I realized something as I was getting ready for bed the other night.
We all have our night time routines, yes? Take your contacts out, brush your teeth, wash your face, maybe floss on a good day.
Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of the bedtime routine. By the time I’m ready for bed I’m tired. Half the time I’m getting up after falling asleep on the couch watching a movie (ask my past roommates, they can confirm). When I’m ready to fall asleep, that’s it, that’s the ballgame. I don’t want anything standing in the way of me and my bed.
Now, I’m was raised right, and I grew up listening to my dentist who told me I need to brush my teeth twice a day, morning and night. That one has never been a question for me. And I can’t go to sleep with a full bladder, so I guess using the restroom is a constant part of my nightly routine as well. But the other advice, the whole “wash your face” every night thing? That one I had to grow into.
I never used to wash my face. I was young, my skin was still fabulous, and I just never prioritized it.
But then I realized something as I was getting ready for bed yesterday. I wash my face every night. It’s like clockwork. Just a part of the routine like brushing my teeth. I don’t even think about it anymore, it just happens.
Habits are weird aren’t they? Half the time you don’t even plan for them and then you wake up 20 years later and realize you never stopped biting your nails. But then you work towards forming good habits like journaling in the mornings or sticking to a workout schedule and it seems like the most difficult thing in the world.
According to Healthline, it takes an average of 66 days to develop a habit. It took me years till I was habitually washing my face at night. Literally years. And that was not an area where I wanted to be above average.
So I’m here to admit it. Starting a habit is hard work. It takes dedication at first, until one day, it becomes second nature.
You know what else should become second nature? Being kind to ourselves.
People today are stuck in a really bad habit of putting themselves down and drowning in negative self-talk. Even as we praise the achievements of others, we’re constantly comparing and telling ourselves that we aren’t good enough. But just like any other habit, I believe this is a bad habit we can break.
It’ll take practice. Just like me with my face washing. Were there days were I forgot? Sure. But the next day, I was even more dedicated to remember and commit.
We need to commit to radically loving ourselves. We need to commit to saying "I’m worthy, I’m radiant, I’m enough" every damn day. When your brain starts to turn on you and tells you you are stupid or weak or useless, it’s up to us to form healthy habits that block that kind of negativity.
Let’s practice with a few examples shall we? These are just a few real things my brain has tried to tell me, and the responses I’ve developed to deal with them.
“No one invited you because they don’t like you”
Response: “Dear brain, that is not the case. My friends have told me they like me very much. There is a reasonable explanation and chances are it has nothing to do with you.”
“I’m so stupid.”
Response: “Dear brain, you are not stupid. In fact, you're a pretty smart person. You may have done a stupid thing, but that does not inherently make you stupid. Learn from it, then let’s move on.”
“I’m a loser with no purpose.”
Response: “Dear brain, you have zero evidence to support that claim. You are a child of God and a breathing member of this universe. You have a purpose and you are special and important.”
Now, I won’t sugar-coat it. It took me a while to develop good self-talk strategies. And heck, I’m still working on them sometimes. But it’s getting easier. It’s becoming second nature. And it started with a single step.
Start by saying one kind thing to yourself today. Then maybe move to two tomorrow. Every time you decide not to accept negativity about your life and your choices, the healthy habit of positive self-talk grows and thrives.
So just like me finally learning to wash my face every night, I hope loving yourself becomes second nature. I hope your radical light of self confidence encourages others to live their life with the same passion and exuberance. I hope you find the courage to always look for the good within the world and within yourself.
Know that you are so loved, and it's okay to start believing it.