After affirming last week that connections are the best part of life, this morning I’m giving a shout out to the most important connection of your life: YOURSELF! We can transform our bodies from the inside out and decorate our shells with tattoos, piercings, blonde highlights, and capsule wardrobes, but our souls are our souls. No matter what, we can’t flit back and forth into different lives and bodies like a sci-fi action thriller. Instead, we have to work with what we’e got from the moment we arrive in Labor & Delivery until our last and final breathe. Consequently, the question I find myself asking today is:
Why don’t we prioritize building the best relationship with ourselves?
If I’ve got me forever, why spend any time uselessly hating on my body or shaming myself for not being different? Instead of putting myself down, doubting my worth and decision-making abilities, and wishing I was a 5’10 French woman who always says the right thing while exuding effortless beauty (which I will never be!), why not focus on my good? More than that, why fixate on my decor rather than centering on how I can develop and show love towards my true, inner self?
Why not love myself with my whole heart, the way I love my sweet little baby?
We arrive into the world totally at peace with who we are. As little humans we call out to our parent, “Watch how high I can jump!” and, “Look how fast I can bike!” We innately believe we are rad and love ourselves on a peaceful, subconscious level. But then life hits and the stings and barbs we encounter on the way cause us to look inwards and to compare ourselves to others. “Am I cool?” we wonder, apprehensively. “Do I deserve applause and hugs?” “I wish I was more like her!” Such internal and external questioning drives a wedge into our relationship with ourselves as we allow an emerging inner critic to call the shots and point out our flaws. Fast-forward into adulthood and, for many of us, we’re so distant and at odds with our soul that we feel uncomfortable in our skin and dislike our own company. Unfortunately, self-judgement and negative self-talk is completely socially acceptable. It’s completely fine to state in public, “I’m such an idiot!” or “I hate my thighs”, although we would never imagine saying to our girlfriend at brunch, “Wow, you are such an idiot!” Or, “Don’t order the pancakes, you need to lose ten pounds first!”
Self-deprecation/self-judgement might be accepted, but like a lot of social norms, it doesn’t make it right. More than that, I believe small and simple throw-away comments reinforce the false stories we have about ourselves and strengthen the wires in our brain that assert we are not good enough and do not deserve love.
Consequently, instead of shooting yourself down and focusing on what you can’t do or what you wish was different about yourself, maybe do yourself a favor and turn that trash-talk around. Remind yourself that you are a good and strong person with a lot to offer the world. Thank your body for what it has helped you to achieve, and treat yourself with more loving kindness. Nurturing a positive relationship without only becomes an issue if self-love turns into self-obsession. Once we learn to love ourselves and develop a positive relationship with our mind and body, we are far better able to help others as happy and self-assured humans.