If I could just lose 10 pounds. If I just had fuller hair. If I only had whiter teeth.
If we just had a bigger house.
And the list goes on…
It’s no wonder, considering we are continuously sold lies that something outside of ourselves will make us happy. After a while, it becomes engrained in us and we begin to believe that “if only…” changes to our body and things we have will open a magical door of peace and happiness.
Maybe it’s the ideal weight, maybe designer clothes, maybe a bigger home, or even a better spouse?
There are endless messages we are being sent to encourage us to change something on the outside so we feel better on the inside. We could go on and on about all of these messages (just like our “if only…” list), but instead, let’s focus on what we can do to make life a little more positive and happy!
Having a solid and realistic perspective on our body image is first and foremost, the foundation for providing ourselves self-love.
When marketing messages fill our minds with what we “should” look like or “should” be, we can find ourselves falling short, beating ourselves up, and simply feeling shameful. Our ego is always working against us and what we truly want deep inside!
However, with a tweak of our perspective, we can stop the vicious cycle of never being enough.
How to do this?
We recommend consistently asking yourself:
“Is doing this loving myself?”
Take a second and think about this.
When you try a new diet, buy something new, or find yourself telling yourself you need to change, are you telling yourself:
“I should have this to feel happy.”
“I should look like this to love myself.”
“I need to do this to make myself lovable.”
or, are you talking to yourself how you would talk to your child and saying:
“Whether you buy this or not, look like this or not, or do this or not, you are still
lovable, you are still filled with light, and you’re amazing just how you are.”
Be aware of what items, thoughts, and actions can be fleeting for instant gratification or happiness and if that is truly what is needed for unconditional love for yourself.
Once we change our perspective on how we look at things on the outside, we can become more aware of the damage we may be doing to ourselves on the inside and how we can stop it.
First, be aware of when you may beat yourself up. Your mind is programmed to be against you and is highly critical (that’s why you may not tell yourself the same thing you tell your friend).
This was actually revolutionary to survive many years ago!
However these days, it can be to our detriment.
Obsessing about what we eat, how much we’ve exercised, what we’ve accomplished, how much we have, and even how much money we make, can lead to feelings of unworthiness.
The thought of, “if I do this, I will be safe and loved,” leads to suffering both emotionally and physically.
Be aware that pain is universal, no matter the way you look or how much money you have. You cannot eliminate pain from your life, but you can become aware of how you are treating yourself because of it.
If you find yourself wishing you looked differently or had more, don’t feel bad – this is a normal human experience! We hunger for things we don’t have.
However, when our perspective begins to change and we become aware of what we are doing and thinking to shame ourselves, then we can start to take action to continue towards true happiness.
We recommend developing a plan of self-love.
Start by writing down your expectations of yourself – physically, emotionally, and achievement-wise. Are they all realistic and self-loving? Are any of them to impress others or are they truly just for your own happiness?
Then, come up with actual thoughts and actions you can do to support these goals – this can include things such as, but not limited to:
-giving yourself permission to fall apart, have a bad day, and have a good cry
-taking time to do things you enjoy AND do those things without feeling guilty
-asking for what you need (time alone to think, a day off from cooking, help with putting the kids to bed, etc.)
– becoming comfortable with yourself (yep, take full look in the mirror and shower with the lights on) and tell yourself how grateful you are for your body
If you find this difficult on your own, that’s okay! This can be very challenging, especially if we’ve experienced past trauma or relations in which we’ve witnessed or been told negative things about ourselves.
For those that need a little extra help in moving towards self-love, don’t feel shameful – rather, find professional assistance. Sometimes this may mean holistic counseling to talk through things and other times it can even be a physical issue that is causing your suffering.
For example, calming the mind by balancing neurotransmitters with acupuncture and herbs may significantly help bring peace and serenity to an obsessed mind. It can shut the brain off and help your body start feeling the emotions you’ve been hiding away.
Changing your thoughts to a life of self-love is not easy. Remember that we are constantly being told that we need to be more and have more. However, with on-going awareness and distinct small actions, we can slowly begin to change our paradigm of who we are and what we can bring to the world – no matter what we look like or how much money we have.
If the thought of self-love makes you tear up just thinking about it, we understand – it can be overwhelming. If you live in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch, Centennial, Parker, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs, or the Greater Denver Metro area and would like to begin the process of self-love and need guidance, please don’t hesitate to contact our office at (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation with Dr. Graves.
Together, we can help turn your shame and guilt into love and happiness.