Why is it so difficult for us to love ourselves? Why are we our worst critics? Why do we feel as though we cannot trust our own judgment or choices when we know ourselves better than we know anyone else? Somewhere along the way, we have forgotten how to love and ourselves. Furthermore, we have picked up the ridiculous idea that we don’t deserve that love from ourselves. So it’s not just that we don’t know how; we also don’t think we should give ourselves love and trust.
So the question that I am constantly getting as a mental health therapist is “how do I even start to like myself?”. I will be honest that I get so sad every time I am presented with this question. It breaks my heart that there are so many people walking this earth that don’t even tolerate themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I fell in this category for a long time so I know exactly how people get to that place. But I have done a lot of work on myself to get to where I am today.
That is why I am here writing this post. I want to share the steps towards loving yourself that have worked for me and so many of my clients. Every single person in existence deserves to love and trust themselves and I hope that this post helps even just a few of you to find a better, more positive relationship with yourself filled with love and trust.
Build a Relationship with Yourself
When you think about improving your relationship with yourself, I want you to consider how you would work towards improving your relationship with anyone else in your life. For example, if you are married and you have been going through a rough patch with your spouse, what are the areas that you would focus more attention and energy to see positive change?
You would spend more quality time together.
You would communicate more compassionately and more frequently with each other.
You would listen to each other more effectively.
You would create opportunities for them to show you that they can be trusted.
So why would you treat your relationship with yourself any differently? These are all the same things that you need to do to start loving and trusting yourself. This post is here to break down each of these areas so that you know exactly how to have the best possible relationship with yourself; better than you ever thought possible!
Spend Quality Time with Yourself
Have you ever taken yourself on a date? If your answer is no, then you need to change that immediately! Going on a date with only yourself allows you to completely personalize it to whatever you want it to be. There is no compromising with another person about what to do or where to eat. You get to do exactly what you like.
But for a lot of us, the idea of going out and doing something special by ourselves is an overwhelming or even scary idea. However, when you are feeling uncomfortable with being by yourself is exactly when you need to spend time with yourself. It is a sign that you recently haven’t given yourself the quality time that you need and deserve. Think of it this way, if it has been a while since you have spent time with a friend, it could feel a little uncomfortable at first. But after you both spend more time together, each other’s presence feels more natural and enjoyable.
The time you spend with yourself doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it does have to be quality. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on yourself, but you do have to be fully present when you are spending the time alone. Really be with yourself and get to know yourself better. Don’t just make this a thing on the to-do list that you rush through, make it a special experience.
Talk with Yourself
In any type of relationship, effective communication is the key to its success. Your relationship with yourself is no different. We have a constant inner dialogue that is running in our heads and those words and phrases are having an impact on us whether we are aware of it or not. We have a habitual way that we have been talking to ourselves for years. This style of inner talk was probably learned in childhood and everyone’s sounds a little different.
But many people (women in particular) have one thing in common . . . it is very negative! So instead of settling for the habitual way that you talk to yourself, I want you to start taking control of your inner dialogue. You can start to intentionally talk to yourself in a kinder, more supportive manner. You can start to be more clear and detailed in your communication with yourself. If you make the effort to do so, you can choose what to think rather than letting your old, unhealthy communication habits take over.
Being able to talk to yourself effectively, kindly, and often is going to greatly increase your sense of self-love and trust. So as you go about your day over the next week or so, I want you to become more aware of how you speak to yourself. Would you talk that way to a loved one? Are you communicating with yourself regularly throughout the day? Is it effective communication that allows you to fully understand yourself? Now determine where you could make improvements and start to see your love for yourself grow immensely.
Listen to Yourself
This goes hand in hand with improving your communication with yourself. Along with bettering the way in which you talk to yourself, you must also be able to listen to yourself as well. Listen to what you are saying to yourself, listen to your body, and listen to your intuition. If you are not slowing down to listen to yourself and what you need, then you are missing out on a lot of important information. Also, you are indirectly telling yourself that you are not important enough to listen to, which is a huge blow to your love and trust in yourself.
How often do you truly take a chance to listen to what your body and mind are telling you? Our minds are bodies are so ridiculously smart. They know exactly what they need and when/how they need it. All we have to do is listen closely enough to know what to do for them. Do you need a little pep talk, a cardio workout, some fruits and veggies, a glass of water, or some supportive love? If you allow yourself the time and space to tune in to your mind and body, you will be able to fulfill your own needs better than ever before.
Give Yourself Opportunities to “Fail”
This 4 letter “F” word is a very scary one for a lot of people. It is one of the most common fears in our current society. It can be something that leads to mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety. But it is only a word and it doesn’t have to be those things if you don’t allow it to be.
Failure is something that happens to all of us because perfection does not exist (as much as we may strive for it). But failure does not have to be a negative thing; it can be a learning tool as well as an opportunity for you to gain trust in yourself and your abilities to handle difficult situations. If things always went exactly the way you planned then you wouldn’t have any need to trust yourself. You wouldn’t have to be intentional and thoughtful with your decisions and you would never have to grow as a person.
“If things always went exactly the way you planned then you wouldn’t have any need to trust yourself.”
So one super impactful way for you to begin to build trust in yourself is to purposefully go towards situations where you have the potential for “failure”. These situations will give you the opportunity to support yourself through a less than ideal place and come out the other side better for the experience. Proving to yourself that you can grow and even thrive following a perceived failure is a sure fire way to boost your trust in yourself, your decisions, and your abilities.
So this looks like taking risks, pushing past your comfort zone, doing something that makes you a little nervous. Do the thing that you have been avoiding for the past few months. Make the decision that you have been going back and forth about. Try the new thing that you’ve been wanting to do but brings you anxiety. In other words, stop playing it safe all the time!
If you start to make even some of these simple (notice I’m not saying easy) changes to how you relate to yourself, you will begin to notice how much potential you have for love and trust in yourself. You will no longer need the approval of others to live your own life. You can give yourself permission to lead whatever kind of life that you desire and allow yourself to enjoy it fully.