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Learning How To Love Yourself

The most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself. Yet, how often have you heard yourself say, “I am my own worst enemy”? If your goals involve raising your confidence, ending depression, moving beyond diets or overeating behaviors, or just plain wanting to live a happier, fulfilled life, you have to know what self-love looks like. Learn how to define self-love and then how to bring it into your own life!

Oscar Wilde once stated, “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” Love is a mystery and not easily definable. However, it does have certain characteristics. Self-love is a consuming passion for your own happiness. It is an ongoing choice you make to be glad to alive, here on Earth, in your own body.

Self-love occurs when you decide who you are and what you want is important. It is an inner state of being which develops as you decide it is all right to build a kind, sensuous, and meaningful partnership with your self. Self-love involves deciding to connect with your dreams and then supporting yourself with encouraging thoughts and empowering self-supportive actions.

Defining Self-Love
Self-love is not so much a feeling as it is a decrease of self-doubt and self-disapproval. It involves an ever-growing sense of balance and belonging. Respect, responsibility for self, and feeling good are important values. Self-love means that your well-being matters to yourself unconditionally and in practical terms. The following are some characteristics of self-loving people:

• Self-loving people focus on feeling good.
• Self-loving people allow themselves to be happy and to share this with others.
• Self-loving people tend to treat themselves well.
• They see enjoyment of life as a primary goal most of the time.
• They do not remain in mistreatment by others.
• They are caring towards others. (Because it feels good to do so).
• They put themselves first. Even those they love are a “close second.”
• They find a thought that feels good, and practice it.
• They let themselves succeed.

You-Deserve-The-Kind-Of-Love

Basic Principles of Self Love

• Who you are is more important than what you are.
• You are valuable. Nothing can change that.
• What you want always matters.

How to Develop and Nurture Love
Increasing your love of self involves an intention to become more self-loving and then following up this intention with reinforcing actions. An intention involves a conscious decision to be happier and more fulfilled in your own life. You make a new decision to be alive . . . and then accept personal responsibility to make your life a better, more enjoyable experience. It may take considerable effort to pry yourself out of a life that feels less than joyful, but it is entirely possible to have the kind of life you want for yourself. Below are some practical ideas of how to begin expanding your love of self:

• Acknowledge and verbally praise yourself.
• Have fun more often.
• Learn new ways to relax and release tension.
• Practice conscious, deep, full-bodied breathing several times each day.
• Think inspiring thoughts.
• Instead of always focusing on the problem, decide to focus on desired outcomes.
• Fill your life with beauty, such as times of silence, beautiful music, flowers.
• Raise your confidence by taking daily small, achievable actions steps that support your goal.
• Acknowledge your efforts and your successes.
• Reward yourself daily.
• Listen to your intuition and then follow it.
• Let yourself succeed.
• Nurture yourself by imagining desired outcomes to life’s situations.
• Offer yourself affection in many, many different ways.
• Choose to think thoughts that bring inner peace (rather than worry).
• Remember and feel gratitude.

Love may be a mystery. The good news is that the art of increasing self-love is not so mysterious. In fact, it is something you can learn through knowledge and practice. Imagine your self-love as a seed inside of you. Even if it is just a tiny, unnourished, seed right now, you have the ability to grow that seed into something spectacular. The growth of your self-love is not going to happen overnight. However, by taking certain actions, your seed will most assuredly grow. Today, make a commitment to yourself to nurture your inner seed of love. Ask yourself, “How can I be more loving to myself today?” Use your imagination and come up with several possibilities. Then, follow through with your thoughts and put them into action. Do this every day, and watch as you begin to create the loving life you deserve.

By Annette Colby, RD, the Official Guide to Energy Healing


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7 Good Reasons to Cut Yourself Some Slack

May 4, 2015      By Andrea Schulman

Ever have the feeling that you’re just not good enough? Though it’s pretty normal for people to beat up on themselves, doing so can make life a lot more challenging as it can cause anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. To keep negative, self-critical thoughts from dragging you down, here are a few reasons to cut yourself some slack!

