the different roles that we play, and we tend to forget who we are as women, as individuals, and often in particular we forget who we are as sexual women, because that becomes so at odds with the roles that we're playing the rest of the time - being a mum, in our jobs, all of that kind of stuff. So we lose track of who we are and what we want. So the keys to starting to fall in love with yourself are, firstly, being a lot more accepting of the changes that your body goes through and, loving it despite its faults and then also we need to reconnect with ourselves as individuals, and listen to what we want to do, how we want to do it, and not just be thinking of ourselves in terms of supporting other people all the time.
We need to start listening to ourselves a hell of a lot more and prioritise ourselves. Which having said it, I know it's not that easy to do, but if we can start to understand what the problems are in the first place, we're putting ourselves in a really good position to solve the problems going forward, and to actually start to feel a whole lot better about ourselves.