Photo on Unsplash
By Yvonne Heath
It’s so easy for me to think about all of my flaws — what’s wrong in my life, what isn’t working — you know, the same old story. I often wonder why that is. Why do we jump to negative conclusions with such ease? Why is it so easy to criticize ourselves and hard to accept a compliment? What do we have to un-do or un-learn?
Why are we so hard on ourselves? Because we…
- Listen to others who are negative
- Listen to our own inner critic
- Compare ourselves to others
- Try to be someone or do something we do not authentically love
- Look outside of ourselves for internal happiness.
Ok, let’s start here. These five points could represent years of negative talk and action (from ourselves and others) chipping away at our own self-worth. I will repeat this a million times, so hear this: we all have value, because we are, because we exist, because we were born. We do not have to prove that we have worth by what we do or what we have. We matter. Period.
So, let’s reframe and reclaim. Let’s transform these five points into uplifting, supportive, wonderful, life-affirming paths to inner joy! Easier said than done? Yes, most of this stuff is. But we are worth it. Taking the next few days, weeks, or months, invite these statements into your psyche:
- I choose to surround myself with cheerleaders.
What are the voices of those in your circle saying? What is their message? Are they constantly complaining, criticizing, or putting you down? If you’ve heard these voices your whole life or and they make you feel like you don’t have value, you might not even notice them anymore. Or you just accept that their criticism must be true.
Stop right there! You are who you are, flaws and all. Surround yourself with those who see your goodness, who lift you up. If those positive people are not in your life, find them. They are out there. Reach out. And be a self-help junkie like me!
- I allow my inner critic, but listen to my inner coach.
That inner critic can always find something wrong and focus on what isn’t right. She/he will always be in there, unfortunately, but you can choose to not pay attention! You can choose to say, “There’s that inner critic again,” and reframe immediately. You can transform that voice into your inner coach.
Instead of sentiments like “I’m fat, I’m terrible for smoking, I failed so I’m not smart, I’m not pretty,” etc., be as encouraging to yourself as you would be to someone else. Say “I’m getting fit, I want to want to quit smoking (that’s what I say to myself when I wish I wanted to do something, but I’m not quite there yet), I know what I need to work on, I am beautiful,” etc. — no matter what! Let’s be kind to ourselves.
- The only person I compare myself to is me.
There’s always going to be someone who’s doing better than you are and someone who isn’t doing as well. The only person I compare myself to is the old me. I’m committed to being the best version of myself that I can be. And that is a lifelong journey and I accept that, finally.
You don’t just get there and then not have to do any more work. You’ve got to keep peeling back the layers, the ugly stuff! Sometimes I feel like I progress amazingly, then fall right back down on my backside. And you know what I do? Forgive myself, then I get back to it. Don’t worry about the guy next door. Work with what you’ve got and be the best you!
- I find a way to do what I love to do.
It just doesn’t work. You cannot feel passionate and fulfilled if you’re spending all of your time doing what you’re supposed to do, rather than what you love to do.
What fuels you? If you don’t know what that is, you may have squished it deep down inside, because it didn’t pay the bills or someone else thought it was ridiculous. The truth is, if you want to love life, you have to feel that passion, and it will help you feel good about the other stuff you have to do.
Do you love to collect rocks? Sing? Dance in your living room? Is what you love to do weird? Who cares! I have a beautiful friend whose husband was in the dying process and she needed something positive to keep her grounded. Guess what she did? She took tap dancing lessons. That’s right! Weird? Some might think so. Who cares? Her husband eventually died peacefully. A few of us spent the evening with her some weeks later. She showed us her routine and we clapped and cheered! What makes your heart sing?
- My happiness is up to me.
The more we look outside of ourselves for happiness, the more we set ourselves up for failure. Most of the external things that are wonderful in our lives are temporary. The people we love move, change, and yes, die. The job or career we have will someday belong to someone else. The house we live in may not be our forever home.
So, to attain that deep internal happiness, we need to rely on ourselves for that unshakable joy that only comes from truly loving ourselves.
And we need our post — that internal or permanent something we can hang onto, no matter what, in times of despair. It could be your religion, spirituality, yoga, meditation, music, art — whatever gives you that connection.
I love and celebrate unique weirdness of me — ADHD, cellulite, big feet, and all the rest! Find your post and hold onto it.
The ugly stuff is always going to be there. We don’t have a choice about that. But we can choose what we do about it, what we listen to, and who we become.
Considered by Ambassador Magazine as Canada’s Rising Star Yvonne shares how we can teach people to Just Show Up for themselves and others so they are empowered and resilient when grief and life’s challenges arrive. Grief being, whatever makes your heart ache, Divorce, Diagnosis, Job loss, end of life and now global pandemic.
Using heart and humour she shares her message across Canada and the USA helping people of all ages learn to take care of themselves and others.
Additional information and resources can be found at www.loveyourlifetodeath.com