What drives your self-worth? What are the types of messages you tell yourself? Do you tell yourself things like, “You are fat, look at you! You are stupid. What is wrong with you? You are not good enough. You have no friends. No one is going to like me when they find out who I really am. I am so ugly. I am a loser.”
These are just a snapshot of some of the things we tell ourselves. We wouldn’t talk to our friends the way we talk to ourselves.
It is important to explore when and where these messages come from. Chances are they started when you were young. We start off as pure souls and then begin to layer ourselves with messages we receive from our families, society and other important people in our lives. We don’t want to blame others for our feelings or beliefs because we are ultimately responsible for them. We want to unpack them in order to grow.
We have the opportunity to change these beliefs. It begins with a desire and willingness to work on self-acceptance. We start by building awareness, reflecting and exploring. I highly recommend getting a notebook or journal.
1. Write down the beliefs you have about yourself. What are the statements you tell yourself when you look in the mirror or when you are feeling anxious or afraid?
2. Explore where these beliefs started. Can you picture someone telling you this negative statement? Did your parents feel this way about themselves and pass it on to you? Did you pick it up from societal messages? Write out your answers.
3. Ask yourself, “How is this belief serving me?” Chances are this isn’t serving you at all. It is keeping you stuck and stealing your joy.
4. Write yourself a letter. This may sound silly but it works if you are willing to trust the process. Write yourself a loving, compassionate note filled with grace (as if you were writing it to a friend) about everything you love about you. Look for the good. Use this letter whenever the negative self-talk starts coming up.
5. Give yourself permission to not be perfect. We learn from our mistakes and imperfections. What would we learn and how much would we grow if we were all perfect? Not much. Give yourself grace when you “mess up.” It’s okay. Learn from it and let it go.