1. Repeat after me: There’s no such thing as perfect! 

What would perfect even be? What’s its age, IQ, religious preference, and blood type?  How tall is it?  Is it outgoing and funny or introspective and thoughtful? Is it a student, a CEO or a stay at home parent? There’s no perfect way to be, we simply are what we are.   We are unique, and there’s nothing specific that we are supposed to do, be or have.

2. Everyone has struggles, problems and flaws, and many of them are much more challenging to deal with than our own.

When you’re feeling down on yourself, take inventory of the people who are around you.  What are their flaws? What do they struggle with? Identifying the imperfections in other people can help you feel a little bit better about where you are in this moment.

3. Someone probably loves your flaws exactly as they are.

Sometimes the things we hate about ourselves are exactly what others love about us. Think about some of your favorite actors, comedians, teachers, friends, coworkers and family members-chances are their flaws are exactly what make them the special characters they are.

4. You’ll be looking back on today’s problems differently some day.  How you feel is temporary.  

For example, when you look in the mirror maybe you see signs of aging, and that stresses you out. However, ten years from now you’ll be looking at pictures of yourself thinking “Wow! I was so young!”   Likewise, you might have been completely devastated when you failed a math test in 7th grade but today the test seems completely insignificant and unimportant.

How we feel about ourselves in the present moment is simply our perspective from where we stand in this exact space. Someday our perspective will change and we will see things differently, so please realize that feelings of self-criticism are conditional and temporary.

girl-looking-in-the-mirror

5. No one else is ever going to be as critical of you as you are.

Sure, it might be embarrassing to say something inappropriate in a meeting, get fired or take a bad picture, but no one else is watching you as closely as you are yourself.  We are all a little narcissistic and self-absorbed, so trust that the people around you are more concerned with their own issues than they are with yours.  Although we might feel like there is a giant spotlight on our imperfections and they are being broadcasted around the world, no one’s really paying too much attention to them.

6. We’re all headed to the same place anyway.

Not to be too morbid, but all we really know for certain is that at some point, we are going to die.  It doesn’t matter who was the most attractive, the most accomplished, the smartest or made the least amount of mistakes.  We all share a similar fate no matter what we do, how we look or what we have.  Being hard on ourselves only makes the journey less pleasant.

7. You deserve love and acceptance, especially from the person you’re with all day, every day! 

We all need love to be our best selves.  Knowing this, please remember that you are the best person to love and accept yourself, because you are the only one you spend time with 24 hours a day.  If you want to be happy and have good self-esteem your best bet is to treat yourself with kindness and allow yourself to be exactly what you are, flaws and all.

So the next time you’re feeling down on yourself take a few minutes to get some perspective and cut yourself some slack.  Though feelings of self-criticism are normal and will pop up from time to time, there’s no reason to dwell on them and let them drag you down!


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5 Ways to Make Yourself Believe in Yourself

To do well in life, you must believe in yourself. You are the one person you can truly rely on. Your belief about yourself, and your abilities, reflects in your personal success and happiness.  When you lack confidence in yourself, others pick up on that, and don’t take you seriously, and in turn your confidence can shrink even more.

Belief in yourself opens the doors of opportunity to your dreams and aspirations. It allows you to live your truth and be your best self.  You are an important and integral part of life as much as anyone and anything else. You have a purpose!  When you believe in yourself, the ability to follow your passions and live your purpose is available. You are allowing good things to come to you, and your belief in yourself allows you to act on those opportunities.

But, in this often highly competitive and demanding society we live in, we can feel small, unworthy and far from confident.

That doesn’t mean it’s not possible. It just takes specific skills and habits that must be consistently practiced.

