“People who have a self-image of worth are going to see value in what they do. This is the attitude that motivates them to be and do their best. It’s a drive that comes from within people.” ~William Walton
It is quite common to hear people criticizing the way they look: the shape of their bodies, their weight, facial features, hair (or lack of). When we do this, we are sending a message of rejection to ourselves.
Naturally this affects self-esteem and confidence, which in turn can negatively affect relationships and even careers. We take ourselves with us wherever we go, so if we are constantly broadcasting negative messages to our inner world, or thinking critical thoughts whenever we look in a mirror, there is no reprieve.
This not only affects how we feel about ourselves, but can also affect our health, as rejecting thoughts can weaken the immune system. Often self-criticism begins in childhood, so we may have experienced a lifetime of unhealthy thought patterns.
It is never too late to begin to turn this around. We can start by making a list of the negative thoughts we have about ourselves. As we read over the list, we realize we would never say such hurtful things to another person. Some may even be considered abusive. In fact, constantly criticizing or belittling another is a form of psychological abuse. It is no different when we do it to ourselves.
Once we have identified the ways in which we criticize and reject ourselves, we must make a commitment to stop doing that. Then, in order to begin the healing process, we must replace those negative messages with positive ones.
We can make the decision to give ourselves love, encouragement, support and positive messages. We can become a good friend to ourselves rather than the harsh critic we have been. As we begin to love and accept our bodies just as they are, we start to feel better about ourselves.
As we value ourselves more, we naturally take better care of ourselves. It is who we are at that level, and how we treat others that really matters. The more love and compassion we bring to ourselves, the more we will be able to give to others.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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