Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


1 Comment

5 Reasons People Have Low Self-Confidence

Understanding the causes of low self-confidence is a first step in boosting it.

The most important thing to know about low self-confidence is that it is not your fault.

The factors that contribute to low self-confidence combine and interact differently for each person. Your genes, cultural background, childhood experiences, and other life circumstances all play a role. But don’t lose heart — although we can’t change the experiences in our past that shaped us, there is plenty we can do to alter our thoughts and expectations to gain more confidence.

Genes and Temperament

Some of what molds our self-confidence is built into our brains at birth. I mention these factors not to overwhelm you, but to let you know that you shouldn’t blame yourself for your self-image.

Studies have shown our genetic makeup affects the amount of certain confidence-boosting chemicals our brain can access. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with happiness, and oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” can both be inhibited by certain genetic variations. Somewhere between 25 to 50 percent of the personality traits linked to confidence may be inherited.

Some aspects of our behavior also stem from our temperament. If you’re naturally more hesitant and watchful, especially in unfamiliar circumstances, you may have a tendency called “behavioral inhibition.” When you’re confronted with a situation, you stop and check to see if everything seems the way you expected it to be. If something appears awry, you’re likely to move away from the situation.

Behavioral inhibition is not all bad. We need some people in the world who don’t impulsively jump into every situation. If you’re a cautious and reserved person, self-confidence may have eluded you. But once you understand yourself and the tools in this book, you’ll be able to work with your temperament and not fight it.

Life Experiences

A number of individual experiences can lead to feeling completely unsure of yourself or even worthless. Here, I’ll discuss a few.

Trauma. Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse can all significantly affect our feelings of self-worth. If you find yourself replaying memories of abuse or otherwise feeling tormented by or ashamed of your experiences, please consider seeking treatment from a licensed clinician.


Parenting style. The way we were treated in our family of origin can affect us long after childhood. For instance, if you had a parent who constantly belittled you, compared you to others, or told you that you would never amount to anything, you likely carry those messages with you today. A parent’s struggles with mental health and substance abuse can also change your relationship with the world.

Bullying, harassment and humiliation. Childhood bullying can leave a mark on your confidence when it comes to looks, intellectual and athletic abilities, and other areas of your life. Humiliating experiences in adulthood, including workplace harassment or a peer group that disrespects or demeans you, can also make you less willing to speak up for yourself or pursue ambitious goals.


Gender, race, and sexual orientation. Scores of studies show women are socialized to worry more about how they’re perceived and, therefore, to take fewer risks. Racial and cultural background and sexual orientation can make a difference, too. If you’ve been on the receiving end of discrimination, you may have internalized some negative, untrue messages about your potential and whether you “belong.”

Misinformation

Lack of self-confidence can come from not knowing the “rules” of the confidence game. For example, if we think we have to feel confident in order to act confidently, we set ourselves up for failure.

Perfectionism is another form of faulty thinking that contributes to low self-confidence. If we believe we have to have something all figured out before we take action, those thoughts can keep us from doing the things we value. Even learning and understanding what confidence is and isn’t is a big step toward boosting it.

The World Around Us

Many media messages are designed to make us feel lacking. Companies that want to sell you products usually start by making you feel bad about yourself, often by introducing a “problem” with your body that you would never have noticed otherwise. (The movie Mean Girls memorably skewered this idea: The main character, new to American high-school culture after years of homeschooling in Africa, is bewildered when her new clique stands around a mirror criticizing themselves. “My hairline is so weird,” says one. “My nail beds suck!” proclaims another.)

Now that social media has become ubiquitous, the messages hit closer to home. It’s easy to believe that everyone around you has the perfect marriage, a dream career, and supermodel looks to boot. But remember: What people post online is heavily curated and edited. Everyone has bad days, self-doubt, and physical imperfections. They just don’t trot them out on Facebook!

     “One reason we struggle with insecurity: We’re comparing our behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.” —Steven Furtick

Anxiety and Depression

It’s common for anxiety and depression to go hand-in-hand with self-confidence issues. If you’ve already been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or depression and are working with a therapist, you could bring in your workbook and perhaps go through it together. It’s brave of you to address your self-assurance stumbling blocks, and building confidence will also help you lessen anxiety and depression.

Questions to Consider:

Which of the contributing factors described in this section resonate the most with you?

What specific experiences in your life do you think had the biggest negative effects on your self-confidence?