Here are 5 Ways to Make Yourself Believe in Yourself:

1. Reflect on your past success.

If you’re in an emotional rut, use the tools from your past and get yourself out. Here’s an exercise: Vividly remember a time when you absolutely just kicked butt! You rocked it! You exceeded your own expectation. 🙂 Put yourself there and feel the excitement and pride you had inside. Now, remember you can do it again.

It’s healthy to use the past to your advantage. Too often we easily recall what has hurt us, but we can just as easily allow the past to help us propel.

If you need a bigger boost, repeat the exercise.

2. Seek positive external validation.

Every day we are subconsciously seeking validation, essentially for love in some form. That level of validation depends upon the attitude of the people around us.

If we surround ourselves with positive people who care about us, cherish our strengths, and help us be uplifted, we will flourish. However, if we are around people with negative, limiting beliefs, we can become surrounded in a negative environment, not providing ourselves with the fertile ground we need to grow.

Happy, confident, successful people credit others. We all need positive encouragement. That can be a good friend, family member, or mentor.

girl-looking-in-the-mirror

3. Transform your self talk.

We create who we are, everyday, by our daily beliefs and self talk. Our words are essentially affirmation. It’s important that we talk to ourselves with love and kindness. We deserve our own compliments.

For some that can be incredibly difficult. We can compliment and love others, but… love ourselves? It seems egotistical! But, it’s not.

You deserve your love and appreciation more than anyone else.  Shine your light and love towards every area you feel needs improvement.

Embrace your flaws? But, doesn’t that mean you’re accepting and allowing them to be there?

Actually, loving your flaws releases them and allows them to become whole and well again. If you are having a hard time, switch your focus to another area and come back to it later.

This practice can be achieved easier through daily personal affirmations and mirror work.

4. Give fears less credit, give yourself more.

Fear is merely false evidence appearing real. It’s worry set on fire. It holds you back from believing in yourself more than anything else. It’s an illusion.

Realizing that your fear is not real is the first step (which can actually be hard to do, so when you do you are well on your way).

Transcend the fear with action and do not hesitate. Yep, just like the Latin Proverb – Carpe Diem!

You are capable of much more than you believe. When you conquer a fear you allow for more of your true self to shine. Keep up the momentum and declare to conquer a few fears in a specific amount of time (like one a month). In a year, you’ll look back and feel like a completely new you! 😉

5. Celebrate the positive.

Your every day attitude affects how you treat yourself and others. Strive to be an optimist and see the good in the world. Focus on what you love about yourself and your strengths. Celebrate who you are and the good people you have in your life. Feel gratitude for everything going right and all the blessings on the way.

A positive attitude is the quickest way to believing in yourself. It bypasses everything else and gets right to the end goal – happiness, love, success and belief in yourself.


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The Surprising Motivational Power of Self-Compassion

We all have a kind of virtual policeman living inside us. Amongst other things he’s the guy that helps us work towards our goals, whether personal or professional.

When things go wrong and we stray off the straight and narrow, he reminds us what we were supposed to be doing.

But what kind of policeman is he? Is he the kind with a riot shield, a baton and a bad attitude or does he offer a forgiving smile, a friendly word and a helping hand?

People sometimes think of the latter, more relaxed internal policeman, as being weak and ineffectual. The danger, it is thought, with going easy on ourselves, is that it will lead to lower motivation. Surely if we don’t use self-criticism to push ourselves, we’ll never get anywhere?

So, what stance should we adopt towards ourselves?

mirror
We all make mistakes,
but should you beat yourself up
or show a little mercy?

Antitoxin of the soul

Let’s say someone is trying to deal with a recent period of low self-confidence. Here are three ways the inner policeman might deal with it:

  • Self-esteem boost: think about positive aspects of the self to boost confidence.
  • Positive distraction: think back to nice memories to create a distraction from the problem.
  • Self-compassion: think about the self with kindness and compassion, seeing the period of low self-confidence in context, without evaluating or judging it.

