Is it truly possible?
Or, will most of us spend our years trying and trying to fully love the person that we are, but always come up a little bit (or a lot) short?
I asked myself this question yesterday after a serious discussion with a close friend.
Both this friend and I have spent many years trying to fully love ourselves as we are. We’ve read books, talked to numerous people, immersed ourselves in yoga, and did workshops… and yet, we still struggle with being happy with who we are. What’s worse is that we’re fully aware of our negative self-talk, but the story in our minds still goes on.
During this conversation I gave advice to my friend in an effort to help her feel better. Honestly, I know I was saying stuff that she already inherently knew. Later on though, I really thought to myself… do I take my own advice? Partially, yes. But in reality, I am still struggling with the same story myself. I’ve only mentioned this briefly in other posts, but I’ve been dealing with some health issues lately. These issues are really starting to take a toll on my inner voice and depleting the self love that I worked so hard to build up over 20 years. Why am I letting this happen? In short, I believe it’s just what we do.
When something is going wrong in our lives – health, career, relationships – more often than not we look internally for blame. This doesn’t last a long time for some people, but for the rest of us we dwell on it for too long (sometimes even years). Our negative voice comes in telling us what we did wrong, what we neglected, or karma is getting us for that time we didn’t hold a door open for someone. Our inner voice tries to tell us we’re not good enough.
The hard work is shutting that negative voice up and changing it to a positive commentary. Learning to change negative thoughts into thoughts of love and acceptance for ourselves. This is the stuff that takes work. I know it, my friend knows it, and damn, I’m guessing you do too.
How can you make small steps towards a more positive inner voice?
– Yoga: Over time yoga has helped me to progress bit by bit into accepting my body as it is. I used to fuss over every little pound gained or if my hair wasn’t pretty enough, etc etc. Yoga helped me drop a lot of those worries up until my health issues and now I know I need it more than ever, so that I can be more accepting of what is happening to me now.
– Talking: Seriously, talking helps. To a close friend, mentor, counsellor – whoever it is, get out there and talk. Internalizing everything and running more negative thoughts through your head isn’t going to help, I know this. Talk with others who see the great person you are and try to see what they see. Having a support network is so important these days, especially with the world becoming more online and impersonal.
– Reading: Seek out amazing books that are going to lift your spirits or help you see another perspective. Good books include exercises and meditations that help you think and journal about what you’re experiencing and how you’re progressing. Some books are just incredibly motivational and they can lift your spirits, which is a nice kind of therapy.
– Writing: Get yourself a journal today. Or, start an online blog or private journal on your computer. I find hand-writing can be much more therapeutic for this, but if you prefer typing than go ahead! Journal while you read amazing books, journal while you go through everyday life, journal while you travel. Getting your thoughts out on paper can be so good for the soul, you’ll be amazed. Record inspirational quotes, moments of joy, and what you’re grateful for everyday.
I’m not claiming to have all the answers, I’m still a work in progress myself. But these things have definitely helped me over time and I know I need to turn to them now. Self love takes work and it’s a major investment in you – know that you are worth it and if you need to take baby steps, do it. You’ll be happier and more at peace with yourself in the end. ॐ
What else would you add?