Next Steps:

1. Take this self-confidence quiz. Self-confidence begins with knowing yourself. You might also enjoy spending some time answering these questions designed to help increase your confidence level.

2. Learn why self-confidence is so important. Start here.

3. Avoid these self-confidence traps (“13 Things the Most Confident People You Know Never Do”).

4. Try these four proven approaches to increase your confidence level.

Adapted from The Self-Confidence Workbook: 
A Guide to Overcoming Self-Doubt and Improving Self-Esteem.
Copyright © 2018 by Barbara Markway and Celia Ampel.
 
About the Authors
Barbara Markway, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience. 
She is the author of four psychology books and has been featured in media nationwide.
 
In Print:
The Self Confidence Workbook: 
A Guide to Overcoming Self-Doubt and Improving Self-Esteem
Online: Dr. Markway online
  
Greg Markway, Ph.D., is a psychologist and has coauthored three books, including Painfully Shy.
In Print:
Painfully Shy: How to Overcome Social Anxiety and Reclaim Your Life
Dec 07, 2018
Advertisements


5 Comments

Positive Self-Talk: 7 Things Mentally Healthy People Tell Themselves

The messages we give to ourselves every day have enormous power. Anything that is repeated and repeated and repeated can become “truth” — even when it isn’t. Any coach will tell you that practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect but it certainly does make permanent.

Repeating negative messages can wear down our sense of self as surely as a constant stream of water will wear down even the hardest stone. Repeating positive messages, on the other hand, is more like creating a pearl in an oyster. With each additional positive message, our confidence and competence grows.

Positive psychologists have studied this extensively. As long ago as the 1950s, Abraham Maslow said that a self-actualized person is someone who focuses on her talents and strengths. Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center Dr. Martin Seligman, who has been called the father of positive psychology, has found that when people identify and use their top strengths regularly, they can be more productive and can experience a high level of self-esteem. (If you’d like to identify your top strengths, you can take Dr. Seligman’s free quiz).

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has concluded that positivity helps “broaden our ideas about possible actions, opening our awareness to a wider range of thoughts and actions than is typical.”

What all this means on a practical level is that deciding to emphasize the positive is the key to a happy and productive life. Yes, deciding. Where we put our attention is a decision. It can seem like dark clouds cover every silver lining. But that silver lining is still there if we look for it.

Feeling good (or at least better) will not happen if we tell ourselves over and over that we are helpless and the situation is hopeless. To strengthen or improve our mental health, we all need to think the way mentally healthy people think: Shifting our focus from all that is wrong to whatever we can find that is good, positive and possible in ourselves, other people and in our situation is the key to thriving.

7 Things Mentally Healthy People Tell Themselves

“I am a lovable.” No child is born who is not lovable. Look at any newborn. That button nose and those tiny fingers and toes are meant to engage adult’s protective and loving feelings. You were no different. The adults around you when you were small may have been too wounded, too ill or to overwhelmed to love you but that is on them. You were and are — just by the fact of your existence — a lovable person.

“I am capable.” From the time they take their first breath, humans are wired to learn, to adapt, and to grow. You have been learning and growing every minute. You may not have been taught all you need to know to manage your feelings or to take care of yourself. You may have learned unusual behaviors or in order to survive. But you are never too old to learn new skills. Anything you’ve learned that is not helpful or healthy can be unlearned.

“Most other people are lovable and capable, too.” It’s crucial not to let negative or painful experiences with a few negative or toxic individuals color our opinion of everyone. The majority of people in the world do mean well and are doing the best they can. Once we’re adults, we can choose who we want to surround ourselves with. We can seek out the people who are living lives that are decent, warm and contributing good to the world.

“Success comes from doing.” It’s been proven over and over again by researchers: Feeling good comes from doing good things. Positive self-esteem is the outcome, not the prerequisite, for being successful in relationships, school, work, sports, hobbies —  just about anything. We all have a choice whether we wait to feel better or we do the things that we know will help us become better.

“Challenges are opportunities.” Life isn’t always easy or fair. How we meet challenges and obstacles is a choice. Healthy people find ways to engage with a problem and look for ways to solve it. They refuse to let their fears keep them from trying something new, even if it is difficult. Stretching ourselves outside of our comfort zones is what helps us grow. Mentally healthy people also recognize that sometimes the opportunity hidden inside a challenge is the opportunity to say “no.” Not all problems are worth solving. Not all problems can be “solved” as they are defined.

