Do you love yourself - I mean really love yourself? Like giddy, googly, ‘you hang up first. No YOU hang up first’ kind of in love?
Sadly, many people don’t.
The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important relationship we’ll ever have. What we say and think about ourselves creates the relationship with have with ourselves. We either love it or hate it. We tend to like ourselves more when something good is going on in our lives- success in our business, relationships, or our health and physique. We hate ourselves when we’re met with failure or hardship.
But even when we’ve experienced success, we still allow negative thoughts to creep in.
Have you ever heard that voice that says things like:
“You’re not worthy or deserving of ____ (that good thing).”
“You don’t have the experience or education to start a business or go after that job/client/opportunity. You don’t even know what you’re doing.”
“Look at all of the mistakes you’ve made in the past- all of those bad choices. You don’t deserve success/love/prosperity, etc. If only you hadn’t screwed up.”
“You’ll never figure it out. You might as well give up now.”
And, these are mild by comparison to some of the other vile shit statements we mentally spew at ourselves, so why do we stick around? What if a friend or significant other kept saying these things to you over and over again? You’d leave right? Who wants to be in a relationship with someone who’s constantly unloving and unkind?
Sadly, people stay in these types of relationships purely out of self-loathing. Their voice is so loud that they can’t find a way to shut it up, so they accept and allow the physical manifestation of it.
I’ve spent a lifetime saying some of the most hateful things to myself. I was my own worst critic- the angry judge who always threw the book at me. I was my own punching bag. These thoughts seemed normal. I felt I needed to think these terrible thoughts to drive myself forward, like they were motivating or something.
They weren’t. These were not loving, inspirational, or motivating thoughts. They were a form of cruel and unusual punishment. They did nothing but create more anger, frustration and disappointment. No wonder I’d been so emotionally stuck in so many areas of my life!
I was in the most dysfunctional relationship I could’ve ever had, and it was time to end it. When I finally stopped to actually hear the thoughts rather than listen to them, I became more aware of them. The more aware of them I became, the more I could look at them objectively.
So, we broke up me, myself, and I. It was over. I didn’t leave a note or send a breakup text. I didn’t care about what our mutual friends would think. I packed up my mental and emotional well-being and walked right out the proverbial door. I left the baggage behind. You’re welcome, old self.
When you make the choice to leave the old self behind and create a new self- one that’s full of self love, kindness, gentleness, appreciation, and joy, a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities open up for you. Here’s how:
Journal, like right now. Start to take a good, hard look at yourself. Go within and objectively listen to the negative self-talk. Once you’ve been able to identify the unhelpful things you say to yourself, you can work out a plan to help resolve the issues. Journaling helps you get to know yourself better. You can reveal the things that you keep bottled up inside and release them from your mind and thought patterns.
Once you put it on paper and get it out of your head , then you start to see your thoughts as something outside of yourself. You can observe it objectively, and stop identifying with it as being a part of who you are.
Meditate. It has been scientifically proven that meditation reduces stress and anxiety, promotes emotional health, and enhances self-awareness. Some types of meditation may increase positive feelings and actions toward yourself and others.
Nothing clears the mind like a good 15–20 minute meditation. All you gotta do is sit and breathe. Easy, right? EHNT! Not so much if you’re a newbie. Even seasoned practitioners’ minds tend to wander, but don’t let that deter you. Try a guided meditation or an app such as Headspace, which is great for helping you get in the habit of meditating. There are also tons of great free guided meditations on YouTube.
Use affirmations. Affirmations are the act of declaring something into existence. It’s a form of auto-suggestion to your subconscious mind. When said frequently enough, especially during a night time or sleep hypnosis when your brain falls down to theta, or the twilight stage between the conscious and the subconscious worlds, your subconscious mind is more receptive to these positive messages about yourself. You can say affirmations at any time. I stick them on my bathroom mirror, coffee maker, computer, and dashboard as constant positive self-affirming reminders. Make sure you always “I” rather than “you” so you can directly associate the affirmation with yourself.
Hypnosis. As mentioned above, hypnosis is a great way to retrain your subconscious mind and fill it with loving and supportive thoughts about yourself. There are some great practitioners out there, but make sure you do your research. Look for a hypnotherapist that is a licensed psychologist, licensed mental health counselor, etc. Also, check to see if they are certified. A great place to check for a credentialed hypnotherapist is the National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists.
If you don’t feel comfortable going to a hypnotherapist, then there are some good apps and YouTube videos. I personally like Michael Sealey, Dauchsy Meditations and Unlock Your Life. For the record, I have no affiliation with any of them.
Get active. Because physical activity kicks up endorphin levels, working out — even if it’s not super intense — can help your mental and emotional well-being. Exercise is a scientifically proven mood booster and decreased symptoms of both depression and anxiety. It can also boost self-esteem and self-confidence.
And, you don’t need to be a champion Cross Fit triathlete to get the benefits of physical fitness. Go for a hike; take the dogs for a longer walk; go to a yoga class; go dancing, swimming, or cycling. You can also find some great home exercise videos on (you guessed it) YouTube.
Visualization. Visualization is one of the most powerful tools you can use when you’re trying to reprogram your brain and develop healthier mental habits. It gives you the opportunity to see and actually feel the life you want create as if it’s happening now. The more you practice it, the more your brain believes it, and it eventually become your reality.
Always show gratitude during your visualization, even if what you want hasn’t materialized yet. When you show gratitude during a visualization, you broadcast a signal that your future has already happened. When you change your energy, you change your life. Visualization is the best way to make your mind believe that the experience has already happened and fall in love with this new ideal you.
Breaking up hard to do, especially when you want to break up with your old, negative self and create better, more positive mental habits, but it’s necessary if your want to live a happier, more fulfilling life. Sure, you might get back together and break up a couple more times, but each time you do, you become more and more aware of just how dysfunctional and unhealthy this relationship with yourself truly is. You’ll get to the point where you’ve had enough and you know you must move on to a greater you and totally fall in love with who you truly are, who BTW is really awesome. ;)