As women we talk…a lot. Not only do we like to talk to friends and loved ones, we also spend quite a bit of time talking to ourselves. The truth is talking to yourself is not a sign of madness as some would have you believe, but something we do naturally and constantly. It's this small self talk that counts because if we do talk to ourselves a lot, then it is essential to ensure that what we say is kind, patient, understanding and supportive, otherwise we have an inbuilt critique and an overly-harsh one at that!
Can you imagine if you had someone following you about all day criticizing every single thing that you did? It would literally drive you crazy! Yet this is what we do to ourselves and more often than not we don't even know we are doing it. Subconsciously or not these words still affect our feelings of self-confidence and self-love. Why? Because we are being disapproving of ourselves. We are rejecting our own abilities and if we do that others are sure to follow.
Judging, criticizing or disapproving is our way of trying to ensure we raise our standards and do better or achieve more. We want to act more professionally or more intelligently. Although it is understandable that we want to be the best we can, but is it really acceptable to talk to ourselves that way? Surely being the best you can involves happiness, joy, laughter and inner-peace? These can only be achieved if…guess what?…Yep that's right!…We love ourselves!
Imagine that you have just been to a very important meeting. For some reason you didn't feel that you were at your best, you know, you weren't firing on all cylinders. You come out of the meeting, very upset and go to the restroom for privacy and to pace up and down calling yourself an idiot, saying things like, 'why didn't I say this?' Or 'what is wrong with me?' Now you have created a situation that can only get worse. If you ask yourself these types of questions you are only going to get negative answers like, 'because you didn't prepare thoroughly,' or 'you did it again! I knew you would fold!' How can you possibly come up with better ideas, solutions, or performance levels if you beat yourself up so badly?
As a kid I am sure you remember that when you were applauded, understood or supported by a friend or your family it made you feel great, no matter how badly you thought you did. It is the same today. If you support, applaud and understand your performance everyday no matter what, then you will not only feel better about yourself, your level of competence will increase too.
Being more compassionate with yourself will help nurture your growth and development not only professionally, but personally too. Again this will reap massive rewards for you and your loved ones as it is a great lesson to show your children. Teach them how to communicate with themselves positively in this highly-competitive world.
Each day begin to notice what you are saying to yourself and as you do check that it is positive. If it isn't then you need to reword it immediately. Be compassionate, be understanding and patient. Its ok to have a bad day or even a bad week and if you can develop a habit of positive small talk everyday situations become lighter, more fun and less daunting or stressful.
If You Want Good Relationships – Loving Yourself is The Key!
It's a known fact that men and women are different. No one has put it more eloquently as John Gray, author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. He has taught us so much about how each sex ticks, emotionally and we have really benefited from his insights.
What we haven't yet embraced is our similarities, like our feeling as loving, giving and sometimes fearful, scared and lonely human beings. Behind the Venus and Mars metaphor, how really different are we when it comes to love? On the surface we face the same love-dilemmas, we just process them differently. So if that is the case, what can we do as women to improve the relationships we have now and create loving and lasting relationships in the future?
Here's the thing, we know we are emotional creatures. Our emotions are so powerful that they can develop or destroy relationships at the drop of a tear. But, and it's a big but…we can change this so that our emotions no longer hold us to relationship ransom. How? Well funnily enough it's all about love. Love is the answer, remember?
You should adhere to one simple rule and that is, if you want to have great and lasting relationships with anyone (and this includes family and friends), you have to love yourself first.
Go back and read that paragraph again.
It is the truth and we all secretly know this but we still look outside ourselves for real love. Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying romantic relationships cannot be filled with earth-shattering love. I am saying that without self-love these relationships cannot and will not last.
This is how men and women are very alike. We both require a reasonable amount of self-love in order to fully enjoy any type of worthy relationship (please note the use of the word 'worthy'). As women from a different planet, we lack the necessary anti-bodies for that well-known disease 'low self-esteem.' OK, plenty of men suffer from it too, heck who doesn't? But because we are more emotional we tend to look to our relationships to make us feel better. They soon become bad-tasting dishes made from our low self-esteem mixed with the subsequent unworthy relationships. It can go and on like for ever if we don't stop the cycle with the one simple rule…love yourself first.
If loving ourselves first is the answer to all our relationship issues, how do we achieve that? It is not as difficult as you may think. In fact I have broken it down for you into the two following exercises:
- The 'I Forgive Me' Exercise
- The 'If Only' Exercise
The 'I Forgive Me' Exercise
Forgiving yourself for whatever you may have said, done or thought in the past is the first step towards loving yourself. Freeing yourself from past mistakes, or what we at the Women's Life Improvement Club call 'learning opportunities,' allows you to make a fresh start with a clear conscious. Take time to go through this exercise thoroughly. Go back into your past and dig out all the things you have never forgiven yourself for. Fill in the blanks:
- I forgive myself for thinking that……………………
- I forgive myself for believing that…………………..
- I forgive myself for saying that………………………
- I forgive myself for doing…………………………….
- I forgive myself for being…………………………….
- I forgive myself for having……………………………
- I forgive myself for not thinking that……………………
- I forgive myself for not believing that…………………..
- I forgive myself for not saying………………………
- I forgive myself for not doing…………………………….
- I forgive myself for not being…………………………….
- I forgive myself for not having……………………………
Always forgive yourself. It leaves you open for developing into a more loving person. You can only truly love yourself when you have no bad feelings about yourself. Forgiveness clears the way for you to be happy. Forgiveness, like most things in life, is a choice. Choose to forgive and see how different your outlook on life becomes. Actively forgive all the time. Do not pre-condition forgiveness, just forgive because you can. It is self-healing and an act of self-love.
I want you to get the most out of this report and so as promised I have another important exercise for you. Read the following introduction and then complete the exercise as honestly and as completely as you can.
Unconditional love is the greatest gift there is. To some it may seem unreachable and so we want to help you understand two things:
- That it IS obtainable
- That I can show you how to overcome the obstacles to it
The irony is that we put obstacles to unconditional love in ourselves. We actually stop ourselves from loving ourselves unconditionally! It's no one else's fault but ours! So here's the thing, if you could clear away all those barriers to love, would you?
Some barriers are bigger than others, but most of them boil down to one thing, self-loathing. This is a very strange emotion because it too can come in different sizes. Let me explain; as women we often put conditions to loving ourselves, these are sometimes expressed as our 'if only' phrase. For example, look at the following list and be honest, do any of these resonate with you?
If only I were….taller, smarter, prettier, shorter, funnier, more confident, thinner, bigger-breasted, less like me, stronger, quieter, louder, more like her
…then I would accept and love myself more!
There should be no barriers at all to loving yourself. Women need to understand that they…you…are perfect as they are. Enjoy being yourself, stop worrying about your looks, age, being single, being divorced or being right. We are all perfect despite our flaws! Embrace it and relax!
Master self-acceptance and self-love, make it a big part of your journey in life. Forget struggling – look for support and guidance whenever you feel you need it, but always be moving towards love.
For more insights, exercises and a complete system to happiness get Alexandra's book, The Happiness System for Women from www.AlexandraWatson.com today!