With all of the Valentine’s candy out in stores, we’ve got love on our minds. But what about SELF LOVE?
When someone says something unkind to us, we often recognize it as unkind, and the recognition incites a process of investigation, judgment, reaction, and a variety of other responses. We may stop speaking to someone when they treat us unkindly, especially if this occurs multiple times. We may defend ourselves. We may become angry. Sometimes we believe the unkind words. Often, we fight back.
What happens, though, when we say unkind things to ourselves? We frequently do not fight this inner voice. In fact, we often take it as fact. I think this, so it must be true.
Not only are we primed to take each thought we have, no matter how negative, unkind, or false, as true and meaningful, but it seems that each time we think and believe in such a manner, we make ourselves more likely to believe each negative thought that comes next. The more we treat ourselves in this manner, the more we act as if those horrible things we tell ourselves are true: we become less confident, more doubtful, more fearful of the judgment of others, and more likely to let others treat us unkindly in the future.
Why are we so often our own biggest bullies? You’d think that we wouldn’t treat our own selves as such!
Self-love is the one type of love we can fully control! We cannot make someone else love us, or even like us. We cannot stop someone else saying mean things and we cannot make them say something kinder. But when it comes to our own inner voice, we can change the script we read ourselves, daily!
Think about something you say to yourself regularly. It might be a way you interpret a situation blaming yourself when you were not actually at fault, a mistake you make that you beat yourself up for, or telling yourself you cannot succeed at something.
Would you say such things to a friend? If the answer is no, then consider changing this inner dialogue.
Take that same situation and think “what WOULD I say to my friend in this same situation?” Would you give your friend a compliment instead of a criticism? Would you offer unconditional support? A hug? Would you tell your friend “It’s okay, things happen, this wasn’t your fault”? Would you forgive? Would you forget a mistake and move on quickly?
Go ahead and take a moment to that for yourself. That’s it. Be a friend to yourself.
P.S. If you are around kids, this is an easy one to teach them growing up. Start these lessons as early as possible and the seeds of self confidence will be sown. And for yourself, start growing that self love today. It’s never too late.