As Teri shared yesterday, an inability to love ourselves extends to being unable to accept love from others. But where do we start? It's easier said than done, but there are manageable starting points for each of us. This week we're going to discuss ways that we can love ourselves. Some ways will apply and some will not.
Stop The Negative Self-Talk
We are our worst critics, aren't we? Often comparing ourselves to others & critiquing each decision we make and action we take. Sometimes the way we speak to ourselves is so critical, it would make others cringe if they heard it!
Here's one rule of thumb we use here at Imagine Hope: If you wouldn't speak to another person in that tone/manner/with those words, then do not speak to yourself in the same way. If you wouldn't say to your child, "that was a stupid question", then it's inappropriate to say it to yourself. If you wouldn't say to your best friend, "you're always a screw up", then it's inappropriate to say it to yourself.
Focus on Reality Rather Than Fear
It's easy to get focused on "What if's?" which lead to a lot of fear. This worrying does not promote self-love or self-nurturance.
Instead of worrying about "what could" happen, ground yourself in reality. If you find yourself feeling scared or fearful, search for proof that your fear could be true. This is what we call Reality Testing. For example, if you're scared your co-worker is angry with you, what real proof can you find that shows this is true? If there is no proof, chances are it's fear speaking and the loving thing to do would be to focus on the reality of things.
Give Yourself Grace
An awesome way to love yourself is to allow yourself to make mistakes, operate at 70% sometimes and, you know, be human!
Say kind things, do kind things and be gentle with yourself. Sometimes it's easier to think of nice things we'd like to do for other people. We also need to turn that gracious attitude onto ourselves in a routine, consistent manner.
Be patient with yourself. You'll find life more pleasant when you're not beating yourself up .
Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC
*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.