If there’s anything I’ve discovered in my adult life, it’s the importance of learning to love yourself—from the benefits of self-care to the value of holding yourself to a higher standard. Learning to prioritize our own emotions and needs are key to every individual's success. Unfortunately, I know as well as anyone that this can be hard to put into practice: during our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the business of life, taking in every negative interaction and personalizing it until we explode. In order to buck those impulses, we must take an active role in cultivating a positive, grateful mindset.
Fortunately, there are things we can do to point ourselves in the right direction. Here are five important values to honor every day to maintain a healthy and positive state of mind!
Forgiveness is a huge factor in everything we do, especially when it comes to our relationship with ourselves. So often we are our worst critics—when, in fact, we should be our number-one fan.
Forgiving yourself can be difficult, but it’s about understanding that who you were five minutes ago does not have to be the person you are in this current moment. Maybe you drank too much the night before and did something you regret, said something cruel to a friend, or procrastinated and didn’t prepare for that exam or important job interview. Whatever it is, let it go! You have no obligation to that person, and every moment is a new chance for a different result. Forgive yourself and move forward.
2. Set Boundaries
Although many people see boundaries as a form of limitation, they are actually your biggest source of freedom. Understanding yourself and knowing what you are and are not okay with is key to laying a strong foundation for good mental health. Surround yourself with people and environments which will complement your nature instead of bringing you down. If that little voice in the back of your mind is telling you that this is not where you want to be or how you want to be treated, listen to it.
Value yourself and know your own worth and needs!
Showing gratitude can cure even the worst of moods. On those difficult days when everything is going wrong, it’s important to acknowledge and be grateful for the things that have gone right. Even if it’s only over something very small, such as the hot water in your shower or the fact that your car started without making that funky sound you’ve been worrying about all week, acknowledging the good and being glad that it happened can help you reframe your focus.
Celebrate life and the fact that you’re alive. Even when you’re not feeling it, start naming things that you’re grateful for, and soon that list will begin to grow and grow.
Positive mind. Positive soul. Positive life.
Be honest with yourself. Sometimes we become so caught up in trying to be okay, in trying to succeed and be happy, that we actually start lying to ourselves about it. It’s perfectly okay to be hurt, or sad, or upset, and it’s even better to be honest about it.
Know your truth, and reflect on your feelings. What we resist persists, so let it out and become familiar with your own needs and emotions. If you’re feeling stuck in your life, experience and express it. You can never fully experience joy and freedom if you aren’t familiar with pain and entrapment.
5. Purpose and Goals
Set goals for yourself! We are all searching for our great purpose in life, and as we get older, it’s important to turn our focus towards reaching those goals.
But wait! What if I’m not sure what my goals are yet? Don’t sweat it. Even if you are unclear of the end game, you can still set small goals for yourself that are achievable and which you are completely committed to obtaining. Once you succeed, acknowledge and celebrate the steps that you have taken and will continue to take. Set yourself up to win!