You spend the whole day making sure everyone is happy, but who is taking care of YOU? Before anyone can love and care for you, you must learn to love yourself.
Many of us feel unhappy and spend time each day thinking “IF ONLY” …….
“IF ONLY” has us looking for answers outside ourselves, forever trying to change how others behave in order to feel better about our own lives.
We believe that our relationships, work and health could be better, if only this person acted a certain way, or if only there weren’t so many obstacles in the way.
It turns us away from the one thing that CAN change how we feel about our lives.
And that is looking within, to how we really feel about ourselves.
Because in order to feel at peace and fully content with our lives, we must first and foremost learn to love ourselves.
Most of us don’t even realize that we don’t love ourselves.
We think “if only” we could make a little more money, we could afford the things that would make us really happy… like buying a better car, or booking a holiday or purchasing a nicer home.
If only we could get some cooperation around the house from our partner or kids, we could finally relax and do something nice for ourselves instead of wearing ourselves out keeping our home tidy and in good order.
If only we didn’t work such long hours or have such a long journey, we would have the energy to go to the gym and eat better, and take better care of our health.
But the truth is none of those “if only’s” will make us feel happy at all.
Even if we got everything we wanted, there would be something else that would eat away at our contentment, because the “if only’s” are only SYMPTOMS of the real problem.
So we need to get clear about the real problem, so we can focus on a solution that will REALLY work.
The real problem, and why so many of us feel chronically unhappy with our life, is related to how we really feel about ourselves.
In order to feel at peace and fully content with our lives, we must first and foremost learn to love ourselves.
And for most of us, it’s hard to know whether or not we truly love and accept ourselves, or if we just think we do.
So what are the signs that you actually don’t love yourself?
When working with individuals in therapy or in a group session, there are many signs that point to a person not loving themselves.
1. PEOPLE PLEASER
Your boss sends you a last minute request, and you always do them right away, even when it means missing time with your kids, dinner dates, or workouts with friends at the gym.
You offer to watch your neighbour’s cats while he’s on vacation, even though you barely have time to walk and play with your own dog.
You say “yes” even when you don’t have the time, energy or desire, because you don’t want to disappoint the people that count on you.
You think your problem is that you’re not organized enough, that you don’t set good enough boundaries or that there’s just not enough time in the day to do everything you want to do.
Actually the problem isn’t that at all.
The problem is that you don’t love yourself, so you’re always trying to prove something to someone – that you’re a good partner, a good parent or a good employee. Unless you learn to love yourself, you’ll forever run yourself ragged and never feel accomplished.
2. “I AM NOT ENOUGH”
No matter what you do for others, you don’t feel like you’re enough, meaning, you don’t ever feel that people truly love or respect you. Nothing you do is ever enough to make others (or yourself) satisfied for long.
If you’re single, this shows up in that sinking feeling you get whenever your partner is acting distant or your worry over whether or not they’ll call you again. They may have told you they had a nice time on the date, but you won’t believe them. You’re convinced that other people have great relationships, but that you never will.
If you’re in a relationship, it could mean that you seethe with jealousy whenever your partner talks about another person or pays attention to anyone else. You fear being abandoned and you worry about them breaking up with you. You can’t handle criticism and feel like your partner is constantly having a go at you.
At work it means not feeling appreciated or respected for your contribution. At home it can be second-guessing how you treated your kids. Did you say the right thing? Is someone going to think you’re a bad parent?
It could show up as never being happy with how you look or feel and therefore giving up on the habits that can really make a difference in your health.
You may think all these problems are the results of choosing the wrong partner, or having an inconsiderate boss or out-of-control kids. But actually these are all symptoms of a greater problem – that you don’t love yourself.
And it can lead to strained or broken relationships, career setbacks and a whole host of health issues.
Not loving yourself is a symptom of so many personal problems, but there is one solution that can turn everything around.
You can solve a lot of the problems you’re experiencing in life if you just learn to love yourself.
You don’t have to run yourself ragged anymore. You don’t have to feel inadequate in any area of life, or wonder if you’ll ever be loved the way you deserve.
You just need to learn how to tap into who you really are, and then accept yourself fully.
I think most of us would be shocked if we could hear a tape recording of our inner dialogue. We would see just how many times a day we judge or criticize ourselves harshly. Sometimes we treat ourselves far worse than we could imagine treating someone else.
To learn how to love yourself, listen to how you talk to yourself. Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?
“There is something wrong with me. I’m really messed up.”
“It’s all my fault”
“I’m incompetent. I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“I’m not (good, smart, attractive, rich, etc.) enough”
“I’m not as (good, smart, attractive, successful, etc.) as that person.”
“I’ll never get that job.”
“I’ll never be able to do this. I don’t have what it takes.”
At a deeper level, you might hear:
“I don’t deserve to be happy. I don’t deserve to be loved. I don’t deserve to have what I want.”
Until you learn how to love yourself, this is how you stop yourself so that you can’t move forward or go after the things you want. Underlying this negative self talk can be long-held beliefs about yourself that aren’t based on reality. Sometimes we hear these thoughts in someone else’s voice – perhaps in the scolding voice of a parent.
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Meanwhile, become mindful of your thoughts. Shift those negative thoughts to positive ones.
Do as many things as you can to nurture yourself on all levels – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. See what you are drawn to, such as yoga, pilates, dance…. Change your eating habits and choose natural healthy options. Listen to music that you love. Decide to do at least one thing every day that you feel is FUN.
Focus on gratitude, all the things you appreciate about yourself. This is a powerful way to switch your feelings about yourself from negative to loving.