When psychological researchers tested these approaches they found that self-compassion was surprisingly powerful (Breines & Chen, 2012). In comparison to self-esteem boosting and distraction, this study found that self-compassion was most likely to help participants:

  • See the possibilities for change,
  • Increase the motivation to change,
  • Take steps towards making a change,
  • Compare themselves with those doing better, to help motivate their change.

So self-compassion did not emerge as the soft-option: in fact, quite the opposite. By being sympathetic and non-judgemental towards the self, people were able to avoid both harsh self-criticism and potentially fragile self-enhancement.

When participants thought back to insecurities in their relationships, their shyness or social anxieties, it was showing compassion towards themselves that helped the most.

This may be because self-compassion builds a more balanced way of reacting to both failures in ourselves and difficult situations we find ourselves in. As the American writer Eric Hoffer said:

“Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless.”


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The Confirmation Bias: Why It’s Hard to Change Your Mind

People search for information that confirms their view of the world and ignore what doesn’t fit.

In an uncertain world, people love to be right because it helps us make sense of things. Indeed some psychologists think it’s akin to a basic drive.

One of the ways they strive to be correct is by looking for evidence that confirms they are correct, sometimes with depressing or comic results:

A woman hires a worker that turns out to be incompetent. She doesn’t notice that everyone else is doing his work for him because she is so impressed that he shows up every day, right on time.
A sports fan who believes his team is the best only seems to remember the matches they won and none of the embarrassing defeats to inferior opponents.
A man who loves the country life, but has to move to the city for a new job, ignores the flight-path he lives under and noisy-neighbours-from-hell and tells you how much he enjoys the farmer’s market and tending his window box.

We do it automatically, usually without realising. We do it partly because it’s easier to see where new pieces fit into the picture-puzzle we are working on, rather than imagining a new picture. It also helps shore up our vision of ourselves as accurate, right-thinking, consistent people who know what’s what.

Psychologists call it the confirmation bias and it creeps into all sorts of areas of our lives.

Here are a few examples:

1. Self-image

“Hey, you look great, have you done something different with your hair?”

Who doesn’t like a compliment? No one. It doesn’t even have to be sincerely delivered, I’ll take it. But what about…

“Hey, you’re a real slime-ball, you know that?”

Who likes insults? Well, we don’t exactly like them but—believe it or not—sometimes we seek them out if they confirm our view of ourselves.

In a study that examined this, people actually sought out information confirming their own view that they were—not exactly slime-balls—but lazy, or slow-witted or not very athletic (Swann et al., 1989).

And this isn’t some kind of self-hating thing; in this study even people with high self-esteem sought out information that confirmed their own negative self-views.

It seems we like to be right, even at a cost to our self-image.

mirror mirror
2. Finance

A study of online stock market investors has looked at how they gathered information about a prospective stock (Park et al., 2010).

The researchers found the confirmation bias writ large. Investors mostly looked for information that confirmed their hunch about a particular stock. Those people who displayed the strongest confirmation bias were the most over-confident investors and consequently made the least money.

It seems we like to be right, even if it costs us money.

3. Politics

People see what they want to see in politics all the time.

The most ironic example is in satire. Often satire uses sarcasm to make its point: TV satirist Stephen Colbert frequently says the opposite of what he really thinks to make his point (amongst comedians I believe these are called ‘jokes’).

Except the irony is that one study has shown that people who don’t agree with Colbert don’t get that he’s being sarcastic, they think he really means it (LaMarre, 2009).

The beauty is that both liberals and conservatives get what they want: their viewpoints confirmed.

It seems we like to be right, even if it means not getting the joke.

Blame it on the bias

Over the years the confirmation bias has picked up the blame for all sorts of dodgy beliefs. Here are a few:

People are prejudiced (partly) because they only notice facts which fit with their preconceived notions about other nations or ethnicities.
People believe weird stuff about flying saucers, the JFK assassination, astrology, Egyptian pyramids and the moon landings because they only look for confirmation not dis-confirmation.
In the early nineteenth century doctors treated any old disease with blood-letting. Their patients sometimes got better so doctors—who conveniently ignored all the people who died—figured it must be doing something. In fact for many ailments some people will always get better on their own without any treatment at all.

