It is both the end of the week and the end of the month. Hopefully we have accomplished some goals and are on our way towards others. One goal that should be perpetually on our list is to love ourselves. Yes, I realize that sounds a little new age for some, but it does not make it any less essential. Liking, or more accurately loving, yourself is one of the most important life challenges.
Let us begin by looking at why loving yourself is so important. After all, if we know why something is important we are far more likely to be on board with it. So, why is loving yourself so important? We can discover this be looking at what happens when we are not happy with ourselves. When we are not happy with ourselves one of two things usually happen. We can begin to treat others harshly. When your spirit is not filled with joy little irritations become big. Our patience with others can wear thin with others. Have you ever made a mistake and been so upset with yourself and then find yourself yelling at others? Maybe even the person we have hurt. After all, we can’t really yell at ourselves can we? Oh yes we can!
That leads us to the second possibility. We spend hours, sometimes the entire day, engaged in negative self-talk. This not only further diminishes our mood and opinion of ourselves, it disempowers us. We turn down opportunities. We resist trying new things. Those things we do try we approach with a sense thought of failure before we even begin. A prolonged streak of this can lead to physical ills as well as a sense of hopelessness and maybe even suicidal thoughts.
How do we begin to think higher about the person in the mirror? There are several options. We are going to highlight a few right here, but I encourage you to further explore other self-appreciation techniques on your own. The first is to recite a daily affirmation twice a day, once in the morning and once right before retiring. Your morning affirmation could sound something like this – today I am going to do the best I can. I may stumble and fall, but I will get back up and continue to give the best I can. Your evening affirmation can sound similar – today I did the best I can. I did not succeed at everything but I gave it my all and tomorrow I will try again. The secret to affirmations is to say them with emotion and conviction. That is why I like the proceeding affirmations. They do not say you are going to be perfect. They just say you will do the best you can.
One of the main reasons people get down on themselves is they fail to live up to their own standards. When you fail with what someone else expects of you that is one thing, but when you do something that goes against the very nature of who you are, that is a different kind of pain all together. When we fail ourselves in this regard it is important to remember to be forgiving to ourselves but do so in away that reaffirms our commitment to what it was we failed at. “I know I said some not so nice things about people today and that is not who I am. From this moment on I am committed to do better at only empowering others.” You do not deny your failure, but you also do not beat yourself up over it.
Finally, record your wins. Many people discount the good they do and exaggerate their failures. Did you hold the door for a stranger? Did you ask someone how they were doing and really listened to their answer? Write that down. They all do not have to be big wins, although you certainly want to record them as well. When you let yourself down, take a look at your list. You may even want to say to yourself, or even out loud, “I sure messed up today, but I have done some really great things as well.” None of us are perfect human beings. Holding ourselves to a high standard can be a good thing as long as we remember to include a dose of humility and forgiveness as well.