Think about the way you talk to yourself as if you were another person talking to you. Would you want to be friends with that person? 

Are you kind to yourself? Do you respect the body that keeps your soul safe? 

I definitely am not kind to myself, but I'm working on it. I think we can all agree that sometimes it is easier to put yourself down than to compliment yourself, only because it's the way the world taught you how to handle your flaws. 

Friends, today I'd like to share a struggle I've been going through recently. As a high school student, it is hard to learn to love yourself because every day you are bombarded with articles in magazines about how to make boys like you, how to get a bigger butt, or a lot of other "tips" on how to be attractive. Our culture has significantly impacted the way girls view themselves, me being one of them. I've struggled with feeling good about myself for quite some time now, but I'm finally at a point where I love my body and myself, because I'm pretty awesome. 

For some reason, self love is being stigmatized as being "cocky" and "full of yourself." Friends, self love, apart from loving God, is one of the most important things you can do! You can't love others if you don't love yourself. Throughout my life, I've noticed a trend in myself recently: 

  • I talk negatively about myself to others
  • I set myself up for failure by expecting every aspect of my life to be perfect all the time
  • I hurt my body by choosing to not take care of it through unhealthy eating and other harmful choices

Theses behaviors cause me to hate myself and ultimately harm my relationships with other people. No one wants to be around someone who is negative all the time. 

So how do you love yourself? Here are 10 things I do daily to make sure I'm taking care of myself.

1. Take time to journal

Journaling can be very therapeutic. Write out all your feelings. Write about the things you don't like about yourself and then tear up the paper. Write down all of your strengths. Write about your friends, family, significant other. Write about a good day you had. Just write!

2. Speak kindly of yourself

Enough with the self-depreciating jokes. They aren't funny, and quite frankly, they make people feel uncomfortable. Speak highly of yourself, after all, you are a child of God. 

3. Confront your emotions 

Binge eating, procrastinating, shopping, and drinking can all be used as a distraction from your emotions. Take a few breaths and think about the way you are feeling and why you are feeling that way. 

4. Start exercising 

If you don't like the way your body looks or don't feel comfortable, exercising can help! Not because it makes you thinner, but because you are helping out your body by leading a healthy lifestyle. Accompanied with healthy foods, exercising can help your mind be happier! 

5. Start a new hobby

Are you ever envious of someone because they're really good at something? You are just as capable of being awesome. Learn a new language, collect minerals, learn how to knit, take voice lessons. The sky is the limit on what you can learn to do now thanks to the internet and YouTube. 

6. Work on spiritual growth

This one has been tough for me. I was comfortable without God, but I was so so so sad without Him. Life can be difficult when you are following His will for you. You don't have to know the whole Bible to have a relationship with God, you just have to have a little faith. Pray about your life. Take baby steps. Find a group of friends that will encourage you on your walk with God. Get involved in a church. God wants you to be happy, and by being His follower, you will have so much joy in life that you didn't have before. That doesn't mean you won't have trials, but it does mean you will have God right there with you when you do go through hard times.

7. Let go

Do you have a grudge that you're holding against someone? It's only hurting you. Learn to forgive and your life will be so much better.

8. Be patient with yourself

You're human. You are going to make mistakes. Self love is a long journey and it takes A LOT of patience. 

9. Forgive yourself 

You know that stupid thing you said back in 8th grade? No one else remembers it. Let go of what you can't change and embrace your awkwardness. You're doing the best you can. 

10. Be real

Don't try to sugar coat anything. If you're going through a hard time, talk it out with someone. Keeping your feelings bottled up is not healthy and only leads to bigger problems. Love authentically. You'll thank yourself later.

Because the Bible calls you to "love your neighbor as yourself," you can't love anyone else until you love you. Together with our love, we can help each other, heal the world, and help ourselves. Love yourself, you're the best you around.