My Struggle With Self-Love (+ 5 Actionable Tips)

Today I had the realization that is hard to admit and even harder to understand. 

I don’t know how to celebrate my accomplishments. It goes deeper than not being great at taking a compliment. I have no ability to give myself one. 

I used to know how, but life and loss have calloused me. I’ve allowed my fails and falls to overpower my wins so instead of enjoying the moment of accomplishment I’m preparing for the next inevitable let down.  

I always say that life is made up of the valleys, falls and fails and breaks and let down. But living is getting up after and experiencing those peaks as well. 

"But Mandy, how can you say this when you encourage us to celebrate the wins?" 

I’ve also talked about being a mosaic of brokenness. The things that I say out loud to inspire you during BURN workouts I’m simultaneously telling myself. It’s not that I have mastered it and I’m passing my knowledge onto you…quite the opposite. When I say I’m right in the trenches with you, that’s more than just in the sweat. 

I’m struggling to celebrate the good stuff too. I’m having a hard time being my own hype girl and seeing the mini wins as a win. It’s a lot easier for me to downplay my successes and much easier for me to showcase my epic failures.  

But I’ve come to realize it runs deeper than that. I’ve fallen out of step with my success. I can’t believe I was the girl that fist pumped the air with every goal scored and raced to the podium for the medals. Where did that girl go I often wonder? At what point in my life did that awesome feeling of pride get replaced with doubt, hesitation, and wanting to hide rather than shine? 

I won’t say indifference because I love the feeling of accomplishment. I love it. I love setting goals and crushing them and setting more. There’s not a bone in my body that I could label indifferent. 

However, life has trained me backward to focus on the misses and downplay the wins. And I’m recognizing that I need to address this and redefine this script. 

It won’t happen overnight and I’m okay with that. Because clearly, my calloused heart didn’t happen overnight either.  Callouses happen over a ton of wear and tear. And all callouses aren’t bad. Some are necessary. They serve a purpose so when you strengthen muscles they’re tough enough to withstand the rough. Our grip becomes better when our callouses become harder. 

But I don’t want that to happen to my heart and my ability to celebrate my achievements. I want to soften the armor I’ve built up around achievement so I can ride that sweet wave of success and allow it to do what it’s meant to do: inspire and fuel our hearts so we quench the next goal.  

I want to get back to the fist pumps and proud moments earned. As long as I’m alive I’ll be chasing that joy. I just need to figure out a way to show myself some grace and allow myself to enjoy it too. 

Too often we offer grace and forgiveness to others, but not to ourselves. I want to tell you that you need to fill your own cup first. Self-care is not selfish. It is essential. Your emotions are contagious. Your energy is contagious. And when you are positive you attract positive people and things like a magnet. 

A lot of us are extremely self-critical and struggle with showing ourselves love. Dr. Kristin Neff defines self-kindness as “being warm and understanding towards ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism.” 

If you’re like me, That’s such an overwhelming concept, but we need to begin somewhere. 

The following tips are how I’ve been starting my self-love journey and celebrating my wins…

1. Pick your song

When I don’t have the words I rely heavily on quotes and songs to better express myself. So this is my challenge to you: pick a love song and dedicate it to yourself. It sounds silly, but try it! It’s where I’ve started my self-love journey. Listen to the lyrics as though they were written entirely for you and allow yourself to truly believe them. 

2. Put yourself on the list 

Make sure you put something on the list every day that you are excited about or look forward to. It can be trying a new recipe, taking a relaxing bath, whatever you need it to be! Just make sure it encourages that self-love.

3. Pick a mantra 

A mantra is a statement repeated frequently. You can recite your mantra in your head as you’re getting ready or throughout a difficult workout to keep you focused. Some examples are, “Every day I am better” or “I am deserving of all good things.” Whatever it is, write it down. Say it. Believe it. The more you recite it, the easier it is to believe. You will start looking for things (consciously or unconsciously) in your life that affirm it. 

4. Cleanse your feed

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, we’re all on social media. Check-in with the content your consuming. Are you following people that you compare yourself to? There’s a difference between aspiration and needless comparison. Make sure the people you follow are ones that you’d actually want to talk to in real life or inspire you to be better and grow as your authentic self. Cleanse your feed by unfollowing the rest and therefore making your feed a positive place to be.

5. Do all things with love

Your life’s path is paved in part by the decisions you make. When you have a decision to make, however big or small, ask yourself if it’s being made out of fear or love. Making decisions out of fear is self-sabotage. For example, are you working out for a fear of what your body will look like if you don’t? Or are you working out because you love what exercise and hard efforts do for your body, confidence, mental health, etc? Sometimes all it takes is a perspective shift. If your driving force to work out is fear, you’ll fall right back into a mental pit come illness, injury, etc. Even hard decisions, like choosing to work out when you don’t feel like it, can be made out of love because discipline is empathy for your future self. Do all things with love as the driving force and see how it changes your world.

Self-love is a muscle I am building every day and some days are much easier than others. Some days self-love isn’t always high on my mind, and I slip into old ways of thinking. It happens. And I don’t pretend to hide it. Acting in a self-loving manner really feels like reprogramming my brain sometimes. It takes a conscious effort. It is my hope that my story and tips help you either feel heard or help you on your journey.


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