“It is only human to make mistakes”: Mentally healthy people know that a mistake is not the reason to give up. It is an opportunity to learn and try again. Willingness to acknowledge and fix our errors is a mark of strength. Cultivating the courage to be imperfect is central to being willing to try again.

“I have what it takes to cope with change — and to make changes.” Change is inevitable in life. Mentally healthy people believe in their ability to cope and to adapt to changes. They aren’t unrealistic. They don’t deny the seriousness of a problem. They do acknowledge when a situation is very difficult. They don’t criticize themselves for not wanting to deal with whatever it is they have to deal with. But they have a deep seated belief that if they do tackle the problem, they will eventually find a solution or a way around it.

 

By Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.     8 Jul 2018


3 Comments

10 Self Esteem Tips to Feel Proud of Where You Are Right Now

“Love who you are, embrace who you are. Love yourself. When you love yourself, people can kind of pick up on that: they can see confidence, they can see self-esteem, and naturally, people gravitate towards you.” – Lilly Singh

Everyone needs a boost every once in a while. As much as we like to think that our self-esteem is fine, it always helps to give ourselves little boosts and reminders. If you find that your day-to-day life could use a little self-esteem boost, never fear. You’re not the only one, not by a long shot!

“Recognizing inner worth, and loving one’s imperfect self, provide the secure foundation for growth. With that security, one is free to grow with enjoyment, not fear of failure — because failure doesn’t change core worth,” says author of The Self-Esteem Workbook Glenn R. Schiraldi, Ph.D.

If you’re looking to find tricks that will help boost your self-esteem whenever you need it, look no further. You’ll be able to get your own self-esteem back up in no time.

10 SELF-ESTEEM TIPS TO MAKE YOU FEEL PROUD OF WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW

1. LOOK AT YOUR LIFE OBJECTIVELY

If things aren’t going so well, take a step back. Are they really that bad? It doesn’t do anyone any good to compare your suffering to someone else’s, but stepping back and looking at your life and situation objectively can help you stop feeling so low. After all, things probably aren’t as bad as they seem at first. Once you’re able to see that, your self-esteem will bounce back easily.

2. ADMIRE PAST ACHIEVEMENTS

When your self-esteem feels like it’s falling, don’t forget to look back at all the things you’ve accomplished. Look at where you were two years ago versus where you are now. Look back on all your school awards, your accomplishments, job advancements or relationship milestones. Whatever reminds you of how far you’ve come! It’ll make you feel much better.

3. ACKNOWLEDGE 5 POSITIVE THINGS

Sometimes, it can be hard to see the good things in life, and that can damage our self-esteem. When that happens, try pointing out five positive things about yourself and your life. Maybe you’re good at making people feel better, or great at handling difficult phone calls. No positive thing is too big or too small to make you feel better. Remember, “Reminding yourself of all your assets is a sure confidence booster,” says licensed psychologists Leslie Sokol, Ph.D. and Marci Fox

4. DETOX YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA

Seeing the carefully constructed lives of all the people around us can really start to put us in the dumps. It looks like people are doing and achieving so many amazing things, and it feels like we’re just stuck. To boost your self-esteem, turn off your social media. Delete your apps, log out, and focus on your life. Enjoy your time with friends and family without documenting it on Instagram or Snapchat.

5. READ AN OLD DIARY

If you have a journal that you’ve kept since high school, then a good way to feel a little better about yourself is to read back through it. All of your silly, high school drama will seem so hysterical now. It’s a good way to remind yourself that you’re not that person anymore, and thank god!

6. GIVE YOURSELF A PEP TALK

Yep, out loud. Talking to yourself is a great way to shake yourself out of feeling poorly. Not only that, but talking out loud to yourself is guaranteed to make it easier to internalize your messages.

“Remind yourself that, despite your problems, you are a unique, special, and valuable person, and that you deserve to feel good about yourself. You are, after all, a miracle of consciousness, the consciousness of the universe,” adds psychiatrist, philosopher and author Neel Burton, MD.

So, when you’re feeling particularly low, give yourself a pep talk. Treat yourself the way you would a close friend.

7. NO NEED TO BE PERFECT

Analyze your perception of what ‘perfect’ means. Are you trying to reach the heights of someone else, or are you trying to achieve an impossible standard? Letting yourself stop worrying about being perfect can be an amazing self-esteem boost.

