“If beating yourself up were a good way to change your behavior, wouldn’t you be perfect by now?” – Dr. Russ Harris. HOLY MOLY! As I was reading, well really listening to via Audible, “The Confidence Gap” by Dr. Russ Harris, this one little question hit me like a ton of bricks.
Have you ever thought about how much time you spend critiquing yourself? Maybe every time you look in the mirror, all you can see is that one pimple that just never goes away. Or after dinner with friends, you find yourself thinking and thinking again about why you don’t have a relationship like your best friend does. Maybe you’re just not smart enough, thin enough, cool enough, etc.. Sound familiar? It seems as though we are always at war with ourselves in our minds.
Now, I want you to think about what your life might look like if you demonstrated confidence in yourself, rather than doubt or if you found the conversations you have in your head to be uplifting, rather than depreciating. What might change for you?
We are taught as a society, over and over again how important it is to be kind to others and to love others. But what about ourselves? How are we supposed to go out into the world and do all of these kind, loving things for other people when we feel awful about ourselves? Doesn’t quite add up if you ask me.
So, in thinking about learning to love yourself, I want you to imagine yourself 10 years from now in your ideal world. Who would you be? What does your life look like? Who are you surrounded by? What do you tell yourself each morning when you wake up? What do you do during your free time? What is it about this future, perfect you, that makes you feel so happy, fulfilled & at ease. In your perfect world, 10 years from now, what is different about your approach to life?
The next time you recognize you’re spiraling into a self-criticizing conversation in your head, think of this person, this ideal version of YOU! Think of how they may see themselves and what kind of work they put in to form their approach to life. And then, apply it to your own life right now, in the present moment. Learn to love yourself while accepting your imperfections so you can grow. By letting go of the negativity and criticism you carry with you each and every day, you may open up some space for self-exploration and discover things that you really love about yourself.
If you feel like this idea of loving yourself is too hard, confusing or you just have no clue where to start, here are some tips and short activities that can help you get moving on loving yourself!
- Write yourself a love letter from this “future you.” Talk about all of the things you are proud of you for, point out strengths & provide support, etc.
- Put a timer on for 2 minutes and list out all of the things you are really good at, positive things you feel you bring to your life & the lives of those around you. Stick this list in your wallet or purse and carry it with you. Refer back when you find yourself in a tough spot.
- Keep a gratitude journal! Think of all the gifts & joys you have in your life on a regular basis
- Pick a “mantra” or a saying each day that feels empowering, supportive, inspiring. Play it on repeat!
- For example,
- I am enough.
- I am capable of pursuing my biggest dreams & living my life in a way that feels good for me.
- I spread joy and positivity everywhere I go
- I am free from stress and overwhelm
- I approach all difficulties in my life with grace and love
- For example,