Rose wanted a life filled with peace, connections, and meaning.
Upon reflection, she did not feel like she got what she wanted out of her life.
She felt disconnected from her family, friends, and workmates. She was afraid to share her opinion or questions with them. Rose felt she had to please those around her to feel worthy.
As a result of this thinking, Rose often found herself in situations that made her deeply unhappy. She said yes when she wanted to say no. She silenced her feelings when others made demands of her and quickly tried to do what they asked.
She had a dysfunctional relationship with her mother-in-law. She picked fights with her husband. She hated her boss and her job. Her life had no peace, fulfilling connections, or meaning. She was miserable and felt stuck. She lost her power and did not know how to regain it.
Finally, Rose went to see a therapist.
Her therapist suggested that perhaps Rose was in these situations because she had never learned how to love herself truly.
At first, Rose scoffed at the idea, but her therapist encouraged her to explore her relationship with herself before she began trying to fix her relationship.
She needed to examine the peace within herself, her connection to herself, the meaning in her life, and her power. “Do you love yourself enough to make changes?” That is the question she had to answer.
It all starts with you.
You cannot receive from others what you do not give to yourself. Love, respect, honesty, and connection begin within you.
You cannot give to others what you do not have for yourself. If you are critical of yourself, it isn't easy to love someone else. You begin by loving yourself first, which leads to your feeling of personal power.
Here are ten warning signs that you don’t love yourself enough…
Sign #1: You Think Mean Thoughts about Yourself
Everyone has the occasional off day when they think they’re stupid, fat, ugly, or worthless. But if these thoughts are repeated by yourself or others throughout your day, you are on a crash course for unhappiness, stress, poor health, and unsatisfactory life.
Thinking mean thoughts create a neural pathway in your brain of unworthiness. Each time that happens, your feelings of unworthiness are reinforced.
The Remedy #1:
Find something you enjoy and give that to yourself. Examples: take a bubble bath, listen to soothing music, take a walk outside, get a massage, keep a journal, dance, or paint, etc. This is self-care and a sign that you love yourself.
Sign #2: You Compare Yourself to Others
People who struggle with loving themselves enough often compare who they are to who someone else is. Maybe you pass someone on the street and think she’s prettier, thinner, smarter, or more put together than me. You see her great abilities or strengths and none of yours. You don’t measure up. As a result, you feel poorly about yourself.
The Remedy #2:
Look for one thing about yourself that is wonderful. It could be your smile, writing ability, creativity, or presence when listening to others. Focus on one thing and add it to your list. My mother told me long ago that there will always be someone prettier, wealthier, and skinnier than you, so focus on your uniqueness. I will pass that advice on to you.
Sign #3: You Don’t Stand Up for Yourself
You don’t deem yourself worthy of defending when you don't love yourself.
Maybe this means you didn’t stand up to the co-worker who lied to you, or you’ve accepted years of your spouse’s verbal abuse.
Perhaps you haven’t said no to a “friend” that keeps borrowing money without paying it back, or you tolerate a relative that says vicious things behind your back.
By contrast, you stand up for yourself when you love yourself enough. You establish boundaries that protect your peace, connection, and meaning.
The Remedy #3:
Choose one part of your life where you want to stand up for yourself. It could be speaking at the grocery store when someone cuts in front of you, calling out your neighbor for being noisy late at night or permitting yourself to say no when you don’t want to do something.
Start small and work towards the bigger areas of your life. You may want to speak with a therapist to get a strategy to stand up for yourself.
Sign #4: You Don’t Get Enough Sleep
You might be wondering what getting enough sleep has to do with self-love. If you’re always pushing yourself to exhaustion, doing too much, and feeling stressed, don’t let yourself rest.
Pause and ask yourself why.
Do you think what you do is more important than you?
Sleep is the great rejuvenator of the body, mind, and spirit. It reinforces self-love. When you get enough sleep you bring your best self to all that you do.
The Remedy #4:
Decide where to add deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or other calming exercises to your routine.
Turn off all electronic devices several hours before you go to bed.
Declare that you are important enough to get plenty of rest-filled sleep.
Sign #5: You Don’t Take Care Of Your Body
When you struggle with self-love, this affects your relationship with your body. Caring for your body is hard if you don’t love yourself.
Your body is an extension of you. You might sit too much, move too little, not regularly exercise, or perform a grueling exercise routine. Not enough exercise is just as bad as too much exercise.
This might make harmful lifestyle choices to relieve your stress, frustration, or lack of loving yourself enough.
These lifestyle choices could include drinking excessively, smoking, or overeating.
The Remedy #5:
Make a routine for healthy body care. Examples are – moderate exercises that you enjoy, like yoga, dance, walking, swimming, and weightlifting, and remember to drink plenty of water and eat healthy foods. You matter, and you are worth it.
