Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens. — Louise Hay
If you’re one of those people who go off on yourself, sometimes out of friggin’ nowhere — you actually stop yourself and think where the f*ck did that come from — it’s time to change your tune, break the thought pattern, and do something radical. It’s time for some self-love intervention because you’re not doing self-love all that well.
And that’s ok because there are so many things that can turn it around and have you living your life in an entirely new way.
Best part? You can do this with as little woo-woo surrounding it as possible. We’re going to leave the energy cleanses, chakras, and burnt sage for another day. The five prompts are mindset shifts you can begin working with immediately, and if I may interject a word of advice before beginning… when first working on changing your narrative, try taking on the tone of your best friend’s voice. That means begin by speaking to yourself as only your best friend would because they’d never be hard on you or come close to saying half the things you say to yourself. They’d keep it real, and it’s best if you do too.
Here are the five things that can really do a number on your narrative and get you, dare I say, excited to be you!
Make peace with your past.
So what that you screwed up 20 years ago, or something bad happened that created a dramatic shift in your life. The fact remains, none of it will change.
Not one little teeny tiny second of it will change. Every choice you’ve made and everything that’s happened in your life up to this point is exactly why you’re here. You can’t go back and change things, so it would make sense that now would be as good a time as any to begin doing things differently if you’re unhappy. Not 10 or 20 years ago… not even 20 hours ago. Now.
Acceptance is going to be your biggest ally in all of this. It’s not until you’re able to accept everything that’s happened — the good, bad, and ugly — that you can break free from negative cycles that compromise your future, leaving you planted where you are. Those roots run deep. You can’t ignore them, you can’t pretend they’re not there, you have to accept them and it’s in that acceptance that you’re able to grow upward and onward in a healthy way.
Accept your imperfections.
Those things that you think are holding you back are the things you have to come to terms with. And once you do, you can get to the good stuff —which is doing the work that will strengthen those weak spots. That’s going to allow stop using them as an excuse to not do the hard work.
Think of it this way: what if I believed my inner critic and all day walked around thinking I was not smart enough to build my coaching business because I’m not good at organizing, copywriting, and focusing on one thing at a time? (These are to just name a few things in one category — my inner critic knows no boundaries and likes to interject its opinion in all areas of my life, but let’s focus here for now shall we?)
So if I walked around and let that particular narrative rule my day, how far would I get in building my business? Like a mouse on a wheel. Nowhere fast.
However, if I were to see those as impermanent traits, ones that can change if I take the time to work on them, it would make sense that I would improve in those areas.
So what’s one to do?
Don’t waste time lamenting over your imperfections. Point them out, bring them into the light, and pour some love over them, because they need a tender heart, an open mind, and a willingness to work on them from you.
Stop being so busy!
When I was a cubicle dweller, friends, co-workers, and randos used to walk by my desk and stop to chat. The conversation would begin with the usual formalities depending on our relationship, and quickly thereafter I’d get to hear all about how busy they are, all the work they had to get done, and how things were just so darn crazy-busy all the time!
Perhaps it was ego or justification for their higher paycheck, but the irony was missed on them. They came to me. My cube. They sought me out and lament over all the work they’ve been doing, and how busy they were. I just sat and listened. Nodding my head. Doing my work.
People get off on being busy because they don’t know what to do when they’re not. That’s why social media takes up so much time — because when they have it (time) they need to fill it with something quick and easy.
Stop being so busy, it’s not a true marker of higher status. Being self-aware is more envious than being busy if that’s what you’re after. And self-awareness dials in on your needs, helps you feel emotions and opens up space for you to focus on yourself. And when you focus on yourself with an open heart, that's love.
Busyness blurs the lines, keeping you stuck, unhappy, and unable to truly love yourself — because you’re so busy doing other things but!
The fact that you can or can’t fit into a pair of jeans or bathing suit should have no bearing on if you love yourself or not.
Can I get an Amen with that one?
We quickly forget that we’re more than a number on the scale, a pair of “goal” jeans, or how we look in a skimpy two-piece.
If you’re not loving on yourself while you’re trying to get fit, healthy, or lose weight, you’re being hard on yourself — critical, mean, and unrelenting — all of which hold you down.
Imagine trying to boost your child’s confidence by constantly berating them. You’d never! You can see their potential despite their weaknesses, and you look past those, you highlight what they're good at, make them feel good, and help them with what they’re not good at with a tender heart.
When it comes to you though, it’s a whole other bag! You base your potential on how you look in the mirror.
This goes back to acceptance and if there was one magical thing you could do for yourself, and it bears repeating, is accepting who you are, faults, strengths, and all.
It’s in the acceptance of who you are and the hand you’ve been dealt that can move you forward with love and kindness in your heart for yourself.
Impossible seems possible through acceptance. And acceptance is the gateway drug to love!
Do something for yourself more than once in a while.
When we do things for others, that’s great — we’re moms, wives, professionals and we know how to get the job done, and we do it like no one else! But when it becomes habitual to put everyone else first, we compromise our worth. Little by little, we chip away at it until our kids are heading off to college and we’re looking around like wtf do I do now?
We can still be great moms who sign their kids up for every single activity under the sun while also signing ourselves up for that art class we’ve been wanting to take, or yoga class, or whatever it is that we want to do for ourselves. When we stop being “busy” we find time for ourselves.
Set boundaries on how far and how much energy you can exert for others and never feel guilty about it. Do the things that make you happy and don’t stop pursuing your dreams because you have kids and a family.
I have two kids crammed in a bedroom so I can use the other room for an office/studio/space for mama. Do I feel bad about that? Not.one.bit.
Having my own space gives me a sense of ownership — I’m owning my need to have room to pursue my goals that mean a lot to me, and I’m worth pursuing those dreams because I matter. When you know you matter, that’s love!
It’s never selfish.
Self-love is never selfish and it won’t ever take away from the love you have for your kids, family, friends, work… but you do have to work at it. And when you do, you can change your whole world.
AM Costanzo is a wellness coach, a motivational junkie, loves a-ha moments, and loves to help people feel strong, powerful, and downright fabulous in body and mind!