Personal Growth: First of All, Love Yourself
We are all very aware of the Law of Attraction, and we also know that thought eventually turns into form. So, in my mind, it follows that if we love ourselves, we become more loveable to others. Makes logical sense, doesn’t it?
So, I’m going to ask that thought provoking question – the one that stumps almost all of us – what stops us from loving ourselves? And, consequently, worrying about whether other people love us? It’s those patterns of behavior and habits that we silently suffer through that make us feel unattractive in a variety of ways.
Again, it follows that we need to look at these patterns and habits that are getting in our way. This can be disturbing, mostly because they seem to have quite a bit of control over us. Consequently, we often will walk away and shrug our shoulders saying “Well, I can’t change, it’s just the way I am.” Or “This is me, it’s who I am, people just need to get over it.” These monkey mind statements are based on fear. We get comfortable with who we are, and when we take a look at some of these habits or patterns of behavior, we create a great deal of fear and overwhelm around the thought of change. The task may not be as intimidating as we think, and it’s vitally necessary if we are to create the life we want.
My grandma used to tell me, “let’s pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, and screw up our courage.” We can bravely face each one of the patterns or habits we listed one at a time. Some will give way easily, others will take longer. But, as we mark them off the list we get stronger and more powerful, experiencing benefits that will occur more and more frequently.
As you get closer and closer to eliminating these powerful habits and patterns, you get closer and closer to freedom.
Let’s get down to brass tacks here. Would you paint a house that was infested with termites? Or, would you replace the siding and call an exterminator before you did anything else to it? It’s always good to make improvements – especially those that others see – but it is more important to start from the inside out, where you will create lasting value.
I have written in previous blogs about extreme self-care. This practice is NOTHING more than recognizing that you are valuable, and then taking care of yourself as you would a person of value! The people around you will notice as you do this, and will honor you for it.
Stop doing things that are bad for you! If I asked you what was bad for you, what would be on your list? It’s important to remember that bad is a relative term. What is bad for one may not be bad for another. Let me give you an example. Sugar and carbohydrates are “bad” for me, whereas for a vital and healthy twenty year old, some amount of both are just fine. You will find that things you once did, and you were okay with, may gradually become bad for you.
As you progress on your journey in life, your perceptions about what is bad for you will change, especially as you become more sensitized to your body. You will know intuitively by how your body feels when something is bad for you. Over time, you will be less willing to put up with patterns and habits that do not nourish you. And as you do so, you will become more in integrity with yourself, more whole.
As you practice taking really good care of yourself, you will want to look at how often you push yourself to live into other people’s expectations of you. And, conversely, how often you want others to live into your expectations of them. Remember, it is good for us to respond to others, and to even over-respond, but when you cross the line into living out of their expectations of you, you get into trouble. So, be patient with yourself, but begin unhooking yourself from others’ expectations of you – and unhook them from your expectations of them. It is amazing how much good you can do for each other when you aren’t suffocating from role expectations.
Here is a thought; something to chew on. What does being “good”, or “nice”, mean to you? Do you behave this way because you are afraid of what someone might think of you? Do you behave this way because of your need to survive? Women have been socialized to be “nice”, often meaning obedient, submissive, and conforming. What if those things are not the right things for you – what if they are just wrong? I’m definitely not suggesting that you do anything that might harm you or someone else – no illegal activities, please. I am suggesting you lighten up, and perhaps tell your spouse and kids that they are in charge of dinner tonight because you are going to start a kick-boxing class – or some other activity you have always wanted to do. Lighten up, and follow your instincts. Start living outside the box, at least start creating your own box!
I’ve tried to think back to when I started to compare myself to others and/or notice that I was differen t than some of my friends, and when that activity began to affect my self-esteem. It’s the beginning of self-awareness, and how we handle that awareness may determine how we approach life. I think it’s okay to compare yourself to others so you might find out your differences, because these differences provide us with reference points. BUT, when we start to feel bad because we are not just like them, it creates dependence and can be very harmful. Unfortunately, our society is built on the illusion of conformity rather than the joy of diversity. In order to grow and develop, it is important to celebrate our diversity and begin to measure ourselves by our own standards; who we are and how we are doing. The reality is that these are the only measures that count, in the long run.
I ask all of my clients if they are willing to allow life to be easy. Most of them laugh rather cynically. Let me remind you that stress and setting yourself up for failure are things we do to ourselves. Take a look at your life and ask yourself where you are doing this? If you are like me, there are people, projects, activities and goals that come to mind immediately. No doubt, here are a bunch of “shoulds” that jump out like neon lights at midnight. Pick one and look at it carefully. Now, dig a little deeper to figure out what motivated you to start the project in the first place. Hmmm – think you identified a “need” – a driver that trumps your values every time? I know I did.
Get to know that part of you REALLY, REALLY well. This is a part of yourself you are going to have to make peace with. Learn to respect it as a powerful force in your life. Please don’t try to wrestle it down to the mat. It is important that you respect it. Acknowledge it. Create a daily, hourly, minute by minute awareness of it. Love it for the gift it has given you.
Here is another habit that goes hand in hand with stress and setting yourself up for failure. Overpromising. Stop it! Don’t promise anything at all. Look at why you take on so many things. Are you trying to make people dependent upon you? Do you like the feeling of power it gives you to say “I’ll take care of it?” Unhook and become aware of what you are doing. Then break the cycle! When you release yourself from overpromising, you gain more freedom and create a reserve of time that is not burdened by something you HAVE to do. Talk about a relief from stress!
Once you have built that reserve of time and space, you have the perfect opportunity to begin listening really hard to that inner voice. It is the opportunity you have been looking for to learn to trust and honor your intuition. You will become a much faster learner, and you will love yourself deeply in the process. Live in the process of acting on your intuition rather than in the illusion of reality. By doing so, you will be living fully in the present rather than trying to prove the present is real, by which time it is the past. Oh, that was fun!
Stop chasing your dreams. Let them unfold by following the path of least resistance. You will use much less energy if you take the next right step and accomplish the goal nearest to you than constantly stretching and reaching for the vision you hold in your heart and mind. And, in the process, you may move much closer to that distant objective by accomplishing that “pull” goal rather than “pushing” yourself so very hard.
Please don’t misunderstand. It is great to have dreams, to hold and to move toward a vision. However, when you are striving and pushing, it becomes very unattractive to others, and creates an enormous amount of stress for you. One of the things that shows up when we strive is that we are trying to project ourselves as somebody more than, or other than, we really are. But, here is the key – don’t strive to be somebody else – that behavior is hooking into the past, and it isn’t even your own past! Discover who YOU are and be that person with passion. I’ll bet you will be delighted with your new found friend!
As we move solidly into loving ourselves, we become a problem free zone. There isn’t any more drama. We aren’t fixing anyone else, and we rarely have anything we believe needs fixing. We simply respond to a situation and it gets taken care of. Look for the best possible use for your time and energy. Love yourself, practice extreme self-care, and let your life goals unfold before you. Life isn’t meant to be hard, it just is.
Georgia Feiste, owner of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership transition coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. She is also a Usui Reiki Master. Georgia specializes in career, business and personal life transitions for people seeking change in their life. Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life. You can also find her on her website http://www.georgiafeiste.com. Georgia can be reached at (402) 304-1902 or you can schedule a 30 minute consultation via Automated Appointment.