Loving yourself can be difficult when you have limiting and derogatory messages playing in your subconscious mind. Most of these messages are recorded during childhood, but their effects can be far reaching! Did you know that you’re still being influenced by the things your parents and others said to you decades ago?
When someone told you that you were no good, you believed them. When someone told you that you’d never amount to anything, you believed them. When someone told you that you were stupid or learning disabled or weird, you believed them. And you still believe them to this day – even if you’re not consciously aware of these underlying beliefs.
Is it possible to overcome old messages and replace them with new, empowering messages? Yes! Here are three good ways to start:
1) Romance yourself. Think about the last love affair you had. At the beginning you and your partner probably devoted a lot of time, attention and affection to each other, right? You felt passionate and swept away by the beauty of your partner and he/she probably felt the same about you. One of the best ways to learn to love yourself is to enter into a similar process – with yourself! Treat yourself like royalty! Do things that make you feel happy. Hug yourself. Sweet-talk yourself. Buy yourself nice things. Spend quality time with yourself simply because you deserve it.
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2) Explore your existing beliefs. You may suspect you have old, limiting messages rattling around in your head but still be unsure about what they are exactly. In order to discover the beliefs that are holding you back, you may need to go on an expedition. Begin exploring your existing beliefs by writing in a journal. Give yourself prompts or questions like these: “My earliest memory of feeling stupid was . . .” “My mother always made me feel . . .” “My father always treated me like . . .” and so on. The idea is to think back to an earlier time in your life and see if you can discover when and where your limiting beliefs got started. Then, challenge those beliefs. Are they still true? Were they ever true? Decide what you WANT to be true, and begin to replace the old belief by focusing more on your new and improved beliefs.
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3) Emphasize your good qualities! When you have low self-esteem, you tend to keep focusing on the things that are “wrong with you,” and dismissing the things that you have going for you. Start to turn this around by praising and encouraging yourself in your self-talk. When you accomplish something, congratulate yourself! Say things like, “Wow, I’m really proud of myself for doing that. It wasn’t easy, but I pushed through the rough spots and gave it my best shot.” You can also make a point of simply giving yourself positive self-talk daily. Recite affirmations like these: “I am a valuable person. I have a lot to offer the world. I’m talented and successful.” The more you do it, the more you’ll come to believe it!