Fight the bias

The way to fight the confirmation bias is simple to state but hard to put into practice.

You have to try and think up and test out alternative hypothesis. Sounds easy, but it’s not in our nature. It’s no fun thinking about why we might be misguided or have been misinformed. It takes a bit of effort.

It’s distasteful reading a book which challenges our political beliefs, or considering criticisms of our favourite film or, even, accepting how different people choose to live their lives.

Trying to be just a little bit more open is part of the challenge that the confirmation bias sets us. Can we entertain those doubts for just a little longer? Can we even let the facts sway us and perform that most fantastical of feats: changing our minds?

source: PSYBLOG


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6 Purely Psychological Effects of Washing Your Hands

Washing your hands doesn’t just keep you healthier; it has all sorts of subtle psychological effects as well.

Hand washing sends an unconscious metaphorical message to the mind: we don’t just cleanse ourselves of physical residues, we also cleanse ourselves of mental residues.

So, here are six purely psychological effects of washing your hands…

1. Recover optimism

Washing your hands can wash away the feeling of failure.

In a study by Kaspar (2012) participants who failed at a task, then washed their hands, felt more optimistic afterwards than those who didn’t.

Unfortunately washing their hands also seemed to reduce their motivation for trying the task again.

Still, hand washing can help boost optimism after a failure.

2. Feel less guilty

In the mind, dirt is associated with guilt, so theoretically washing doesn’t just remove dirt, it also removes a guilty feeling.

One study had participants think about some immoral behaviour from their past (Zhong & Liljenquist, 2006). One group were then told to use an antiseptic wipe, and another not.

Those who washed their hands after thinking about an immoral behaviour felt less guilty. The antiseptic wipe had literally wiped away their guilt.

3. Take the moral high ground

Feeling clean directly affects our view of other people.

When people in one study washed their hands, they were more disgusted by the bad behaviour of others (Zhong, Strejcek & Sivanathan, 2010):

“…”clean” participants made harsher moral judgments on a wide range of issues, from abortion to drug use and masturbation. They also rated their own moral character more favorably in comparison with that of their fellow students.” (Lee & Schwarz, 2011)

So, when people feel clean themselves, they take the moral high ground and are harsher on the transgressive behaviour of others.

 
Wash your hands, wash your mind: recover optimism, feel less guilty, less doubtful and more…
 

4. Remove doubt

Sometimes, after people make the wrong decision, they try to justify it by pretending it was the right decision.

It’s a result of cognitive dissonance, and it’s one way in which people lie to themselves.

However, hand washing may wipe away the need for self-justification in some circumstances, leaving you better able to evaluate your decision the way it really is (Lee & Schwarz, 2010).

5. Wash away bad luck

Washing the hands can mentally wipe away the effects of perceived bad luck.

When participants in one study had some experimentally induced ‘bad luck’ while gambling, washing their hands seemed to mentally wash away their bad luck (Xu et al., 2012).

In comparison to those who didn’t wash their hands, hand washers carried on betting as if their bad luck was forgotten.

6. Guilt other people into washing their hands

Apart from its psychological effects, hand washing is the cheapest and best way of controlling the spread of things like colds and other infectious diseases.

So, getting people to wash their hands is really important.

To this end, a public health study flashed different messages onto the walls of public toilets as people entered, including “Water doesn’t kill germs, soap does,” and “Don’t be a dirty soap dodger.” (Judah et al., 2009)

The most effective overall message, though, was: “Is the person next to you washing with soap?”

So it seems when you wash your hands in a public toilet, you help guilt other people into washing theirs as well.

Not only are you staying healthy, you’re also doing a public service by shaming others into following suit.

