“If you can learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better. And that makes you so happy.” — Kristin Chenoweth.
I recently had a friend ask me why she is so mean all the time. I wasn’t really sure what she meant by this, so I asked her to explain. She stated, “I just feel so mean when I talk to my parents, my husband, my co-workers, and even my kids. I just want to stop being mean and be happy.” Many times people find themselves feeling angry or impatient with others because there is something within themselves that makes them feel insecure, unloved, or disappointed. It may be time to start looking within yourself for love. Read below to learn how to find the ‘you’ that you love by following these 4 steps.
#1. Change Your Negative Thoughts to Positive Thoughts
The first step towards self-love is changing your automatic thoughts. Reframing your negative automatic thoughts into more positive thoughts can be very powerful. Start by listening to your internal dialogue and challenge those comments that are negative or abusive to yourself. Take notice of the themes and emotional tone of your self-talk. Then intentionally reframe those thoughts so they are more positive, supportive, and encouraging. Here is an example of how to do this:
According to the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia (2015), "It is important to note that positive self-talk is not self-delusion. Psychologically, it is knowns as Cognitive Reprogramming and acts to correct our faulty thinking. Faulty thinking is a bad habit that limits our chances for success and happiness."
#2. Get Outside and Be Active!
Exercise Makes You Feel Better. Period. According to a center for CBT Therapy in London, when you exercise, you not only feel better physically, but you feel better mentally. Studies have shown that exercise can even help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, especially when done outdoors (Vitamin D!! – hello??). Find an outdoor workout that fits your style! Whether it’s walking your dog, jogging, biking, rock-climbing, hiking, or renting a canoe, just get OUTSIDE and see how much self-love comes with it.
Exercise also releases endorphins, which contributes to your level of happiness and will ultimately help you feel better about yourself. You will feel more interested in exploring new places and meeting new people. You will have the energy to overcome obstacles and the emotional stamina needed to take on personal goals.
#3. Find Gratitude in Everyday.
When we focus on all of the things we DON'T have, we get caught up in all of our negative thoughts and they become louder and louder in our minds. When we incorporate gratitude into our daily routine, we feel less anxious, more grounded, and all around joyous.
I challenge you to write out the following sentence in the morning and before you go to bed everyday.
“I am truly blessed to have ____________________________, because _______________________________.”
You will immediately start loving yourself more when you realize all the things you’re grateful for in your life.
#4. Be Your Best Self. Embrace Your Imperfections.
Do you lack self-compassion? Do you judge yourself? Do you doubt your choices? If you answered yes to any of these, then it is time to practice self-acceptance. And I mean REALLY practice it. Sometimes this requires a mindfulness-based ideology, which can mean becoming more aware of your own emotions and thoughts. Sometimes finding the ‘you’ you love means appreciating your own imperfections just as much as you appreciate your strengths. The more we accept things that we cannot change in the moment, the faster and lighter we will move forward. Positive affirmations can also help with this. Here are examples of positive affirmations:
No matter what happens in life, there is always a chance to look forward and find the ‘you’ you love. Sometimes this seems like an impossible task due to past traumas, life adversities, and/or losses. But do not think of these as road blocks; think of them as steps on your journey towards unconditional self-love.
Questions? Contact Alison:
Alison Seponara, MS, LPC is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice located in Lafayette Hill, PA. Alison specializes in holistic and mindfulness work with women who struggle with anxiety related to a life transition including divorce, motherhood, death of a loved one, relationship struggles, career change, etc. Alison also works closely with children and families with special needs including those who suffer from anxiety, ADHD, Autism. Feel free to contact Alison with any questions you may have or if you are interested in a FREE consultation: Call Alison at (610) 952-4169 or send her an e-mail at AlisonSeponaraLPC@gmail. com