Sunday, 9 November 2014

Inspiration Hour: Be Nice to Yourself, Okay?

'If you can't love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?' RuPaul

In July, I graduated university. This should have been a happy time, I had done better than I could have ever expected to do, after years of telling myself how stupid I was, how inarticulate, consistently assaulting myself over and over again with thoughts that I was never good enough. I saw my parents and how proud they were of me, and it was an extremely overwhelming experience.

The truth was, at this incredibly happy time, that I had never felt more miserable. I had been through an extremely hard time, a mixture of exterior issues and self inflicted hatred, and getting up in the morning, and seeing the day, was a struggle. I had a degree and a job with some wonderful people, yet I was still unhappy. I saw nowhere for my feelings to go, constantly floored by a sense of loss and intense self loathing. I didn't treat myself well, because I didn't want to be myself.  photo 10thaugust3_zps29c4216b.jpg

It got to the point where enough was enough. Something just clicked - that I couldn't go on treating myself like I did, telling myself that I was stupid, useless, socially awkward, ugly, misshapen etc. Frankly, I decided to grab life by the er, balls and do something about it. I understand how hard it is to get out of the slump, believe me, but for me personally, I have to get to a point where I am so low, that my only option is to pull myself out again.

I took steps to look after myself health wise. After a few weeks, I started to feel significantly more motivated, alongside this, I made plans to see friends, to go for coffee with people I hadn't seen for a while, to meet new people. I started to meditate, repeat positive affirmations, write lists of everything I wanted to do in my life. These things all put me on the path to where I am today, which incidentally, is a much better place.

I want to highlight the importance of accepting myself, and even loving myself, in the wider scheme of becoming a happier person. In the past I had always scorned those 'new agey, arty farty, aspirational' schools of thought. As a result, it's made me a cynical person. But in my journey of embracing new things, new ideas, and general happiness, self love has been a big ol' part of it. I just wanted to share a few thoughts with people who look down at their body and hate every bit, with people who look at their art and curse their ineptitude, with people who never feel like they have the confidence to go out and get what they want:

If you tell people that you're terrible, what choice will they have but to believe you?

Again, I'd like to refer to my deeply wise pal Maire and something she once said to me (she gives off some serious Dalai Lama vibes on a regular basis): If you apologise for everything and tell people that you're rubbish, they're going to associate negativity with you, and if they don't know you that well, they might even believe you. You don't have to go round singing your own praises, but giving off an air of confidence, self assertion, and cutting the negativity will attract people to you and attract yourself to um, yourself. For instance, if someone compliments you, instead of going 'nah, I don't agree, I look terrible', thank them, and feel awesome about the fact that somebody thinks you're great.

Reflect on and analyse yourself, but in a good way

This is really just personal preference, but I love writing down my intentions, dreams etc. My student mentor once told me to write down all the positives in my life, and there were a lot. I have really fantastic, supportive close friends, I live in an amazing city, I've had the opportunity to have a brilliant education, I could go on. I'd suggest you go and do that too, alongside writing down everything that you want from yourself and life, and thinking practically about ways to make that happen. Take at least 10 minutes out of every day to reflect on how you felt about yourself that day.

When you've gone and done something great for yourself, reward yourself.

After university finished, I made myself a promise that every day I would do something that scared me. That was particularly important for me, as I realised that I was pretty scared of a whole lot of things. It's important to push yourself, but also to give yourself time to do the things you enjoy. My blogging pal Sarah wrote an amazing listed blog post about all the things you can do to encourage self love, and I'd really encourage you to go and read that. My own personal ones are making music playlists, having baths, and writing blog posts, funnily enough! I also eat a lot of chocolate but let's not talk about that.

When you feel good about yourself, that's when things can get better. 

'I'll be more confident, when I lost weight.' 'I'll ask that person out, when my skin gets better' 'I'll start writing, when I've read 20,000 more books' - we've all said similar things to ourselves, I'm guessing. I always said that one day I would be happy, when things improve. Then I realised that things would start to improve when I took on a more positive demeanour and actually saw the good side to myself, and guess what? They did! The truth is, that you should be enough, not an exterior thing that you want. Things don't necessarily have to change for you to see them in a different light. Stop giving yourself time frames and accept that when you start to properly, truly like yourself, then that's most of the work done for you. Crazy, I know.

I really hope this can be of help to some people in its own rambly, jumbled way. I'd really love to hear more about your own personal experiences of self love or self esteem issues if you're willing to share.

Resources that helped me:
Connor Manning's videos often focus on advice, and he's a really enthusiastic, inspiring guy.
Laila, one of the happiest people I know, wrote a post about perking yourself up.
Mike Falzone is insanely wise and when he tells you home truths, it makes you feel like they've been obvious all along.
Sarah's blog more generally encourages self love and being good to yourself, and it's awesome.
Zoe London has written some really excellent posts on topics of confidence, self love etc. This particular one about 'becoming more positive' really inspired me.
My best friend Lucy made this video about confidence, and she's amazing, so yeah, go watch that.

Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram


  1. Thank you. This post was exactly what I needed today. I've had a hard few months and an especially bad few days, and sometimes the slump is a very dark place indeed. I want to start thinking more practically about how to improve my self love, rather than just distracting myself from the whole problem. I'm really glad you're in a better place now and feel more positive. I think you're awesome! Well done for sharing this post sweetie, I'm sure it'll help loads of people the way it's helped me. Hugs

    Holly xxx

    1. I think you are equally awesome! You come across as such an articulate, intelligent person Holly, and I hope you feel a lot better this week! Thanks so much for commenting xx

  2. this is such a wonderful post, one i can take so much from. it only when i read words like these and from someone else's point of view it encourages me to look at things differently. we have so much to be positive about when we list them we surprise ourselves how terrible things are not. kinda thing. i think i had to hit rock bottom a few years ago to start moving forward and being proud of little achievements. i really need to take better care of my mind and how i see myself. i always put things off, and my mood is always a reflection on how i look tbh. skin problems! will take ur advie though and try these tips. as above, i think you are amazing, you, your blog and ur wardrobe haha. x

    1. It is interesting how sometimes we need that wake up call to truly understand what needs to change. I hope you can find the strength to realise what an awesome person you are, skin problems or not. Thanks so so much for commenting :D xxx

  3. This is such a lovely post! It is so important to treat yourself nicely & it makes you a better person too :)
    This was really amazingly written, well done!
    - F -

    1. Thank you so so much Frances! Exactly, if you don't treat yourself well, then what is the point in anything? xx

  4. Thank you for writing this. I'm not particularly good at expressing myself so reading things like this really inspires me and makes me feel like I'm not alone <3

    1. Aw you're so welcome Andini :) I found this post really difficult to write but I'm so pleased it's been able to help someone! xx

  5. Awesome post! I think you are the coolest (#fangirl), so I am glad to see you taking life by those balls and launching forward in such a positive way. I am just beginning to be able to do this myself. I go through such ups and downs of looking after myself physically, which in turn has such a massive impact on my over all well being. But putting in that little bit of effort makes such a difference!
    We can do this thing they call life! And we can do it extra well by sticking together :) x

  6. This post was so perfect, and it was certainly something I needed to hear. People like you that talk about how they're trying to make the now better, instead of dwelling on how future goals will make it better let me catch myself doing that as well. It really helps me open my eyes that everything wonderful around me right now! :3

  7. Amazing post! I'm feeling very inspired and have been reading the suggested links too, thanks for sharing :D


  8. I have loved this post so much!I was scrolling around your blog because you left a comment on mine ( and I wanted to check out your blog!
    Hope you appreciate :)


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