Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb the tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
Recently I had an opportunity to be part of the coach practices with my colleagues, where we would need to evaluate some practical examples of volunteers that wanted to be part of this exercise. Lots of them were sharing their life experiences, something they would want to change, why they are stuck and what keeps them from filling fulfilled. Some of them were not happy in their current relationships, some of them hated their jobs and some of them were lost. The question that I had during the entire practice was – what keeps them staying where they are not valued? Why do they stay for years with someone who is letting them down? Why do they stay for years at work which they hate? Why do we keep living our lives as if we will live forever?
Independently on whether we were good or bad students at school and universities, I think that we missed one of the important lessons. We finish schools and universities with highest degrees, we continue searching for perfectionism and waiting to be evaluated by someone else. We know a lot about success and continue comparing ourselves with others. However the same as all participants in this coach practice, we stay for years at work and relationships that leads nowhere. Why?
Because we never really learnt the basic lesson – how to love ourselves. This is why. This is why we wait for other’s appreciation and letting others taking control of our lives. This is why we stay for years in the relationships even if it is dragging us down (of course, this is because we love them, but do we love ourselves in this relationship?).
Last week I found very interesting article on the importance of self-love. According to psychologist, Valentina Moscalenko, self-love and positive self-appreciation is a result of three factors:
The way we were treated in our childhood by the most important people of our lives – our parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers;
Our experiences that we had – wars, health problems and social neglect, this has profound influence on what we are today;
Our attitude towards all the above.
The last point is the only one that can be changed, since nor our past experiences neither our childhood and relationships in our families can be changed. Our attitude is what makes us who we are today.
Valentina Moscalenko expains that if we are in a conflict relationships with ourselves we cannot build any healthy and nurturing relationship with anyone else.
So how do we nurture ourselves? Do we know what is good for us and do we appreciate ourselves enough?
There are several ways on how we can do this:
1. By changing our inner language and the way we speak with ourselves. Instead of “I need to”, let’s start practicing “I can”, “I will” or “I want”. Psychologist explains that there is an aggressive pattern towards ourselves if we constantly use “I need to”, the way we speak is the way we live.
2. By choosing any activity of the “one day I will do this” and DO this! Remember that trip that you always wanted to make – for how long you will be postponing this? Or maybe the online course that you found interesting and always had other priorities? What is that you always wanted to do? Now is the time!
3. By rewarding ourselves and celebrating our successes. If we have had a significant accomplishment, lets celebrate it! Let’s think of all of the hard work we do every day, and find a reason to reward ourselves with something nice. Buying the new book, going on a solo fishing trip or getting a massage – small things that matters.
4. By rewriting our internal scripts. When you realize that you are thinking negatively for yourself, acknowledge the feeling, identify the source of the feeling, and then consciously make a new statement re-writing your thought as a more positive one.
For example, if you forgot to send an important work-related email, you may find yourself thinking “I am so stupid! How could I have done that?”
Stop yourself, and think “I feel stupid right now because I forgot to send the email. When I would forget to do things as a child, I would hear from someone in my family, that I was stupid. These are their words, not my own”. Then think to yourself, “I am a competent employee who made a human mistake, and I will be sure to write myself a reminder in the future. For now, I will send the email along with an apology for not sending it before.”
Every time we say YES to self-appreciation, we say NO to people, situations and feelings that are dragging us down. We make a choice of how we want to be treated and we decide how much love do we give to ourselves. Lets´s cultivate our self-love, there is nothing else that can substitute this.
Wishing you great week ahead, hope you are enjoying whatever you are doing right now or on your way to discover what makes you feel complete!