Isn’t it surprising when someone compliments you and you feel like a fraud for giving off the impression that anyone could envy your level of hot mess? That’s ridiculous. Even if you’re not the best place ever, what good is there in beating yourself up for it? Here are 9 tips on how to ditch the self-imposed burden and put on a cloak of self-love.
- Take inventory of your pros. Seriously, it’s so easy to dwell on where you’re not and who you aren’t yet. Don’t get consumed by destination addiction because it’s like running on a treadmill expecting to go somewhere. Every time you get what you thought you needed in life, you’ll just pick greener grass to envy and never notice the lawn you have.
- Compare yourself to you. I was venting to a friend once and he asked me to think about how I was doing this exact time the previous year and decide if it was better or worse. In general, the crap you’re actively going through usually feels more catastrophic because of its immediacy to you, but looking back makes you realize what you’ve overcome, grown out of, and learned with time. Just focus on the path you’re on and keep your eyes ahead of you.
- Toss the word “should.” Who makes these imaginary rules we all force ourselves to try to live by? What really happens if you don’t wear what you think you should wear to that event or arrive at the time you should be somewhere? Does lightning immediately strike you down or the ‘should police’ show up and carry you off in a van? Be proud of who you are, staying true to who you are, and having good intentions. Otherwise, don’t worry so much about what doesn’t even really matter at the end of the day.
- Grant yourself serenity. The Serenity Prayer is not just for addiction recovery. It’s important to be in tune with what’s meant to be and learn to let go of what isn’t happening. You’re just setting yourself up for disappointment by having unreasonable expectations. Practice the art of detachment and let things flow more.
- Give yourself permission to seek comfort. My #1 toxic trait for sure is comfort eating. But hey, I can either keep the whipped cream on top of my Frappuccino order on a rough day or forfeit small indulgences while remaining miserable. Nobody said to go overboard and add problems to your plate of troubles, but if throwing yourself a small bone to ease your pain every now and again helps, then stop being such a masochist and do what you need to do.
- Stop putting yourself down. It’s not cute to be arrogant and walk around professing that you’re God’s gift, but there are better ways to remain humble other than speaking negatives about yourself. What you put forth in the universe has the power to come true so don’t even do this jokingly. Try to reframe negatives into a positive if you can. Next time you show up late try saying, “I’m here! Glad I could make it,” instead of automatically resorting to saying you can never get anywhere on time and suck at getting out of the house.
- Work on a short and long-term goal plan. You may not have your life together today, but chances are you’re not going to accomplish this overnight. Getting to where you want to be takes time but at least if you map it out you can feel like you started the journey.
- Get over what you thought life was going to be like. It sucks when you wanted things to turn out a certain way and feel like you’re on a totally different path from what you imagined. But dwelling is pointless. The truth is you’re here now living the life you’re currently living, so ruminating over what could/should/might have been isn’t serving you. It’s okay to be disappointed, but accept what is and move forward as quickly as possible.
- Keep track of your progress. This can be as often as a daily occurrence to as spread apart as an annual event. I like to make daily to-do lists so I don’t forget what I need to get done, but also for the thrill of crossing the items off. Even if you write the simplest tasks you’re obviously going to do anyway like brush your teeth, just being able to mark it ‘done’ feels like an accomplishment for the day. I’ve also kept up an annual tradition of writing a gratitude note on social media for Thanksgiving. It’s neat to see how my priorities have both changed and stayed the same over the years and it helps me keep the bigger picture in perspective rather than get hung up over small bumps in the road.