I come across so many people who don’t like themselves. They self sabotage, criticise themselves and put up with bad behaviour from others. When we allow others to treat us unfairly on a regular basis, we are basically giving ourselves a message that we are not worthy of love and respect and that perhaps we deserve the bad treatment. The more we allow others to treat us badly, the more entrenched the patterns become and the harder it can be to see the situation in a balanced way. Emotions skew our decision making process. When we love ourselves, we are less likely to put up with abuse from others and we trust ourselves and our instincts.
If we grew up in a dysfunctional home, what we observed can cause us to have irrational views about romantic relationships. We might believe that shouting is okay and perhaps that even physical violence is sanctioned too. We ignore our inner wisdom that send us alarm signals and this can lead us down the slippery slope of self degradation. Our true potential is squeezed out of us and we become a shell of our former selves. The process is slow but deliberate and when we get to ‘shell stage’ we become less capable of helping ourselves.
Think about what you were like before – think about all the fantastic things you have achieved in your life. When you really think about it, you will realise that there are many positive characteristics to appreciate. We are all on this planet for a reason, we are here to learn lessons and going through hardship can teach us to be more philosophical about life. I like to believe that life unfolds as it does for each of us for a reason. Self transformation speeds up when we are experiencing tough times.
Ways to love yourself and activate your true potential:
1) Never criticise yourself.
It’s okay to acknowledge that you’ve made mistakes but there are ways to deal with your failings in a way that preserves your self esteem. Don’t call yourself “stupid” or “useless”. Instead say something like, “I messed up there but that doesn’t mean I’m stupid. We all make mistakes”.
2) Treat yourself as you would a dear friend.
We tend to be kind to others and harsh on ourselves. Ask yourself how this helps you to chastise yourself. It really doesn’t. Imagine what you would say, and how you would encourage, a dear friend in the same situation and treat yourself the same way.
3) Overcome fear.
Fear will always exist, it is there lurking…waiting to pounce and keep you ‘small’ and ‘under developed’. Acknowledge that fear will often be there but that it needn’t stop you from trying.
4) See failure as your friend.
Failure doesn’t automatically mean you are a failure. In fact, successful people have often failed more than unsuccessful people. This is due to the fact that they get up and try again. See failure as a sign that you are continuing to try- that’s winning in my book.
5) See the funny side.
Never take yourself and others too seriously. See life as a fun adventure, there to be explored. When we get bogged down with the minutiae we can end up far too serious and this leads to a negatively-laced outlook. When you keep life as light hearted as possible we tend to gloss over the ‘sticky’ bits that would normally affect us and keep us stuck.
6) Celebrate your strengths and achievements.
Choose thinking that works for you. Why dwell on the negatives? Optimists tend to have ‘mental buffers’ that protect them from self criticism. When they succeed, they give themselves credit for it rather than putting it down to luck. The pat themselves on the back and reward themselves when life is going well.
7) Believe in yourself.
This isn’t always easy as the world is quick to strip you of any self belief and replace it with self doubt. Comparisons, listening to other’s opinions too often and giving in to self doubt can leave you stuck in your comfort zone. Accept that your life trajectory is unique to you. Drown out the noise from others and focus on your inner wisdom. This doesn’t mean you will always get it right but it does allow you to honour your thoughts and ideas – giving them life instead of shutting them down.
We all have times of self doubt, this is normal. It’s what we do with that self doubt. If we internalise it and begin labelling ourselves we will spiral downwards. If we acknowledge the self doubt but don’t allow it to define us nd carry on regardless…we tap in to our inner strength and wisdom. You can do it.