Are you in a love/hate relationship with yourself?
Just as we can fall in or out of love with somebody else, our relationship with ourselves can also be erratic. On good days, loving ourselves can be easy; on challenging days, not so much.
So why is it that we can't automatically love ourselves as easily as we might love somebody else? Because of one factor: We don't possess the ability to see ourselves objectively.
For example, when we see a picture of ourselves and it doesn't match the perception of what we think we look like, we might feel a disconnect between our perception and the reality reflected in the picture. Or when we hear the sound of our voice on a recording and we think, "That doesn't sound like me!" Same thing: We cannot perceive who we truly are. We cannot live outside ourselves and be objective.
Since we cannot see ourselves objectively, others--such as counselors, friends, and family--can step in and give us feedback about our attitudes, actions, and words. Sometimes this advice may surprise us, but if we soften our stance and stay in an attitude of appreciation, we may learn the most powerful lessons of our lives.
As we continue to change and grow, it is important to maintain a healthy love for oneself. And even though self-acceptance takes practice, the benefits ripple out to every area of our work, relationships, and life experiences.
So if you're having a tough time with "you" lately and you've fallen out of love with yourself, here are some simple ways to start winning yourself back:
Love who you are. You've become the person that you are because of the choices you've made along your journey--and that is a good thing. Even your mistakes have been lessons in disguise. Once you learn to love and accept who you are right now, you can begin to forgive yourself for any self-judgments and start looking forward in hope and anticipation of what you will create next.
Lose the doubt. When we doubt ourselves, we crack the foundation of our human being. Self-doubt is one of the most destructive habits we can practice. If we can accept our decisions as being the best choices at all times in alignment with our thoughts, feelings, and intuition, we can begin to diminish our doubts.
Trust your nudges. We may be accustomed to listening to our head and heart (thoughts and feelings), but there is a deeper voice inside each of us that is even more powerful--our intuition. The voice of our intuition comes from our inner being. Once we're able to quiet our thoughts and calm our feelings, we can hear it. Intuition is that "nudge"--a gut feeling--that aligns with our natural spiritual energy. Trusting our intuition requires practice and patience, but the payoff is worth it. Intuition will never lead us astray.
Stop beating yourself up. Our inner voice can be both our best coach and worst critic. Why do we blame ourselves for petty thoughts or actions? Because we don't love ourselves enough. You wouldn't want someone to abuse or demean you, so why would you do that to yourself? Feed yourself words of affirmation. Engage in self-talk that uplifts and encourages you rather than brings you down. Similar to the Golden Rule, try following what I call the Platinum Rule: Treat yourself as you'd like others to treat you.
Learn to support yourself. Once you stop beating yourself up and start following the Platinum Rule, focus on finding activities that you enjoy and can initiate on down days. Buy a new book, find some great music, take yourself for a walk--do something special that brings you joy and happiness. Don't rely on anyone else to make you happy. Your own happiness always comes from within. And once you learn to support yourself, love is right around the corner.
Learn more about finding better balance and happiness in Balancing Work, Relationships & Life in Three Simple Steps, or another book from Michael's collection at michaelsunnarborg.com/books.