Sign #6: You Aren’t Eating Foods that Fuel You
It’s normal to binge on junk food occasionally. If stressed, you might find yourself craving chocolate, hitting the drive-thru, or eating Cheetos often.
If poor eating choices are routine, consider what message you might be sending to yourself. Perhaps it is “You don’t matter,” or “No one cares about you,” or “They would not sell food that is bad for me, so it is alright to eat whatever I want.”
Are you telling yourself that you’re not worth the effort of preparing a delicious, healthy meal?
Are you saying you can’t choose foods that give you energy and make you feel you can accomplish your goals?
Are you convinced there’s simply no time to care for you?
The Remedy #6:
Decide that you are a priority and that your health matters.
Discover healthy ways to deal with stress and cravings.
Learn about nutrition and what foods give you the fuel your body needs to thrive.
Find quick, healthy meals and snacks that keep you at your best.
Sign #7: You’re Not Taking Time to Relax
You don’t have to devote hours to practicing meditation, yoga, or a walk outside.
But do consider how often you permit yourself to relax.
When did you last leave space on your calendar just for you?
How often do you get home from work only to start on another list of tasks?
These choices could be caused by overwhelming, but they may also point to the fact that you don’t feel like you can relax.
If you struggle to love yourself, you might be tempted to believe you’re worthy of love only if you do something.
You might derive your sense of self-worth from your to-do list, so slowing down feels overwhelming.
The Remedy #7:
Look at your calendar and mark off time for yourself. I used to write Dr. Zen on my calendar as time for me. When others looked at my calendar, they thought I had a doctor’s appointment, no questions asked.
Learn something new that relaxes you, such as painting, Tai Chi, or meditation.
Sign #8: You Don’t Forgive Yourself
You laid awake last night, remembering the silly thing you said to the cashier. You thought it was a joke, but she didn’t laugh. Now you’re worried about looking stupid.
You forgot to pay the bills again, and the water was shut off for a few hours. You had to pay a late fee to get it turned on.
You forgot your new friend’s husband’s name at last week's party. You were embarrassed.
It’s normal to feel embarrassed or stupid from time to time. But if you’re always replaying all the ways you messed up, you might struggle with self-forgiveness.
Forgiveness must be a natural part when you’re in a relationship with someone you love(including yourself).
Forgiveness is like a river between you, allowing love and compassion to flow freely. But if you don’t love yourself enough, you might block love and compassion flow.
Sometimes the belief that you must be “perfect” gets in your way of forgiving yourself.
The Remedy #8:
The first step is to be open to forgiving yourself for any mistakes you make. When you are open to self-forgiveness, it is easier to make progress.
Reach out for help from a friend, clergyperson, or therapist to help you process your feelings.
Learn techniques and strategies to help you forgive yourself.
Sign #9: You Let Others Dictate Your Choices
You’re always worried about what others think. You can’t decide unless you’ve checked in with your spouse, best friend, co-workers, in-laws, and others.
While waiting for approval, you don’t let yourself take that dance class or write the book you’ve always wanted.
Constantly seeking approval and validation from others for your life choices is often a warning sign that you don’t love yourself enough and your power is very low.
The Remedy #9:
You already know what you need and want. You must trust that your loving heart guides you on the best path.
Sign #10: You Never Treat Yourself
When you love someone, you want to do nice things for them. Maybe you always give your spouse a massage after a hard day, or you put little notes in your child’s backpack.
Perhaps you always pick up the phone to listen to a friend when she calls you, or you don’t hesitate to step in and help a co-worker running behind on a deadline.
The Remedy #10:
Ask yourself when was the last time you did something nice for yourself. Do you ever treat yourself to something lovely for no reason?
If you don’t remember, start thinking about nice things you would like for yourself. Perhaps you would enjoy a massage or spend an hour at the beach reading. Maybe you would like a mani-pedi or an evening to binge-watch your favorite TV show. It doesn’t matter what the activity is. All that matters is it feels good to you.
Don’t be afraid to spend time or money on yourself to show self-love. You’re worth taking care of, too, and you deserve to feel good about yourself.
Do you recognize yourself in any of the ten signs above?
Do you want to take your power back?
If so, you have some changes to make.
Where are you with personal power?
When it comes to personal power, you are in one of three places.
- You are standing in your power.
- You are giving away your power.
- You are taking back your power.
You decide where you are in each situation. Sometimes you are standing in your power by taking care of your body.
You could be taking your power back in an important relationship; other times, you give away your power when you sabotage yourself when you say yes or want to say no.
It is time to love yourself enough to reclaim your power and stand firm in your power.
Please contact me with your comments and questions or if I can help.