Ariana Grande once said, “Be happy with being you. Love your flaws. Own your quirks. And know that you are just as perfect as anyone else, exactly as you are.” Remember, perfection is entirely subjective. Doing your best can be perfect, and your best won’t be someone else’s best. It’s all about doing what’s right for you.

8. YOU’RE NUMBER ONE

Sure, doing things for friends and family members is important, but you have to remember that it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes. If you need a day to relax, it’s okay to say “no” sometimes. Don’t be afraid to put yourself first if you need to have time to let your self-esteem reboot. It’s okay to treat yourself when things get too much!

9. BE SPONTANEOUS

Get in your car and take a road trip one town over! Go out to a new bar! Play a game you usually wouldn’t, or read a genre of book you’ve never tried before. Being spontaneous and acting out of character can be a great way to change up your life and give you a little boost of excitement. When we’re feeling low, sometimes all we need is a little change of scenery.

10. HANG WITH FRIENDS

This is a sane way to remind yourself how loved and appreciated you are. When you’re not feeling so hot, getting together with friends is an automatic self-esteem booster. After all, friends are there to lift you up and validate you.

“A healthy dose of skepticism and uncertainty about ourselves is a good thing because it helps us make better decisions. No one knows everything or has perfect instincts, and having good friends on whom we can rely for advice helps improve our sense of self-confidence and make better decisions,” says psychologist and author Irene S. Levine, Ph.D.

Don’t be afraid to reach out when you need some self-esteem boost. Your friends will always have your back!

Final thoughts

No matter how you usually feel in your day-to-day life, it’s probably true that your self-esteem isn’t always infallible. You may need a reminder from time-to-time, like everyone. Learning the best way to boost your self-esteem will make it easier for your self-esteem to stay high.

REFERENCES:
https://WWW.PSYCHOLOGYTODAY.COM/BLOG/NURTURING-SELF-COMPASSION/201703/8-STEPS-IMPROVING-YOUR-SELF-ESTEEM
https://WWW.PSYCHOLOGYTODAY.COM/BLOG/THINK-CONFIDENT-BE-CONFIDENT/201001/SIX-WAYS-BOOST-YOUR-SELF-ESTEEM
https://WWW.PSYCHOLOGYTODAY.COM/BLOG/HIDE-AND-SEEK/201205/BUILDING-CONFIDENCE-AND-SELF-ESTEEM
HTTPS://WWW.PSYCHOLOGYTODAY.COM/BLOG/THE-FRIENDSHIP-DOCTOR/201110/FIVE-WAYS-FRIENDS-HELP-BUILD-OUR-SELF-CONFIDENCE


8 Comments

Give Yourself More Credit for Doing These Things

Let’s do a roll call: who here has been giving themselves a hard time lately? If this is you, it’s time to cut yourself some slack! You may not realize it, but there are countless things you accomplish every day that are absolutely praiseworthy.

No, really! If we don’t give ourselves credit for the small stuff, how can we feel comfortable patting on ourselves when we accomplish something massive?

The next time you start doubting yourself and your capabilities, reflect on this list as a reminder of all that you do that is right as rain. And give yourself some credit – you really deserve it.

1. Catching Some ZZZs

Getting enough sleep every night is not an easy feat! Whether we’re a working parent of triplets or someone who is struggling with managing their anxiety levels, the fact that we get as many ZZZs as we can is a huge accomplishment.

2. Facing Small Challenges

When is the last time you had a day with absolutely nothing worth worrying about? No deadlines or housework or difficult social interactions to manage? Take as much time as you need… but you’ll probably find that most days contain these minor challenges. The fact that we get through a handful of them each and every day is a bigger deal than you think.

3. Taking a Much-Needed Break

When those minor challenges start to add up and we decide to take a well-deserved break, that is called self-care. It is absolutely essential that we establish boundaries for ourselves and what we can handle – just like how it’s essential we establish the same kinds of boundaries in relationships. Reward yourself for not putting too much on your plate to handle.

4. Being a Good Friend

Did you let a friend use you as a support today? Did you offer a kind word to a loved one having a crummy day? Did you text a funny meme to a friend who needed a pick-me-up? These small signs of affection and caring mean a whole lot to the person on the receiving end.

5. Letting Someone Else be a Good Friend to You

Were you the person who needed that pick-me-up today? Being open to help and support is just as important as offering it to the important people in our lives who need it.

