- Get a hobby –
Seriously, find something – anything – that you are good at or want to be good at and that you enjoy or want to enjoy. Don’t overthink this step. We live in a diverse world with diverse offerings and there is a place for you. Do you have a “weird” idea…GREAT! Do you have a “basic” idea…GREAT! Take off with it.
When you spend time doing a hobby, it starts to give you an identity. If you could see yourself being the guy that makes birdhouses, the girl that bakes or the person who knits kittens with adorable little noses, then gather your supplies and make time in your schedule to get it going.
I enjoy going to vender markets and craft fairs. It never ceases to amaze me the creative and unique things people come up with to sell! This past weekend I went to one and saw booths selling:
- Bookmarks made from parts of old books
- Journals made from old kids books
- Candles poured into teacups
- Birdhouses from repurposed wood
- Thrift store finds being upcycled again at a “sustainable boutique”
- Maps cut into shapes and framed
I like to follow crafters and unique hobbies on social media and some of them include:
- mudlarking (look it up)
- repurposing furniture
- fitness experts
- mental health advocates
I tell you this so that you have a very small set of examples available to you. You could try anything from fencing to stamp collecting! The more you engage in the hobby, the more it will give you the message that you are interesting, you have things to talk about, you are worthy of people’s time and attention and you have a purpose!
2. Treat your body with kindness –
Low self-esteem generally leads people to degrade their bodies and personalities. I hear self-deprecating jokes, no self-love and I see people engaging in harmful habits, because they just don’t care. They don’t seem to think that they are worth their own time, attention and kindness.
Harmful habits include (but are certainly not limited to) being promiscuous, smoking/vaping, avoidance of exercise, not eating in healthy ways, overspending, self-harm, making jokes at your own expense, not trying new things, and binge watching television series.
Treating your body with kindness is a skill that takes time to develop. Making choices to nurture your body instead of damaging your body will feel foreign and uncomfortable initially. Kristin Neff’s work on self-compassion is a great place to start. Just like learning any new activity, you might not feel very successful initially; however, with practice you will develop a stronger set of muscles.
Treating your body with kindness might include:
- drinking more water or hot tea
- taking a bath
- using those face masks you have gotten as gifts
- going for a walk on your lunch break or after dinner
- eating vegetables
- putting lotion on your skin
- telling yourself positive messages
- using affirmation cards
- creating art
- organizing your area
Give yourself the message that you are loved and worth of your own love, time, and affection.
Change what you see –
I believe that television and social media can be visual toxins. If you see people complaining and judging on social media, if you follow “The Jones” or “Suzie Sunshine” and feel you will never be enough, if you watch the evening news and/or violent and vulgar shows, then you might find your thoughts turning to darker topics more often than you’d like. It might be trendy to take in these negative viewing options and it may be topic of conversation commonly; however, these types of shows generally fuel judgmental chatter.
Judgment begets judgment. If at first you start judging others (i.e. from watching the news or social media), it’s only a matter of time before that judgment turns inward toward yourself. Judging then leads to anger (at others) and shame (at yourself). Taking in negative will make you negative.
I urge you to unfollow and/or block pages and people that make you feel badly about yourself on social media. Delete social media accounts that are only used for comparison or unhealthy habits. If you are going to be on social media, be sure to follow positive accounts that inspire, encourage or amaze you! You can follow artists, mental health advocates, friends and/or pages that educate you. If you are going to watch television or movies, be sure to watch content that is funny, heart-warming, or educational.
Try these three steps for a month and see how you feel about yourself then!