A common trait among people who lack a sense of self-love, respect and acceptance, is a desire to look outside for fulfilment. Disappointment always prevails, though, because all of these things can only ever be found through one’s self.
Where We Lose Our Sense of Worth
We are all born possessing everything we could ever need. It is only through early experiences that we are taught we are not good enough, smart enough and that we are a disappointment. These feelings are derived from all kinds of sources; parents telling us we were bad, teachers telling us we were wrong and peers alienating us because of the way we looked, acted or behaved.
At that point, ideas became deep-rooted in our beliefs about ourselves, which were then carried into adult life in the form of volatile relationships, little self-esteem, lapsed boundaries and a continued belief that we are just not good enough.
Until we go through a journey of healing, and come out with a strong sense of love and acceptance for ourselves, we will continue to be vulnerable.
Starting to Heal
That niggling feeling of not being good enough can cause us to look to other people to shift the negative beliefs we hold about ourselves, which places us in a vulnerable position and can expose us to unhealthy relationships.
The process of healing can only ever happen within, no one can do it for us. The good news is that no matter how difficult your childhood was, or how many traumatic experiences you have encountered throughout your adult life – it is always possible to heal and learn to love and accept yourself again.
There is certainly no quick-fix miracle cure. The journey requires your utmost attention and dedication and will take as long as it takes. But you can start right now, should you choose.
A good place to start is by changing the way you communicate with yourself. Each time you tell yourself you are not good enough, or not beautiful enough, or not strong enough, you are affirming these ideas to be true, which gives power to them.
It is possible to re-wire your beliefs simply by using affirmations – you already use them every day – they are the thoughts you think and the words you use when describing yourself, which affect the conscious and subconscious mind. The key to using affirmations is repetition – you will need to repeat the same phrases each day, in your head or out loud, until they become ingrained in your beliefs. This can take weeks or even months, everyone is different.
Here are ten affirmations you can start saying now to change the beliefs you have about yourself.
1) I am already enough just the way I am
2) I have the strength to overcome any situation
3) I treat my body with love and care
4) I am able to forgive everyone in my past for all wrongdoing, including myself
5) I am thankful for ‘state what for’
6) I welcome positive change into my life now
7) I believe in my own ability
8) I can do it
9) I surround myself with love
10) I love you ‘your name’
In addition to affirmations, here are some other areas you can begin to work on to allow yourself to feel accepting of who you are, and comfortable in your skin without wanting to people-please.
Where are your Boundaries?
If you yourself are not high on your priority list then it is quite probable that you lack boundaries. There’s a fine line between helping others and not caring for yourself because you are giving too much.
Do any of these questions ring true for you?
- Do you find it difficult saying no?
- Are you scared of not being liked?
- Do you agree to do things for other people, knowing that you don’t really want to?
- Do you go out of your way to please people, with little appreciation in return?
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, it’s a sure sign that you don’t have the right boundaries in place.
Boundaries are limits you set for yourself, which tell others how they can treat you, what they can expect from you and how much you value yourself. Without them, you are undoubtedly exposed to vulnerability; people will take advantage of you if you let them, boundaries are a safety net to stop that from happening.
It’s important that you have boundaries in place in all of your relationships, no matter how casual or serious – here are a couple of ways to create healthy boundaries.
1) Get Comfortable with Saying “No”
If you are asked to do something that depletes your energy, makes you feel uncomfortable, or is just not what you want to participate in, you are entitled to say no.
Push past the guilt, uncertainty and fear that the word “no” arises in you, and realise that you are as significant as the person asking something from you, and if you’re not comfortable with it, it’s perfectly acceptable to kindly decline.
And remember, if someone isn’t happy that you are not going along with what they’re asking from you, it’s a telling sign that they too lack boundaries. When you build up your boundaries, it becomes more clear who’s lacking them.
2) You Are Only Responsible for You
Unless we are talking about a child you’re responsible for, you are not in charge of other people’s feelings or actions. Often an association with poor boundaries is co-dependency – the feeling that you are responsible for the emotions of someone else. Or, perhaps you expect others to take too much responsibility for yours?
Either way, both are a sign of poor boundaries.
Accept the fact that no one is capable of changing your emotions without your consent; when you realise this, you realise that blame and expectation of others is really no use when you are in the driving seat.
It’s also important to accept the fact that you are unable to change anyone else.
It is healthy if you take responsibility for your own actions and feelings, and allow others to take responsibility for theirs.
Changing the Way You Treat Yourself
Self-love means taking care of yourself in every way that you need – in mind, body and spirit. It means changing the way you treat yourself, and making yourself and your peace and happiness a priority.
Here are some ways you can start treating yourself better:
Think well – poor self-esteem often stems from obsessive thinking; if you are constantly thinking negative thoughts about yourself and putting yourself down, your are in effect beating yourself up, which is a form of abuse. Instead of focusing on what you feel you lack, how about shifting your attention to things that are going good for you, and the things you like about yourself? You can create a whole new mindset in a moment, simply by paying attention to what you have, instead of what you don’t.
Be in the moment – the here and now allows us to cherish the moment we are in and appreciate our surroundings, without feeling bad about the past or worrying about the future. In a way, it gives us a break from the mind. And the less time we spend mulling over difficult thoughts, the more joy we give ourselves.
Meditate – forget about sitting cross-legged with fingers pointed upwards, don’t let meditation scare you; it can be the most casual or sacred practice. The main thing is, it allows us to gain clarity and create a sense of peace and calm, and is a really beautiful way to take care of ourselves. Being present and focusing on the breath, are simple ways to start meditation – here are some tips you can try.