“We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.” ~Lori Deschene
Sometimes I am really terrible to myself and relentlessly compare myself to other people, no matter how many times I read or hear about how good enough talented or lovable I am. On an almost daily basis, I meticulously look for evidence that I am a nobody, that I don’t deserve to be loved, that I am not good enough, or that I’m not living up to my full potential.
There is generally a lot of pressure to “stack up” around us. We feel as if there is something wrong with us if, for example, we’re still single by a certain age, the people in our lives are not ready to commit,we don’t have a job or make a certain amount of income, we don’t have a large social circle or crazy fun party loving friends, or don’t look pretty and perfect and act a certain way in the presence of others. The list could truly go on forever, and the worst one is we are not being nice or kind “enough”.
Sometimes in the midst of all the pressure, we (read I) seem to totally forget all the wonderful, unique things about myself.
I get stuck in my head and allow my inner critic to completely tear apart my self-esteem until I hate myself too much to do anything except eat ice cream (get fat ), watch daytime television, and sleep (may be whine a little about the same s**t too).
The other day, I activated my blog after a long long time. I was going through past articles and couldn’t help but wonder what was wrong with me. Most of my articles in the past year or so were about sadness and grief. So much of negativity floating all around.. i diagnosed myself to be an emotional masochist ( which i regret right now and is totally not true!!) and i almost gave up on compassion and kindness. I re read most of my articles , and the comments left by readers and ended up moving almost 58 articles to trash . Anyways, while I was beating myself up over something I can’t even recall at the moment, I read a comment from one of my blog readers telling me that one of my posts literally got them through the night. Literally. And if that one simple word was used in the intended context, this person was basically telling me that one of my posts saved their life.
I used to get comments like these on a pretty regular basis, and they always open my eyes to just how much I might matter, regardless of my inner critic’s vehement objections.
Such comments also open my eyes to all the things we beat ourselves up over that don’t matter—like whether or not we look like a Victoria’s Secret model in our bathing suit, or whether or not we should stop smiling if we’re not whitening our teeth, or whether or not the hole in our lucky shirt is worth bursting into tears over. It also makes me realize that I cannot control how others behave, I cannot ask them to change their ways for me. It’s not fair to them or anyone involved. The only thing I can do is decide how I would feel about things and respond to them. If i cannot handle the way i felt about them, the only thing I can do is avoid being in such vulnerable places. After all prevention is always better than cure and the things that you do not know cannot hurt you.
Lately I’ve been trying harder to catch myself when I feel a non-serving, self-depreciating thought coming on. And I may let these thoughts slip at times, but that’s okay because I’m only human. While my self-love journey is ongoing, here are a few things I try to remember when I’m tempted to be mean to myself:
1. The people I compare myself to compare themselves to other people too.
We all compare ourselves to other people, and I can assure you that the people who seem to have it all do not.
When you look at other people through a lens of compassion and understanding rather than judgment and jealousy, you are better able to see them for what they are—human beings. They are beautifully imperfect human beings going through the same universal challenges that we all go through.
2. My mind can be a very convincing liar.
I saw a quote once that said, “Don’t believe everything you think.” That quote completely altered the way I react when a cruel or discouraging thought goes through my mind. Thoughts are just thoughts, and it’s unhealthy and exhausting to give so much power to the negative ones.
3. There is more right with me than wrong with me.
This powerful reminder is inspired by one of my favorite quotes from Jon Kabat-Zinn: “Until you stop breathing, there’s more right with you than wrong with you.”
As someone who sometimes tends to zoom in on all my perceived flaws, it helps to remember that there are lots of things I like about myself too—like the fact that I’m alive and breathing and able to pave new paths whenever I choose. I like to believe that I am trust worthy, forgiving, and understanding. When I am at my lowest I TRY and remind myself that I can put myself in other Peoples shoes every far more than then could ever be in mine.
4. I need love the most when I feel I deserve it the least.
This was a recent epiphany of mine, although I’m sure it’s been said many times before.
I find that it is most difficult to accept love and understanding from others when I’m in a state of anger, shame, anxiety, or depression. But adopting the above truth really shifted my perspective and made me realize that love is actually the greatest gift I can receive during such times. Love is the Only thing I need at that time.
5. I have to fully accept and make peace with the “now” before I can reach and feel satisfied with the “later.”
One thing I’ve learned about making changes and reaching for the next rung on the ladder is that I cannot fully feel satisfied with where I’m going until I can accept, acknowledge, appreciate and forgive for where I am now.
I have realized that by Embracing and making peace with where I am now, and my journey toward something new will feel much more peaceful, rewarding, and satisfying.
6. Focus on progress rather than perfection and on how far I have come rather than on how far I have left to go.
One of the biggest causes of self-loathing is the hell-bent need to “get it right.” We strive for perfection and success, and when we fall short, we feel less than and worthless. What we don’t seem to realize is that striving for success and being willing to put ourselves out there is an accomplishment within itself, regardless of how many times we fail.
Instead of berating myself for messing up and stumbling backward, I have realized that #I should be able to give myself a pat on the back for trying, making progress, and coming as far as I have.
7. I can’t hate My way into loving Myself.
Telling myself what a failure I am won’t make me any more successful. Telling myself I’m not living up to your full potential won’t help me reach a higher potential. Telling myself I’m worthless and un-lovable won’t make me feel any more worthy or lovable but rather push me into a deeper pit of despair and agony.
I know it sounds almost annoyingly simple, but the only way to achieve self-love is to love yourself—regardless of who you are, what you have done and where you stand and even if you know you want to change.
Biggest revelation I have had in a long long time is that I am enough just as I am. And for every one out there, i would just like to say that self-love will be a little bit easier every time you remind yourself of that.