Why You Should Improve Yourself With Love, Not Hate

nani7

We all have our insecurities. Whether you want to believe it or not, everyone has low self-esteem days (or maybe even months) where something about them is dissatisfying. And because of these qualities that lower their confidence, everyone seeks change or self-improvement in some way. This is not inherently negative, but usually it ends up that way. Wanting to better yourself is not a bad thing, but if you want to change because you hate something about yourself, this is not a positive or constructive way to improve your life and confidence.

You don’t have to hate yourself in order to want to change. Don’t use hate as a the driving force that motivates you, because if you do, positive change will not be the result.

Self-loathing in general is considered damaging to your mental health. If you try to use it to motivate you, it will only chip more of your self-esteem away, creating a counter-productive cycle. Plus, if you happen to fail or it takes longer than you planned to reach a goal, your hatred will only grow–spiraling you into an even lower self-esteem than before.

Some self-help gurus suggest turning negative thoughts about yourself into positive affirmations while others suggest changing your thinking entirely.

For example, I am obese and need to lose weight. While it can be easy for me to look in the mirror and hate myself, I know that will ultimately only make me feel worse rather than motivate a positive change.

While it can be hard, I try to change my view on my weight in order to increase my self-esteem. Instead of getting up every morning and thinking “I hate my body and I need to lose weight,” I try and think to myself “I love my body because it helps me function and live. I need to help it do it’s job better, so that’s why I should try and live a healthier lifestyle and try my hardest to drop a few pounds.”

Approaching self-improvement from this perspective helps me realize that I need to change for the better so I can live a fully and healthy life, not so that I can impress anyone.

While weight is only one way to bring down your self-esteem, take a minute to think about the way (or ways) that you belittle yourself. The things that you think or say to tear your image or yourself down and how you convince yourself you’re not good enough. Then take a deep breath and a step back and ask yourself why you think these things. Are your complaints valid? Will changing something in your life help you live a more confident and fulfilling life? If the answer is yes, then find the reason why this will improve your life and determine how to make the change–just make sure to approach it from a place of love for yourself, rather than a place of hate.

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Nani graduated in May from New Mexico State University with a bachelor's degree in Journalism and English. When she isn’t writing, you can find her listening to nostalgic 90’s music, slowly working through her Netflix queue, or arguing politics and social issues. She hopes to one day write for The New York Times.

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