Hi! I’m Michelle Ainsworth Swilling a therapist here at Wellspring Renewal Center. I want to share with you some tips on how to improve your relationship with yourself. Whether it’s self-sabotaging behaviors or self defeating cycles we might find ourselves in, SO many of us have been right there; including myself, at times in my life.
The first tip is to really just open up your mind. This is going to require that you get out of your comfort zone. Be honest with yourself. Are their negative emotions that you maybe haven’t dealt with? That are holding you back; like anger, doubt, fear even resentment. And this may take some work to let go of these emotions because you might have been holding on to them for a very long time.
My second tip is to forgive yourself. Forgiving yourself is a huge, huge thing. We often hold on to shame and guilt. Forgive yourself for mistakes you have made. For maybe not following through on something. Just really, for all of those “I should have’s”. Just knowing that you did the best that you could do with what you had at the time. It’s probably past time that you move on. Beating yourself up for mistakes just feeds that self-defeating cycle. And please remember that you can not hate yourself into making positive change. It is only by accepting yourself, faults and all, that you begin to see real and lasting success.
That brings us right to our third tip and that is to take care of yourself. This is not selfish. This is absolutely crucial. The old saying that you can’t pour water from an empty cup is so, so true. Do Something daily that feels good to you and is healthy for you. For myself I listen to podcasts or Ted talks that are uplifting. But we make time for what is important to us. And you HAVE TO MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF.
Number four is to do a lifestyle audit. Take a good long look at your life. What you want and need out of life. Be honest with yourself, but not critical. Here’s where you may need to focus a while on negative thought patterns. This is the background tape that plays in your head all the time. And it’s most likely filled with lies that you’ve literally recorded in your mind over your lifetime. Things like: “I’m not good enough.”, “I don’t deserve happiness, love, …”, “I won’t follow through anyway, why start”. And it goes on and on, often completely subconsciously. So you first have to become aware it’s going on, and erase the tape and begin replacing it with more positive Truths.
(5) Then begin to Use Affirmations: Literally write down these new positive truths. “I deserve a life of happiness.”, “I am loveable.”, “I am beautiful, inside and out.”—- Put these on your fridge, the dash of your car, your bathroom mirror….Wherever you will see them and say them every day. By doing this, you’re reprogramming your mind. Our thoughts are extremely powerful. They can and will impact our behavior, whether we are at this moment totally aware of it or not. You may not be thinking very positively right now, but that doesn’t change the fact that you do deserve a happy, peaceful, and fulfilled life. You just may need to get out of your own way.
(6) Take some mental alone time: Whether it’s meditation, a spiritual time, yoga, or whatever, just begin to introduce mindful living techniques into your routine. It is amazing what just 5 minutes a day will do for you. It relieves stress, helps you clarify your thoughts, process emotions, and just calms a busy mind. There are so many different types of Mindfulness techniques out there. I encourage you to research it, find ones that will work for you, that you will be able to incorporate into your life, and use daily.
(7) Then for my final step, as you get to know yourself better through this process, that you Redesign your life: For this, you’ve got to stop being the passenger in your life. Get in the driver’s seat and take control. Focus on those changes you want to make so that in the end you love who you see in your mirror everyday. But remember that progress is seldom linear. It is going to go up and down, and there may be days that you have setbacks. The important thing is to not be too hard on yourself if this happens, maybe give yourself a little breather if you need it, but keep moving forward working on what you deserve. And keep believing that you DO deserve it.
I really hope that you can take something from this and nurture your most important relationship, the one with yourself.