Self-love and self-care are huge right now — as they should be! Why did it take this long to realize it’s okay to cherish ourselves, it’s okay to take “me time,” and everyone is deserving of this peace? Also, why is it so hard to love ourselves? 15, 23, 46 — it doesn’t matter how old you are, it can be a struggle to see your value. Here are five tricks you can use to get started!

1. Speak only positives
When it comes to talking about yourself (and others) the energy you put into the world will come back to you. Work on saying positive things about yourself and others. The more you speak in a positive manner, the more you will see the positive in your life. Try finding ways to compliment yourself; think of three things you love and repeat them to yourself. It could be anything from a personality trait, a physical trait, or something you have accomplished – big or small.

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2. Take time away
It can be incredibly difficult to schedule “me time,” or any down time at all in today’s fast-paced society. Your body and your mind will thank you when you take the time to breathe deeply, be present, meditate, exercise, read, or do whatever helps you relax and recenter. You don’t need to block out an entire day, but the more frequently you can take these moments to yourself the more you will feel an inner peace.

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3. Do something just for you
This one is my favorite! It basically means “treat yourself.” This could be a date night, a weekend with the girls — or my personal favorite: exploring your self-love and beauty through a boudoir session. Whatever you choose, it is important to remind yourself that you are worth the little extras, or the big extras. You are an investment and you should treat yourself likewise.

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4. Really look at yourself
Take a moment to be honest and real with yourself. Be honest about your qualities both good and bad. Take a look at your habits. See what kind of anger and frustration you are holding on to. Now for the hard part: forgive yourself. Take a look at your goals too and be patient with yourself. Any progress is still progress. It is important to be honest about where you are in life, but it is even more important to acknowledge where you’re at as being a good place. A good place to grow from; a place where you can look back at the growing you have already done. Don’t forget to ease yourself into the hard stuff. No change takes place overnight. And nobody is ever perfect, and that’s okay.

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5. Stop comparing yourself to others
This ties into being honest with yourself, but please stop comparing yourself to others and wanting what they have. What you have and who you are is good. Being unique is amazing, and telling yourself that makes a huge difference in the way you feel about yourself. Always wanting something  different can be incredibly draining. Accept yourself, and you can still appreciate what others have to offer.

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Jenna is a boudoir photographer who endlessly works toward women empowerment, self-love awareness, and inclusion. She is a self-proclaimed feminist and is also the first to admit she isn’t always the best at self-love either. Having a childhood filled with bullying and tough family relationships put Jenna at odds with herself for a long time, so while she has come a long way in loving herself — she acknowledges there is always progress to made. You can find Jenna’s most recent photography project called “Bodies” on her website: https://www.wildflowerboudoir.com/blog/categories/bodies The project depicts women in their most vulnerable states, both physically and mentally. It celebrates everyone’s difference, their triumphs and their struggles.

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