Updated: Mar 16, 2021
There is nothing more important in this lifetime than to learn how to love ourselves. In fact it might seem counter-intuitive, but the best thing we can do for our families and those around us, is to develop a meaningful, loving, and trusting relationship with that woman or man we see in the mirror every day. The reason why it is so important is because we can only have as good a relationship with other people, as we have with ourselves. Bottom line, nobody else can love us the way we want them to if we do not love ourselves that way first. Therefore, I am sharing the three essentials necessary for a loving relationship with ourselves.
Let's begin with our self-talk. I mean seriously, if we talked to other people we care about the same way we talk to ourselves, we would either have no friends or we would be walking around with a black eye all the time! We are so rude to ourselves:( We call ourselves stupid, idiot, loser, fat, gross, ugly, incompetent, and all kinds of other things because we think that is what other people will say about us. We actually reject ourselves and are completely irreverent regarding the gift of human life we have been given when we talk this way to ourselves. For those of us (meaning every human at some point) who have been participating in this negative chatter, we know how crappy it feels.
The first step to stopping the negative self-talk is to become aware of the inner dialogue in our head that goes on all day long. We barely pay attention to it even though it goes on and on and on whenever we are awake. When we become more self-aware and actually listen to how we speak to ourselves, the tone of the constant chatter will give us a good indication of how we feel about ourselves. If we are constantly judgmental, intolerant and downright mean to ourselves, that suggests we have some work to do. We want to understand when something is not serving us and making us feel terrible and we do it anyway. How can we develop kindness toward ourselves so we do not have to feel so terrible anymore? We do it the same way we do toward other people; our thoughts generate our feelings and those lead to the action of positive self-talk or negative self-talk.
Secondly, the next step toward loving ourselves is to love how we are showing up so much that it does not matter what anybody else thinks. Let's face it, If somebody is calling us out on doing a half baked job on something and we know we did not give it our best, that criticism is going to sting! Partially, because we will beat ourselves up over it and partially because we know it is true. On the other hand, If we know we did our absolute best and gave it a 100%, that criticism would not be worthy of getting worked up over. When we make sure we show up in a kind and loving way, authentic and honest, and give it our best, nobody else's opinion will matter nearly as much as our own.
Now let's talk a little bit more about step two. We are human so we can be absolutely sure that we are not going to always show up at our best. This is okay and does not have to be a problem. Isn't it a relief to know that??? We just have to be aware that even though perfection does not actually exist, our minds are still going to make us think it is the desired objective. Not so fast primitive brain!
This brings me to the third, essential for loving ourselves. We need to be vigilante of the brain BS offered to us by our well-meaning but misguided primitive brain. We have to resist the urge to resort back to negative self-chatter when we are disappointed in ourselves. We have to purposely choose not to throw ourselves under the bus when we do not living up to our ideal standards. We have to forgive ourselves over and over again and nurture the love that we have for ourselves even when our brain tells us we are not worthy. We have to treat ourselves with unconditional love no matter what and always have our own back.
Taking the time to become more aware of the way we talk to ourselves is the first step toward understanding the relationship we have with ourselves. Next, we have to focus on how we show up and give our best on a daily basis. However, as humans with brains, we know that is not going to be possible all of the time, so that is why we need to be vigilante of our brain BS. We need to resist what is offered by our primitive brain and tap into our prefrontal brain and make conscious and purposeful choices that will nurture a loving relationship with ourselves. The primitive brain has good intentions but causes us so much needless suffering when we do not supervise it. The only way we can have healthy and loving relationships with other people is if we have one with ourselves first. Join me in the Brain BS Podcast to discuss this further!