- Let yourself make mistakes
It’s cliché, but it’s true. Say something you didn’t mean? Act really awkward around a guy you like? Get a bad grade on an exam? Let off a little too much steam this weekend? It’s easy to keep thinking about something, trying to figure out what went wrong or how you could fix it or just plain sulking in regret. But all that does is cause negativity to domino effect right into other parts of your life. Remember that one moment or grade or guy doesn’t define you; you are a whole, intricate, multi-dimensional person who is constantly learning, growing, and changing – that’s what makes life beautiful. Love yourself by seeing the whole person you are – that’s how everyone else sees you.
- Hold yourself accountable
If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Same for things you say you’re not going to do. Letting yourself make mistakes doesn’t mean not facing them or growing from them. Recognize what contributed to what happened, and make a plan to try to avoid similar mistakes in the future. Then stick to it. Love yourself by being committed to yourself.
- Surround yourself with people who support you
Think about which friends you trust enough to turn to when you’re having a bad day, or need advice. Who are those friends that really listen to you, and who make you feel encouraged and appreciated for who you are? Surround yourself with those people. Love yourself by investing in people who see and love the real you, and challenge you to be your best self.
- Chase your passions
Think about what gives you energy; what things are you willing to work on for hours, regardless of the pay-off? It’s easy to get booked with responsibilities and commitments, and to sideline the things that really make you come alive. Whether it’s a club, sport, cause, or just a random hobby, make time for it! Love yourself by pursuing what brings you joy.
- Compare yourself to… yourself
We know we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others, but it’s a lot easier said than done! Earlier this year, all my amazing friends overwhelmed me – they’re funny, smart, beautiful, athletic, talented – the list goes on. But then I realized – I am one person, not seven! It’s easy to feel inadequate when you’re comparing yourself to a whole group of people’s gifts and talents. Love yourself by remembering you are one person, and a unique part of every group.
- Learn to receive
As we get older, we’re told to become more and more self-sufficient – that being mature means taking care of yourself. But then asking for help or leaning on others can make us feel bothersome or incompetent, which is not true. Part of being human is relying on each other, and letting people be there for you shows that you trust and need them, too. Love yourself by accepting the love others are offering to you.
- Set small goals, and find little successes
We all have things we want to work on, but big goals can be discouraging if we don’t find success right away. Set a small goal for the day or the week, and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when you meet it. Small goals are what accomplish big goals. Love yourself by giving yourself permission to take one step at a time.
- Reward yourself with real rewards
Bags of M&M’s, shopping sprees, skipping workouts, or extra-late nights out – whatever you reward yourself with, make sure it really rewards you in the long run. You work hard to make yourself healthier and better able to accomplish your goals, and your rewards should do that too. Love yourself by remembering that you deserve real rewards.
- Feed your spirit
Especially in college, it’s important to remember that you are more than just a brain and a body. Call it your soul, your heart, your spirit –it’s the part of yourself where you hold your deepest values and beliefs. Find or do things that inspire you and bring you hope and peace. Explore what you believe and why. Love yourself by loving and nurturing your spiritual side.
- Be thankful for yourself
One of the best ways to love others is to celebrate their presence in your life. It’s the same for yourself – take time to recognize what you love about yourself and the amazing gifts you have. Love yourself by learning to love who you are.