6. Thinking a Positive Thought about Yourself

Disappointment, judgment, and criticism are such powerful factors in our self-talk every day. But, if we are able to find one nugget of positivity in the way we speak to ourselves, consider it a victory. Even if it’s simply “I tried today”, take it as a win. You were nice to yourself when you needed it.

7. Having patience with your growth

Living in such a demanding and busy society can take its toll. We can end up expecting a whole lot more from ourselves than we can reasonably give. It is important to remember this fact when we take the time to reflect on our overall progress with personal goals or development. Consider a person you really admire: did they obtain the traits you love overnight? No! They struggled and stumbled and learned along the way – just like you are doing. It’s all a part of the process.

By: Katie Medlock      October 7, 2017
 
source: www.care2.com


Leave a comment

A Birthday Introspection

One of the best things I like about birthdays is the opportunity to reflect. For better or for worse, I tend to do this often enough, but especially at this time even more so.

I love me. It’s been quite a journey to get to a place where I can say that. There have been many, many days where my self esteem has been very poor (and there are still days where insecurities temporarily win battles) … but I now am at a place in my life where I can say that I am proud of who I strive to be and some of the twists and turns that have brought me here.

It’s a funny thing … you have to love yourself to be successful, yet you have to also try not to be too self centered. Self love, empathy, gratitude, focussing on the positive aspects of life, being able to forgive yourself , trying to be humble – yet confident… all these aspects of trying to strike a balance to be a thriving, healthy, successful individual. It’s hard to be objective about yourself … I hope I am close to that sweet spot somewhere in that healthy middle ground … all I can do is try my best.

Who am I? How did I get here? How’s life?

There are many things I love about who and where I am today … I am healthy, debt free, active and proud of many things. I am far from perfect, but I hope that my intentions lead me to positive places more often than not..

One of the things I struggle with at times these days is that inside I still feel like I`m in my late 20`s … but physically, I am quite a bit older. I`m sure that`s a common thing … I feel younger than I am, and in many ways that`s good. They say “you’re as young as you feel”  🙂

I try to continue grow, improve, and learn. I aim to be open, to be aware and empathetic. I look for win – win opportunities and strive to make the world a better place in little ways here and there.

I have had a fun and interesting journey …
I’ve been a wolf cub, a roadie, an extra, a delivery driver, and actor, a Dee Jay, a cab driver, a husband, a waiter, a salesman, a draftsman, a stage manager, a step father … I am an educator, a traveler, a web designer, a blogger, a cyclist, a volleyball player… and the journey continues 🙂

Of course there have been struggles … those challenges have helped make me who I am. There are good days and not so good days … just like most of us. Some days I feel invisible … some days I feel happy, present and successful. My struggles pale in comparison to many others. I am grateful for my struggles – they have brought me resilience, confidence and character. I have learned to take care of myself. I have learned that there is no better advocate for my own well being than me. I have learned that I have the strength to overcome challenges that life has brought my way … nothing is permanent, and I have what it takes to succeed.

I am so grateful … there’s food in the fridge, gas in the tank (of my Camaro) , I have air conditioning, a dishwasher and in suite laundry in my apartment, I am debt free, I have jobs I love, I am healthy and active …  My life is filled with travel, live sporting events and concerts … I am so blessed – thank you universe 🙂

I have learned much in my journey so far, and know there is much more to learn as well. I am proud of who I am and continue to look forward to further adventures, good times and making new happy memories. In this huge machine we call mankind, I know I am just a small cog … I have a good heart, strive to live a life of meaning and have faith that even better things are on the horizon 🙂

You have to love yourself. 
If you don’t, you owe it to yourself and those that love you
to find out why you might not, and work on it.

THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF SELF-LOVE

“Who we are is more important than what we do.”

“We are valuable. Nothing can change that.”

ABOUT MISTAKES

  • Self-loving people know that they often make mistakes.
  • Since they live their lives for the joy they can find, they do a lot of experimenting and try many new things.
  • Since they aren’t dumb (or self-destructive), these experiments work out well most of the time- but sometimes they do go wrong.
  • When this happens, self-loving people are not surprised!
  • They simply apologize if necessary, fix anything that can be fixed, and move on…..
  • Self-loving people are responsible, not guilty.
  • Self-loving people don’t make many excuses especially to themselves.

IN RELATIONSHIPS

  • Since self-loving people tend to treat themselves well…
  • They see fun and enjoyment as a primary goal most of the time (even when it is hard to attain).
  • They do not tolerate mistreatment by others.
  • They are caring toward others. (It feels better to be that way.)
  • They never put anyone else first. (Even those they love are “a close second.”)

