HAVE you ever looked at your behavior toward yourself and wondered if you were, at times, your own worst enemy? If so, you are not alone. Many people struggle with feelings of self doubt, a diminished sense of self worth, constant comparisons with others, or an unrealistic ideal concerning who they are and who they should be.
Sometimes we need to ask ourselves: Would a friend place on your shoulders all the burdens, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, that you place on yourself? If the answer is no, then it may be time to learn how to make friends with yourself. Here are 4 ways to help you cultivate self-kindness:
1. Understand Your Identity – We are unique threads in a divine tapestry. One religious leader said, in effect, that the very least soul among us is in reality “worth worlds.” Consider the miracle of your existence – your intellect, your capacity to love, to feel, to learn, to grow, to give. You are truly an expression of divine love and being. As such, we need to honor and respect not only those around us, but ourselves in particular. Remember, you really are worth worlds!!
2. Be Your Own Inner Advocate – What is your self-talk like? Does that voice in your head sound more like an unrelenting critic than a loving friend or a kind counselor? Remember the principle of inputs and outputs. Negative in, negative out, garbage in, garbage out. And on the other hand, if you feed yourself positivity, the results will be positive as well!
Try this experiment: Pick a day where you typically have fewer distractions – a Sunday may work well – to listen closely to, and control, your own self-talk. This is the time to be your own best friend, to remind yourself of all your good qualities, of your value as a person. Consciously feed yourself all that positive self-talk. Consciously monitor your words and your actions and try to make them as positive as possible, then review the result.
Did you feel in control of your emotions and situations? Did people around you notice a difference? It’s amazing when you realize you really do have control of your moods and the trajectory of your day!
3. Forgive Yourself – Do you readily forgive others’ faults, but struggle to forgive yourself? Do you berate yourself for all the ill-advised things you said and did or all the important things you left undone? Are you holding yourself to a standard that you wouldn’t dream of holding anyone else to? If so, you’ve got lots of company! Yes, we know we’re human and fallible and all that, but somehow we, as individuals, think we are different from everyone else, that our screw-ups are so much worse because we KNOW better and can DO better – or we SHOULD HAVE known and done better.
Now it’s time to give yourself a figurative get-out-of-jail-free card, mentally, and spiritually. Whatever it is or was, let it go. Completely! The thing you did or didn’t do is not YOU. It in no way determines your value as a human being. Choose to let go, to love who you are right now and who you’re becoming and move on!
4. Stop Comparing and Believe In Yourself – Isn’t it interesting the way we see other people as having such enviable lives while we sit and wonder, “What’s wrong with me?” “Why can’t my life be like theirs?”
Remember this – you are doing better than you think! There are high-powered executives, doctors, lawyers, and athletes who superficially appear to have it all together while underneath their worlds are falling apart at the seams. The thing is, we know all our own problems and faults and failures intimately and I’m pretty sure if we knew those intimate things about our idols, there’s no way we would trade places with them! We not only compare ourselves with our idols, but with our relatives, friends, co-workers, neighbors and everyone on social media too. We think they are more fun, more attractive, more talented, so much happier than we are, right? And while you waste time focusing on what you interpret to be your lack, you are ignoring all the wonderful, beautiful, special things you ARE, right now today!
Here’s a fun assignment: Make a list of all of your best qualities and all your finest accomplishments. Put it on your mirror, read it every day, affirm that you believe that you can do whatever you put your mind to. Then when you’re ready, decide what new life adventure you’re going to take on. Will it be developing a neglected talent, starting a business, planning a trip to Africa? Whatever it is, do it with gusto and the belief that you can make it happen!
Please comment and let me know if this article was helpful to you, if you have any suggestions, or if you just want to share an expression of love and encouragement!