Life is hard. This is a fact that even children are exposed to, when they enter school and encounter bullies and unfair teachers. It continues on through adulthood, as we struggle with money, fall in love and then fall out, lose friendships and get caught up in the rat race. Throughout the process of making our day-to-day life manageable, we can forget that we're human beings who, above all else, need acceptance and kindness to thrive. And we often forget that the person whose care and support has the greatest impact on us is our self. 

We're always told to step back, take a deep breath and practice self-love, but how often do we actually do that? Very often, we may not even know where to start. It's always easy to see the good in others, but in ourselves, not so much. But we have to learn to love ourselves from the inside out, and there are a few activities you can start today that will help you get in touch with all your best qualities and help you realize what a wonderful, capable person you are.

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more." - Melody Beattie

Write. You have the ability to use your hands and a pen and turn a blank sheet of paper into a capsule of thoughts, dreams and stories. Writing is incredibly cathartic. Many people try their hand at journaling or writing fiction but quit because they think they have nothing worthwhile to say, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. If you have a brain, then you can write.

Put on some of your favorite music and write the lyrics of your favorite song. Write how they make you feel. Write for 10 minutes, whatever comes to mind, without stopping. Anger, fear, frustration, happiness and everything in between can be recorded and you'd be surprised how freeing the act can be. This is for your eyes only.

Fix Up The House. Many people will find that cleaning and doing home repairs makes them feel better when they're down. Find some home improvement projects you could do, such as repainting your room a fun new color, installing nice pantry doors or planting a garden. Doing something with your hands and seeing the physical results is a nice reminder of just how useful you really are and only a small of example of how much you have to contribute to the world. Sometimes even just a little rearranging in a room can help give you a new perspective and face lift.

Cook. Mothers nourish their children, and likewise, we should nourish ourselves with delicious, healthy food that's good for our bodies and our spirits. Try and recreate your favorite childhood meals, or find a new recipe each week that you can put time and effort into. Cooking is relaxing, sometimes challenging and almost always has a great pay-off. 

Exercise. Whether it's running, lifting weights or doing yoga in the comfort of your own room, exercise is physically proven to make you feel better. Physical activity releases endorphins, which make us happy. Even if you can't do all the things you want to do, or be exactly where you want to be, you are physically capable of doing many things and sometimes just appreciating this fact can do wonders for our mental state. 

Getting Help. Some of us have a harder time accepting ourselves than others, especially if we have a rough past or have been treated poorly in relationships. If you suffer from extremely low self-esteem, depression or social phobias and find that these are impacting your life, don't be afraid to seek help from a qualified clinical professional. A psychologist can help you understand the things you can't seem to explain to yourself, and one of the greatest acts of self-love you can do is knowing when you need someone beside yourself and letting them make a difference. If you are stuck in other bad habits, addiction recovery can be a great help in giving you a much-needed boost.

We all deserve to appreciate ourselves and often times, doing things outside of our minds can help us remember our importance and value. Try implementing any one of these ideas to help you appreciate and respect yourself again.


Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and expert in health, fitness, beauty and fashion. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading a good book or hitting the gym.

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