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4 Steps Toward Loving Yourself MORE

A lot of women are too self-critical for their own good. Look at this quick checklist to get to the root of your frustration and do something about it.

Paris Hilton“I don’t hate anything about my body. I love everything about myself…,” Paris Hilton replied without batting an eyelash when asked what she hated about her body.

Well, if that isn’t confidence, then I don’t know what is! Whether or not she was being sincere or even sane for that matter, you've got to give the infamous Paris credit for being vocal about loving her body and herself, flaws and all.

It’s no secret that we have secret body issues. We wear dark colors to conceal problem areas like saddle bags, sagging arms, or a wretched scar. We contour our face to appear slimmer. Others wear contact lenses that make their eyes appear bigger and lighter. Some bleach their hair because they want to see if blondes really do have more fun. See, a lot of what we consider part of our kikay regimen are in fact our indirect ways of addressing the things we slightly dislike or utterly despise about ourselves.

However, let’s set our makeup brushes aside and realize that these quick fixes are temporary solutions that merely act as Band-Aid for our issues with body image. Oftentimes, our body issues don’t merely stem from the obvious cellulite or hideous stretch marks. There are many underlying issues we often take for granted or brush away.

So before you continue to batter yourself with harsh criticism, look at this quick checklist to get to the root of all your frustration and pain:

1. Do you rely on compliments from others to feel good about yourself?

Your appearance definitely has a large impact on how you feel about yourself. However, relying on others for compliments or taking in others' insults so easily make you easy target for people who want to put you down and hinder you from becoming successful in all areas of your life. If people see that you are emotionally independent of their opinions about you (excluding constructive criticism), then they have no control over you whatsoever.

So the next time someone says you’ve got a big ass, rather than squirm away, embarrassed, say this to yourself in true Cosmo fashion: “That’s why I look so damn good in those skinny jeans! I love my curves!” And believe it.

2. How do you deal with depression?

Depression is one of the hardest diseases to heal from. Self-pity can corrupt anyone’s emotional growth and waste away one’s self-esteem, which may result to isolation, eating disorders, compulsive shopping, drinking, or worse, suicide.

A study done by Grannett Health Services at Cornell University found that when a person hates what they see when they look in the mirror, they are more likely to have problems with disordered eating and are less likely to set and achieve fitness goals. However, when someone feels good about their body and what it can do and the goals it can reach, they tend to have very few issues with food.

When you are at peace with your body issues, you can easily focus your talents and efforts on other areas of your life: family, spirituality, career, and hey, let’s not forget a great sex life! (A safe one, of course!)

3. Are you in a meaningful and happy relationship?

If your current relationship makes you question your identity and self-worth, then it’s time to reassess if you should continue with it.

There are many women out there victimized by partners who are emotionally and/or psychologically abusive, making them believe they are never good enough and that they should be grateful they are even loved by their partners. However, it's actually these abusers who are afraid of being alone. They prey on weak partners who don’t realize their own worth by drowning their spirits into thinking they cannot function or live without them.

As a result, these emotionally battered women end up hating themselves and relying on false gratification like clothes, plastic surgery, and more. They put so much focus on perfecting their appearance since they know this can easily mask how they truly feel about themselves inside.

When you’ve found the courage to step up and walk away, you discover a truly confident woman with much self love, just waiting to be set free. You then realize, “How could I even have allowed myself to be with such a loser?”

4. What type of friends or family surround you?

They say our body is a temple. So why invite those who only wish to thrash it with negativity, sadness, anger, and pain? We cannot blame ourselves for trusting in the so-called goodness of people, most especially our family. However, truth is, even the most unlikely of people can disappoint us.

If your environment only brings you self-doubt or loathing, you need to put yourself FIRST and avoid their company. People who feel terrible about themselves need to feed their insecurity by making others question themselves, too. Do NOT be one of those victims. If this process only makes you lose friends and family, then they were never those things in the first place.

Remember, how people perceive you is often a result of how you perceive yourself. If you respect yourself, you would not dare do anything to corrupt your mind and body. So if you live life vicariously, not caring about the consequences, then that alone says how much you value yourself.

It’s not how sexy your curves are that makes you attractive. Rather, it’s how you embrace yourself, flaws and all, with a sense of humor and confidence. Confidence is knowing there’s so much more to you than a tiny dress size.

With your morals intact, the one person you should only be trying to measure up to is none other than yourself.

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