Here’s a short questionnaire for you:
1) How do you treat yourself?
2) How do you speak to yourself and what tone of voice do you use?
3) Do you criticize your looks or obsess over your weight?
4) Do you second guess your decisions or doubt your intelligence?
5) Do you actually love yourself?
If you find that you treat yourself poorly, speak rudely, and pick yourself apart, your answers to these questions may be the eye-opener you need to begin truly loving yourself.
It may be helpful to use the questions above as a framework to shift your attitude. I’ve provided some suggestions to get you started. Begin treating yourself as you would a loved one or close friend. Give yourself grace, forgiveness, and the care you would to someone who is hurting. Try speaking gently and calmly, especially when you are disappointed or frustrated. This includes not only words that you speak aloud, but your inner dialogue as well. When you look at yourself in the mirror, focus on any aspect you can find that you like rather than amplifying the ones you don’t. Ditch your scale and don’t let numbers define your body if you feel healthy. Begin trusting your instincts and going with your gut on the decisions you make. Stand firm and be confident that you chose the path you did for a good reason. Something else you might try is counteracting every negative thing you think or say about yourself with at least one positive thing. The more you can fill your mind with positive thoughts, the easier it will become to maintain a more positive outlook and happier demeanor throughout the day.
Being a recovering perfectionist, I have struggled and been challenged by many of these questions in my past. What I have found to help me love myself more completely is really taking the time to appreciate who I am, my uniqueness, and trying to not let others’ opinions of me affect how I see myself. It has taken me a long time to realize I really am a loveable, wonderful, intelligent human being with so much to offer. I still slip sometimes, but I have much more compassion for myself than I used to. I know that if I can come out of a hyper-critical, negative mindset, you can too.
It just takes a few small changes to love yourself more wholly, but it does take time to reverse the effects beating yourself up may have had. Start slowly and don’t expect to be good at this immediately – it will take practice. If you can do just one thing a day better than you did the day before, that’s progress.
By: Christie Sears Thompson, MA
If you are struggling with this and need further help to treat yourself the way you deserve, please call or email us at 303-353-9226 or email@example.com.