Learning to love yourself

Learning to love yourself

It seems so many women in their late twenties and early thirties are now wishing they'd spent more time on themselves; concentrating on their needs, hopes and wishes -asking themselves what they'd like to do with their lives instead of chasing men! So we asked the experts for some tips and advice on how to find yourself, no matter what age you are. 

We understand that all relationships can be tricky; whether you’re with lovers, partners, or even the relationship with yourself. Being happy, confident, and being able to truly love yourself is sometimes quite hard to do, particularly if you’ve recently spilt up with someone after a relationship has broken down. Denise Knowles, Counsellor at Relate says ‘Trying to understand how a relationship finished isn’t always easy, especially if your ex isn’t willing to talk. Give yourself some time to grieve and recognise what it is you’re grieving about. It’s not unusual to feel rejected and lonely, so try and focus on things and the people who haven’t rejected you. Recognise things that you are good at, embrace all the compliments and encouragement you receive, as this will dissolve the grief and feelings of rejection.’ This in turn unblocks your self-esteem and brings with it lots of confidence. Keep yourself busy with friends and family –this takes your focus away from any sad emotions, and puts the focus back on you, and on having fun with people who will be there to support and encourage you.

If the idea of being single on Valentine’s Day fills you with dread (or tears), then take a deep breath and try to appreciate just being you. It’s a tough one to do, it can feel like a tall order, but, it’s worth doing, as ultimately, we need to have a good relationship with ourselves, before being in an intimate relationship with others. Patrick McCurry, Psychotherapist for Greatvine says ‘sometimes, our culture can make a woman feel that there’s something wrong with them if they’re single, and at Valentine’s Day, this pressure can mount even further. Try to go with the flow, -if you’re feeling sad or lonely, just allow these thoughts to ‘be’ without giving them extra energy by fighting them or by judging yourself. Instead, focus on giving yourself some care and attention; this can be a relaxing bubble bath, a pampering treat, watching your favourite TV programme, or perhaps a walk outside in the countryside, where you can nourish your deeper sense of self.’ It’s important to give yourself a break (from giving yourself a tough time!), as it helps stop any negative voices going-on in your head and allows positivity in to your mind and body. (Greatvine offers individual advice by phone from experts in many fields).

Start to focus on you and what you’d love to try if you had the time and money. A woman who has something else going-on in her life that she’s passionate about (apart from a man!) is savvy and in turn this makes them interesting and attractive people to be around. McCurry adds ‘following your passions and interests gives you something interesting to talk about, and can even be the place where you meet a special person! By making time for your interests, your enthusiasm flows, and you’re also telling the whole world that you are important, which is a vital component of building confidence and self-esteem.’ So, set about creating a busy and active life; go out and meet people,  love your work, engage in interesting and fun activities (from book clubs, yoga classes, sewing club, or even rock climbing!). Try to resist making a man-shaped whole in your life, then waste time by looking at it longingly, as trust us, it doesn’t work!

Not everyone is body-confident; most of us have hang-ups and fears. This has a knock on effect in our relationships too; however, the good news is that you can do something about this. ‘We see many women who lack confidence with their body, they’re unsure of what gives them pleasure, and how to articulate their needs. It impacts their ability to relax and enjoy the company of men. In counselling, we explore ways they can relax and communicate their needs. We also explore the impact of family, media and friends, who all influence how they feel about their bodies, so they can truly discover who they really are.’ Says Knowles.  Granted, it’s not an easy task -begin by taking small steps towards feeling confidant, relaxed and body-happy. This can be from increasing daily exercise (using the stairs instead of lifts), doing a class or two at the gym, booking an appointment with a stylist to tackle your hair worries, to taking a good look at your diet, and if need be, upping your intake of fresh foods, and ditching the ‘bad’ foods for at least 3-4 days per week. Once you notice the positive changes, this really spurs you on to achieve more, and be body confident. McCurry adds ‘improving your relationship with your body is an important step in re-gaining your sexual confidence. Not only is it important to treat your body well, though regular exercise and healthy eating, but it’s important to be at ease with yourself and accept how you are, the good and the bad bits! Help yourself by focusing on those parts you like, such as wearing suitable flattering clothes, treating your hair to a luxury conditioning treatment, getting your nails done, whatever pleases you!’


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