I hope to continue to evolve, grow and improve … ( and share much of things I learn with you) … I know that I make mistakes, and that’s OK. I am human. Mistakes have taught me much over the years 🙂  I try to learn from missteps when I can …
There are lots of days when I struggle (like many others) … but  Today, I celebrate ME.

━═★ [̲̅̅H̲̅][̲̅̅A̲̅][̲̅̅P̲̅][̲̅̅P̲̅][̲̅̅Y̲̅]  [̲̅̅B̲̅][̲̅̅I̲̅][̲̅̅R̲̅][̲̅̅T̲̅][̲̅̅H̲̅][̲̅̅D̲̅][̲̅̅A̲̅][̲̅̅Y̲̅] ★═━ 

 


1 Comment

What Loving Yourself Can Look Like

There are many misconceptions about self-love. Some people assume that loving yourself is a cop-out or an excuse to do whatever you want—as in miss work just because, or spend money on some big purchase that’s going to set you back (i.e., spending money you don’t have). Some people assume it means not taking responsibility for your actions, or slipping into excess, or obsessive behaviors. Some people assume self-love is a synonym for hedonism.

I totally understand why these myths abound. After all, we’re more used to punishing and berating ourselves than we are to leading with self-kindness. It’s hard to comprehend approaching ourselves with love. Because doesn’t that mean we’ll get out of line? Doesn’t that mean we’ll be lazy, and inefficient, and careless?

We’re afraid of putting down the whip and removing our shackles. It’s similar to the fears we have about giving up dieting: Left to our own devices, will we just eat everything in sight? Will we sit on the couch allllll day long eating ice cream and stuffing our faces? (“Health” publications and diet ads create the assumption that we will…)

We worry that somehow self-love equals a lack of self-control. We’ll go wild. So we need to restrain ourselves with clear-cut rules and consequences (e.g., you eat dessert, you pay the price with an extra 30 minutes at the gym).

But self-love is more about having our own best interests at heart. It’s about being supportive and intentional. It is about respecting and honoring ourselves and making decisions that fulfill us on a deeper level. It might be about seeking pleasure sometimes (because that’s a good thing). But overall it’s about doing what serves our health and well-being. For instance, drinking a glass of wine might feel pleasurable. However, over time, you realize that your drinking has actually become an escape, a way to numb yourself from emotional pain. The loving action is to find a healthier way to cope with your heartache.

Below is what self-love means to me. These are my personal views and examples. Your perspective will likely look slightly different.

  • Self-love is getting quiet and contemplating my needs and wishes regularly (though, of course, I’ll forget and need reminding).
  • It is prioritizing my health, such as going to the dentist several times a year, and having an annual skin exam.
  • It is letting others be kind to me. It is letting others love me.
  • It is staying in bed longer when I need the rest.
  • It is not spending time with people who bring me down or are dishonest or thrive on gossip.
love_yourself

Self-love is using the present as an anchor when the inner-critic gets too loud, when my thoughts turn too dark.

  • It is taking a walk, not because I need to burn calories or punish myself for a big meal. But because it’s beautiful out, and it feels good, and it awakens my senses
  • It is being honest about my dreams and my feelings and my thoughts.
  • It is being OK with being sad or anxious, instead of bashing myself for these feelings, instead of saying that I am weak.
  • It is acknowledging that I don’t have to be like anyone else—I don’t need to be as productive as she is. I don’t need to adopt her dreams. My dreams don’t need to be “big” or anything other than what they are. I don’t need to hold the same opinions or priorities as he does. I don’t need to look like them. I don’t need to go along with something I dislike or don’t believe in. I don’t need to try the latest social media app if I’d rather devote that time to something else—like being with my loved ones, or relaxing, or sleeping.

Self-love is forgiving myself for making a mistake or a bad decision (as hard as this is). It is exploring what went wrong and trying to learn from it. It is wondering how I can move on and how I can make the next decision more helpful.

Sometimes, this comes naturally. Most times, I fumble and feel a bit lost. Sometimes, I feel like years of progress have been erased in a few moments. But that’s just because self-love is a process. And this is natural, too. We will disconnect from ourselves, and we will reconnect. The key, I think, is to be open. To be open to beginning and trying.