A clean slate

All these studies are demonstrating that when we wash our hands, we also wash our minds clean:

“…the notion of washing away one’s sins, entailed in the moral-purity metaphor, seems to have generalized to a broader conceptualization of wiping the slate clean, allowing people to metaphorically remove a potentially broad range of psychological residues.” (Lee & Schwarz, 2011)

Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog.  
source: PsyBlog


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3 Ways We Sabotage Ourselves + How To Stop

BY ALLY HAMILTON   SEPTEMBER 19, 2013 

Most of us feel stuck at one time or another. Life isn’t looking like the picture we had in our head, things aren’t flowing, and frustration and despair set in.

Of course, this only compounds the problem, because when you’re feeling listless, discouraged and depressed, it’s very hard to get motivated. Feeling paralyzed is awful, and doubting your ability to live a life that feels good can be a very isolating experience.

Here are three ways people tend to block themselves, along with three ways to drop-kick those blocks across your path so you can get moving again.

1. We compare ourselves to others.

Many people look around and feel “less than.” They see a peer who somehow seems to be living a life where things come easily, and they wonder why they aren’t getting the breaks. Or they elevate other people and think, I could never do that because I’m not as outgoing, or attractive, or [fill-in-the-blank].

We live in interesting times where much of our interaction takes place over the internet. It’s easy to feel like everyone else has this glossy, perfect life when you base it on status updates, pithy tweets or hazy Instagram pictures. Everyone suffers and everyone struggles. Most people just don’t post about it. I’m questioning my ability to have an impact on the world around me. or I’m wondering what I’m doing here. or I feel alone in a world that doesn’t make sense to me.

Most people are not going to post that.

The more we focus on what other people are doing or having or being, the less energy we have to shine. And I’m not suggesting you should feel better because everyone else feels confused, too. I’m saying life is so much about what we do with what we’re given. Your power lies in your response. And you can respond with fear and tell yourself you don’t measure up, or you can respond with love and direct your energy toward uncovering and sharing your own particular gifts.

If you’re having a rough day, that isn’t the time to troll Facebook, because you’ll probably end up feeling worse. Think about what you’re feeding yourself, and I don’t just mean your body. Think about what you’re feeding your mind and your heart, too. Everything we take in is food, it’s fuel, it’s energy. Feed yourself the stuff that strengthens you.


2. We live with a harsh inner dialogue.

I know many people who quit before they try. They ask themselves, Who am I to…? But the real question is, Who are you NOT to…?

It’s important to remember there are roughly seven billion people on the planet at this point, and only one YOU. You’re made up of about 100 trillion cells that have never come together in exactly the same way before, and won’t again. You have a particular song to sing, and if you don’t belt it out, that’s a song the world never gets to hear.

If you’re doubting whether or not you have something meaningful to offer, consider that no one but you has had your experiences, your memories, your ideas, your fears or your dreams. You have a unique perspective, although the themes of your life are likely to be universal. You never know how you might shine a light for someone else simply by sharing what’s in your heart. And the joy in this life comes through connection, through giving and opening and accepting. Feed a loving voice. Feed a voice you want to hang out with, and starve the voice that asks you “who you are” to do anything.

3. We procrastinate.

Many people have dreams and ideas and the pull to follow their hearts, but the effort to follow through on this can feel so daunting. The idea that things will have to change can also create a lot of fear. If you’re trying to make a huge shift in your life, small steps get the job done. If you look at the whole task, you’re likely to feel defeated before you begin.

You have an inner “yes” that you can trust. If that yes is pulling on you, it’s pointless to resist, because what you’re opposing is a life that’s going to feel good to you. Just do one small thing, take one positive step.

And keep putting one foot in front of the other. You don’t have to make it all happen today. But try to make something happen. That’s how you start to trust yourself and build the confidence required to make those big changes when you must. You watch yourself following that inner GPS, and you realize you can act on your own behalf, and that it feels right and good.

“Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. 
You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.”
 ~Norman Vincent Peale