You are your own worst critic, as the saying goes. It’s true, sometimes we can be a bit harsh on ourselves. But why do you think that is? Is it because we really are big failures? No, of course not! Such negative self-talk stems from this perceived notion that we have to be perfect all the time. We treat failure as a world-ending crisis!
Some of us treat ourselves pretty poorly when you think about it. Whether it be through verbal, physical, or any other type of abuse. In an age where being thoughtful and considerate of one’s feelings has never been more paramount, why do we feel the need to ignore such manners when it comes to ourselves? You’d think that we’d focus a bit more on our own feelings once and a while, right?
“No, I should stop that, I just sound selfish.” See what I mean? Negative self-talk.
Many of us do this throughout the day without even realizing it. Don’t believe me? Keep track of how many negative thoughts enter your mind tomorrow, and pay close attention to the number of self-directed ones. You’d be surprised how high that number may climb.
This form of self-sabotage can be harmful to us on many levels. We lose confidence in ourselves and our abilities over time. If you keep calling yourself an idiot, or a screw-up, or say things like, “I’ll never be happy,” do you think your ability to create positive outcomes will be all that great?
So if you’re one of those people that fall into this category, or are one of those who think they may, I’ve complied a short list that should help you reconnect with yourself and begin a movement to find inner peace and happiness.
Exercise is great on multiple levels. First, when we finish exercising our body releases endorphins which are our “feel good” chemical. Working out also builds muscle and destroys fat, giving us a better physical image and boosting our confidence. But the biggest advantage that comes from working out is the deeper sleep you gain from exercise. Your body rests more when it goes into repair mode to fix the torn muscles you’ve created.
Sleeping allows you to recover physically and mentally. During this time, your subconscious takes the wheel, which usually causes you to dream, and more importantly, brings you closer to yourself. Sleeping brings you greater focus and energy while you’re awake, which is vital for keeping a positive mindset. Try to aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
3. Being Thankful
When you’re thankful, you start to see the world in a different light. Thankfulness attracts positivity into your life and brings out the best of those around you. Being thankful isn’t hard to do. If you really lack a reason to be thankful, just watch any alternative news source and view the suffering across the world. Are you in good health? Be thankful for that. If you ever feel like you’re having a “bad day” then try missing a few and see how that works out.
4. Improve Others’ Lives
This is pretty self-explanatory. Do a random act of kindness, or volunteer your time for a good cause. Find some way to give to others without receiving anything in return, or seeking any recognition. The act of selflessness helps bring out your best side and makes others happy and thankful for having people like you in the world. You can actually give someone a sense of hope.
Meditation is great for unwinding after a stressful day, and better yet, a great way to connect with yourself. There’s nothing fancy when it comes to practicing it either. All you need to do is sit with your eyes closed from anywhere between fifteen minutes to an hour, focusing solely on your breathing. It’s so simple, yet powerful. When you meditate, your mind will wander onto other thoughts, however, this teaches you about the way you think. You can follow the thoughts for a bit, but eventually you’ll have to bring yourself back to focus on breathing. Through this practice you learn to be mindful of your thoughts and where they often go, and also learn the importance of being present in the current moment.
6. Talking to Yourself
This may seem weird, but believe me, it’s powerful. All you have to do is look at yourself in the mirror for about five minutes and tell yourself how you feel. Make sure to keep eye contact throughout. Tell yourself positive things like: “I’m doing great with my bench press. I can’t believe how much weight I’m putting up,” stuff like that. At first it will feel downright awkward, but soon you’ll take comfort in it and learn to appreciate yourself more.
7. Follow Your Heart
Each of us has a true calling in life. There’s something in this world that you just feel pulled to. No matter what it is, you must go after it, even if it doesn’t seem plausible. And if you haven’t found what it is that sings to your heart, keep looking! And once you find it, go after it with everything you have.
8. Make Time for Yourself
Connecting with your inner self takes time and practice, just like everything else in life. When you make time for yourself to do whatever it is that makes you happy, that’s just another way of deepening that connection. One of the best solo activities to do is walking. Walking is not only great physically, but it can also help us mentally. It gives us time to reflect and work out troubling thoughts. Or if you’re just looking to relax, throw in your headphones and listen to your favorite music.
De-cluttering your life takes time and a lot of willpower. Most of our days are filled up with work and other activities that often leave us short on time to do anything else other than sleep. Try making it a goal each week to eliminate one thing from your day that clutters it.
This can be painful!
Try working six hours instead of eight (if possible). Maybe you enjoy watching television two hours a night. Well, that’s ok if that’s really part of your alone time, but, is it something you certainly need to do every night? By cutting down on the volume of tasks you have to do in a day, you open up more time to do self-connecting techniques like exercise and meditation, which will also lead to a deeper, higher quality sleep.
10. Be yourself
Finally, just be yourself. Don’t follow anyone! There’s only one you in the world and your uniqueness will never be reproduced again. Practice connecting on a deeper level with yourself and you’ll soon be naturally pulled to acting only as you, because you’ll realize just how great you truly are.
Stick with these ten tips and you’re sure to begin appreciating yourself more. Remember, eliminate all self-sabotage, and hold yourself accountable whenever you talk negatively.
There is an old African Proverb that says, “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” – Les Brown