When I was 12 years old, I can remember watching my Gram get ready for a night out with my Granddad. Curled up on her bed, I watched her walk barefoot from one room to the other; her logically smooth system. Curling her hair, thickening her eyeliner, making herself a dirty martini, picking out the perfect broche to match her outfit; an unforced routine that will forever stand out as one of my fondest memories. Although she would never admit to it due to her unpretentious conscious, age has only made her more beautiful. If you weren’t already taken aback by her warm complexion and softly strong features, her smile is sure to make you feel at ease. Maybe I’m biased, but I know a lot of people who would agree that she is by far one of the most lovely humans in this world. In and out.
Aside from all of that, (like there could be more!?), she is confident in who she is. It is my absolute favorite thing about her. She is unashamed and bold, fearlessly stays on top of what’s fashionable, and stands her ground, always. It is beyond admirable, and I catch myself doing the “what-would-gram-do” in my most self-doubting moments. I want to glow like her, and she has unknowingly taught me that the glow starts with yourself. Women who shine, shine through self-love. Not narcissism. Not vanity. Loving who they are, maybe laughing at who they are, but unapologetically being who they are.
With Gram remaining the core catalyst among secrets to self-love, I thought I’d share some of the ways I’ve applied her astuteness to my everyday life. We all deserve love, and maybe if we gave it to ourselves, we’ll give it to others in turn.
20. If you got it, flaunt it.
Love your hips? Buy the jeans that accentuate them. Excited about your recent growth in cup size? Get the low cut shirt, dammit! It’s 2015, you’re allowed to have both class and ass.
19. Learn to enjoy your own company.
Just because you have a free afternoon doesn’t mean you should ask all of your Facebook friends their availability. Go to your favorite coffee shop with a book, take a walk, see a movie, be the girl that other people look at and say, “Wow, she’s here all alone. I could never do that.” The only reason we’re uncomfortable with unaccompanied dates is because we don’t try them.
18. Post the damn selfie!
The greatest thing about selfies is the full control. Angle, hair, smile, filter: it’s all you. Don’t be ashamed—take advantage of the opportunity and post your favorite! It’s an opening to feel good about yourself; do it.
17. Don’t be afraid to buy the red lipstick.
You can’t wear red lipstick, and not feel pretty. Red lipstick is your alter-ego, and she is fierce.
16. Stop apologizing for everything you do.
I catch myself doing this ALL. THE. TIME. It’s hard not to, especially if you’re a people-pleaser to a fault. I get it, you don’t want to hurt anyone. But don’t hurt yourself in the midst of making sure you never offend the entire human race. Do you. Do it loud. If someone is legitimately hurt, then it’s up to them to tell you.
15. Pamper yourself.
Treat yo self to a manicure, or invest in a new car. Feel good about the fact that you can afford to do nice things for yourself. And then thank yourself with some ice cream, why don’t ya.
14. Wear sexy underwear, for yourself.
The irony in Victoria’s Secret is the fact that it’s really not a secret at all. It’s pretty much the opposite of a secret. It’s a very fleshly announcement. A promiscuous proclamation, if you will. While that’s all fun and games, I’m a realist. And sometimes, I do keep my undies a secret. And it’s fun! It’s this little inside joke you create with yourself: the guy weighing your take-out salad bar has no idea that your underwear says Very Sexy. And that’s just entertaining.
13. Force yourself to look in the mirror and find something you like.
Daily affirmations are a thing, and they work. Look at yourself, find something you like, and be grateful for it. The more you do it, the less psychotic it will feel, trust me.
12. Stop stalking that perfect girls Instagram; look at yours instead.
We all have that one perfect girl we follow who looks as if she’s basically a photographer for H&M. Her life is perfect. Her hair is perfect. Her boyfriend is perfect. Worship all you want, but force yourself to look at your profile after the swooning is complete. Don’t close the app feeling bad about yourself. Look back on all of your post-worthy pictures and be reminded of how perfect you are, and how much fun your life has been.
11. Surround yourself with up-lifters.
We all know those people who just wait for their opening to hurdle in and wedge your pride in half. The diggers. The energy suckers. The Negative Nancy’s of the world. Unfortunately, they are unavoidable and arguably necessary to the world. So if we can’t escape them, increase the ratio of your up-lifers as much as you can. Surround yourself with the people who aren’t afraid to compliment you, and make you feel good about yourself. Look for them, rein them in, and never let them go.
10. Stop saving champagne for a special occasion. Today is a special occasion.
You can’t hold a glass of bubbly in your hand and feel anything less than fabulous. It’s just not allowed.
9. Dress up even when you don’t feel like it.
I could be in the midst of my worst hangover to date, and Gram will still advise me to put some mascara on. “It’ll make you feel better,” she says. And you know what, it usually does.
8. Learn to compartmentalize, not compare.
You’re allowed to look at Blake Lively and wonder what it feels like to be the epitome of rightness. She’s just so, right, right? But you’re not allowed to compare yourself to her. Don’t do it. She is Blake Lively, and she glows because she is in her world, loving her world. You are in your world, and you should love it too.
7. Take a fashion risk.
Buy those leather leggings and wear them on your birthday. Feel a little out there and love every second.
6. Open up about your insecurities.
There are things you don’t like about yourself. I know, me too. And everyone else. Don’t hide them. Be open, and talk about them. Preferably with the up lifters and not the energy-suckers we talked about. Maybe you’ll make some sense of them and figure out what it is you don’t like. Maybe not, but either way, they are a part of you, and avoiding them will only bring shame. Shame is not our friend.
5. Set goals for yourself and take them seriously.
We are all guilty of having expectations of others, but why don’t we have expectations for ourselves? Set a daily goal, a monthly goal—whatever you want it to be. Do something for yourself that will bring positive change to your life, and feel good about the triumph. Celebrate with champagne and kill half the birds on this list with one fabulous stone.
4. Spend extra time on the lashes.
Because long lashes make everything better. Trust me. Invest the time.
3. Remind yourself of your good qualities every now and then.
It seems too easy to get down on ourselves about yesterday’s mistake. That conversation you forced someone into. The second slice of pizza you had at midnight. Well STOP. In the name of love. It’s a waste of energy. Every time you concentrate on a quality in yourself that you don’t like, (and you’d be surprised how often we do it), force yourself to think of a quality you do like. I’m startin’ with the man in the mirror!
2. Listen to Meghan Trainor.
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.
1. Prove your bravery to yourself.
When something terrifies you, do it. Even if it doesn’t make any sense. Even if you’re diving into a pool full of unknowns. Do it, and no matter what comes of it, you will feel braver, more resiliently equipped because of it. Climbing back up from a downfall isn’t fun, but you can do it, because you’re you. And what’s not to love about you.