During February, the month of love, we spend a lot of time showing love to others. For those who mean the world to us, we remind them how much we love them with acts of kindness during this month more than ever. Are you showing yourself the same love that you give to others?
Not loving yourself can have negative effects on your mental and physical well-being. When we are hard on ourselves, research has shown we also tend to have chronic issues. It can be even worse if you are a perfectionist. Do you beat yourself up or say things to yourself you would never dream of saying to others? Like “I’m a failure”, “I wish I was…”, “I’m fat”, ‘I’m not pretty”, “Why do I keep doing this?!” The list could go on for the self-destruction we do to ourselves. Being perfect is impossible and not a healthy standard to live by. Give yourself a break.
Did you know what you tell yourself has an impact on how you show up for your daily life? You may become isolated and start to interpret everything as a threat to you. Thinking the whole world doesn’t like you so what’s the point of liking myself. When one gets caught up in this place of negative self-love, your physical well-being is also impacted. There are many studies that have linked poor self-esteem to a shorter life, eating disorders, heart disease and even cancer to name a few.
It may be that when we don’t love ourselves, we also don’t take good care of ourselves. Have you ever noticed that the energy you are feeling continues to bring more of the same back to you? If you are feeling down on yourself, thinking bad thoughts and worrying a lot, that energy is returned in the form of a bad day, terrible commute, or just everyone around you is complaining. What we focus on is what we will have. The universe has a way of matching your energy with like energy or events.
So why do some people have a tendency to have a poor self-esteem than others? It’s not your fault, there are many causes that could influence this behavior. Genetically some people have lower levels of the confidence boosting chemicals Serotonin and Oxytocin which can affect our behavior. Life experiences can lead to feelings of not feeling secure within yourself. These experiences may be past trauma, bullying or even the way you were treated in your family. The world around us sends messages of perfection and making us feel like we are lacking or not worthy.
The good news is you can improve your self-esteem and love yourself again. It is like a muscle. The more you practice the better you get at it. Next time you look in the mirror see yourself as you want to be seen, be the queen (or king). The most important person in your life now and forever is YOU. When you love yourself, you improve the quality of your life. It is like a big weight has been lifted off you are letting all the light in. You shine from the inside out because there is nothing holding you back.
Everyone has their own reasons for not loving themselves, but I am suggesting that it does not need to be with you forever. A shift in mindset takes practice and commitment. Try to get to know yourself better by sitting quiet with your thoughts. Going inward to process what is holding you back can make a world of difference.
Practicing doing this daily until you start to feel comfortable with the thoughts. When negative thoughts enter your mind recognize them. Don’t shame yourself for thinking it, acknowledge the thought and replace it with a positive mantra. Write down positive alternatives for you to use daily in place of the negative ones. You no longer need those negative thoughts, by replacing them and practicing daily, loving yourself will be natural. The more you work on this the better it gets. You couldn’t ride a bike when you first tried, but you kept trying until it became easy. Then before you knew it, it was second nature.
The same principal applies to shifting your mindset. If you want something, focus your energy on it and it will happen. If you live in a positive loving energy, your vibrations are at a higher frequency than negative energy. The loving thoughts will replace the negative thoughts and you will notice that you are receiving like gifts from the universe.
Added benefits from doing this work is that your stress levels are also lowered. Any chronic illness you had may start to ease overtime. Below is a list of activities that help to improve negative self-views:
- Focus on the present. Let go of the past because it can’t affect you anymore and don’t worry about tomorrow it hasn’t happened yet.
- Reserve quiet time daily for meditation. It gives you time with yourself to focus inward and rest the mind.
- Journal your thoughts out in a notebook daily. Doing this daily makes it a habit of getting thoughts out so that they do not linger in the mind weighing you down.
- Stop judging yourself negatively, especially when you wouldn’t do that to anyone else. We all make mistakes, learn and move on from them. Replace judgements with loving kindness towards yourself.
- Accept yourself for what you are even if you see weaknesses. Everything about you makes you unique. There is not another person on the planet with your characteristics and life experiences. You have strengths and weaknesses which create your uniqueness.
- Don’t look to others for acceptance and love, first love yourself. Say I am proud of who I am and what I accomplish.
- Practice belly breathing if you feel a stress or negative attack happening. Slowing down your breath to long intakes down into your diaphragm and long exhales releasing the breath slowly will switch your nervous system out of the stress reaction to a calm state.
- Rediscover fun again and add joy to every day. If you are struggling with this, think back to when you were a child. What did you enjoy doing? Try that out and eventually allow yourself to explore other things that make you happy.
- Pay attention to what you surround yourself with, either people and/or the forms of media you consume. We can be negatively affected by other negative people and/or the news, movie, social media, etc.
When you partner these activities with proper nutrition and positive lifestyle choices your body cannot help but respond in a positive manner. After practicing these mind shifts, you will become connected to your own intuitions. These inner intuitions can become your guide through life and become your confidence to draw from when in need. Allow your higher self to guide you to achieve what your purpose is and be secure in that voice.
You will naturally start to feel clear headed and your energy will be increased. It is like a chain reaction that occurs in your mind and body. We are integrated beings so working on one has a direct effect on another. If you have emotional challenges that you cannot seem to improve on your own, you may need professional help. It is ok to get help. Do not feel like you are less of a person for getting help. Find someone who you can trust and connect with for assistance.