 

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS    Associate Editor 


2 Comments

How To Make Friends With Your Inner Critic

Today it’s my pleasure to introduce you to licensed counselor and intuition coach John Harrison. John has written a fantastic guest post about the benefits of negative self talk. Yes, that’s right! John shows us how to make friends with our inner critic and let it guide us back to authenticity.

by John Harrison, LPCC      Sharon Martin, LCSW

We all experience positive and negative self talk.

We’ve been alive long enough to have experienced viewpoints of ourselves that are negative, self deflating, and undermining and those that tell us we are limitless creators, lovers of life, and the masters of our own destiny.   One set of beliefs tells us we “aren’t”.  The other tells us we “are”.  How do we know which is the affirming view of our own reality?  Who are we, really?

Most of my clients come to see me looking for guidance to help them “get on the right track”.   One person in particular has a stretch of weeks where her life is really coming together for her.  She’s engaged, excited, and feeling she’s turned that corner.  Then, to her disappointment, she’ll have one of her negative interactions with her family.  They’ll tell her she’s being selfish.  They’ll suggest she’s wasting her time with her career and that “if she’d just change” she’d be able to find someone that would want to date her.

After these run-ins with her family she’ll come to my office completely devastated.   The self doubt creeps in.  “What if they’re right?  Am I being selfish?  Can I ever be happy with my decisions?”  She really feels that each time she has a setback she is starting over from scratch.  I know that it feels that way to her.  But she’s doing just fine.

Your inner critic doesn’t define you.

Although we all contain negative self talk, we are actually much more than this “self chatter”.  Sure, we carry the doubts and fears of our parents, our families, the experiences of failure from growing up.   We hear those “voices of the past” as we move into adulthood and even now in our current life experiences.   But this isn’t actually who we really are.  There’s a part of us that knows the “right way”.  A part of us that knows joy and peace.  So how do we tap into this?  How do we tune out the negative self talk and ignore those crippling, shameful voices that tell us we aren’t enough?

self

You don’t turn them off.  You can’t completely stop that negative self talk.  But you can actually use those awful feelings you get when your negative self talk is at its worst to give you guidance.   You can learn from your negative beliefs, self talk, and feelings.  The negative feelings caused by negative self talk are the first indication that you aren’t in alignment with your true self.   Why?  Because you are worthy just by being alive.  You deserve to feel good.  You deserve to be confident, healthy, and thriving.

Self affirming thoughts and beliefs feel good.  They feel right.  And if you want to feel good, this is all you need to pay attention to in knowing you are “on the right path”.

You don’t need permission to feel good.

You are supposed to feel good.  You are supposed to be happy and get what you want.   Feeling good, alive, and engaged in life is what life is all about.  Sure we’ve all been taught in one form or another that we get love and acceptance as long as we “play by the rules”.  But I’m going to tell you this:  You are deserving of what you want because you are.  Period.  You don’t need permission to feel good.  You don’t need to be ashamed to feel happy and get what you want.

Your negative self talk can guide you back to yourself.

You have an internal GPS.  A guidance system that tells you when you are “off” and when you are “on” and where you want to be.   If you use those negative beliefs of yourself, or that negative self talk, to signal you that you aren’t where you want to be, the negative voices and stories in your mind can be a powerful ally.  Stop trying to look for proof that your self defeating beliefs aren’t your reality.  Stop trying to prove yourself and look for external affirmation.  Give yourself permission to accept that you can demand and get what you want because you say so.  And I’m assuming that you want more good in your life.  You want to be happy, content, and be in love with your life.

And here you are.  Living your life while going through the ups and downs.   But you’ve made it this far.  You know that for every self defeating belief, there is still a part of you who continues to seek something better.  There’s a “you” that’s constant through all of this.   The you that knows the contrast of life.  The pain, the shame, and the love and excitement of being happy and alive.  All of it.   The truth is you want to be happy, engaged, and in love with life.  But as life does, it gives us the negative experiences that bring those voices of doubt to the forefront of our conscious minds.  But “you”, the real “you” continues to tell you through negativity that you aren’t living your truth.   This is your intuition.  Your internal GPS.  It loves you.  It doesn’t lie.  All you have to do is listen to it.

John Harrison is a licensed counselor and intuition coach who works with individuals and couples helping them get “unstuck”. He shows them how to empower their lives, helping them see they are their own greatest asset. John counsels individuals and couples in Cincinnati, Ohio and coaches people from all over the country showing them how to use their “higher self” to get the lives they want. You can find out more about John and his services at johnharrisoncounseling.com.