Cultivating a better relationship with ourselves comes first. Cultivating more self-love & self-worth allows us to become who we were meant to be, create the beliefs that we deserve love and happiness, create the best versions of ourselves, and create the best relationships with others.
There’s a reason why when you ride a plane, they tell you to put YOUR own oxygen mask on first. If you don’t have enough oxygen, you can’t help your children get their oxygen and get what they need.
Psychologists have determined that our core beliefs about ourselves and the world develop before age 7. When we identify those core beliefs, it allows us to look at them objectively—we can look at them for what they are, not as the absolute truth about the world. Are the beliefs you hold on to your beliefs? Or are they the beliefs of your family or friends? After you objectively determine what your beliefs are, you have the power to consciously cultivate beliefs that help you build up your sense of self-worth, self-love, and confidence, and let go of limiting beliefs and keeping you from creating strong, healthy, loving relationships.
CHOOSE TO KEEP THE BELIEFS THAT SERVE YOU AND TRANSFORM THE ONES THAT DON’T
I am one of 11 children, and I was raised Mormon (AKA the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or LDS for short). Some of the traditions of Mormon families are amazing.
One of those traditions is that you are supposed to serve others or you’re worthless (basically)… Which is kind of funny. Service is so ingrained in our DNA that during the pandemic lockdown we had a family zoom talent show for my mom, who’s 79, and she jumped up and left before it was over. My dad said she was taking dinner to someone in the ward who was sick. If someone is in need, that’s the only thing that matters to her.
I chose to keep that belief. I know I’m not worthless if I’m not serving 24/7, but I also know that when we use our talents in the service of others is when we will feel the most fulfilled.
IT’S NOT THE EVENT THAT CREATES YOUR BELIEFS…IT’S THE STORY WE CREATE AROUND THE EVENTS THAT CREATES OUR BELIEFS.
Growing up, I also learned about Jesus Christ. I learned that he was patient & kind. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, served the sinners, and lived with the homeless. And as I was learning about Jesus, all I heard was, “He was perfect, and I have to be perfect. And if I’m not, I’m going to Hell.”
That’s not what Jesus said. He lived and served with the sinners and the homeless. My parents never said I had to be perfect or I was doomed (I don’t think). My church leaders never said that. My Sunday school teachers never said that. But that’s how I interpreted it. It’s not the event that creates your beliefs, it’s the story we create around the event that creates our beliefs.
But why would I think that?
When I was 4, a teenage boy molested me. The stories I created from that experience turned into my core “beliefs,” which were: Men only want me for sex. I am broken. I am damaged goods. I am worthless. I will never be good enough. Are these statements true? In any circumstance would you say those things to a child? No, you wouldn’t. But the story I spun around in my head for most of my life created those beliefs. It made me sit in church as a little girl and think I had no hope in getting to heaven.
But guess what that one event has turned out to be? My greatest strength. God intended all along for me to write a book and help others who have been through similar trauma, and help others heal from trauma, and help others cultivate love and self-worth. He knew I’d make it through. That experience kept my children safe. I wouldn’t let them have sleepovers until they were like 12 and had 5 years of karate.
Our greatest weaknesses can become our greatest strengths! No matter what mountain you may be climbing right now, one day you’ll be able to look down and see all the progress you’ve made. Your struggles made you who you are, and now you can help others climb the same mountain. Speaking about our trauma helps us heal, make sense of it all, and help OTHERS—in some cases, it helps us realize one of our purposes in this life.
TAKE CONTROL OF THE STORY YOU TELL YOURSELF ABOUT EVENTS THAT HAPPENED IN YOUR LIFE.
Instead of using “I am” statements, use “I feel” statements. When you say that you are something, you’re telling your brain that statement is a concrete truth about yourself. But, our lives and personality traits are vastly dynamic, and we need room to change and repair the negative beliefs that have sunk into our heads over the years.
“I am broken.” “I feel broken because I was abused.” “I am damaged goods.” “I felt like I was damaged goods.” “I am broken.” “I feel broken because I was abused.”
WE ARE NOT JUST ONE THING.
We tend to focus on our mistakes and faults. What if we wrote down everything that makes us, us? You can see the WHOLE picture. We are not the sum total of things we don’t like about ourselves. We are complete human beings.
Cultivate your relationship with yourself by identifying your gifts through this exercise! Grab a piece of paper, and list 5-10 things in each category:
- Favorite characteristics about myself
- I feel best about myself when I do these things
- Skills/talents I’ve acquired in the last decade
- Things I’d love to improve about myself (go easy in this category!)
Identify your gifts. Remember that there’s a lot to love about you. And then other parts of yourself that you would love to work on, great! We are always a work in progress.
MAKE SMALL, QUANTIFIABLE GOALS
I love small quantifiable goals because taking action changes your mind.
Instead of saying, “I’d like to be more patient” think of ways that demonstrate patience in your life and make that a goal for this week. If I am working on my patience, I make a small, quantifiable goal to call my Dad once a week and just listen. Or I would make the decision to let myself try something again without passing a harsh judgment on myself. Patience starts in the mirror.
If you want to feel more compassionate, find some way to serve others. Make it a quantifiable goal to call your mom once a week or babysit for another single parent so they can have two hours alone. Utilizing your talents in the service of others is how YOU feel more joy and more fulfillment. Any small goal that would help you feel good at the end of the day when your head hits the pillow.
TALK TO YOURSELF AS IF YOU WERE THE 4-YEAR-OLD VERSION OF YOURSELF
Think about yourself as a little girl or little boy. Maybe even just close your eyes and bring up in your mind YOU, as a little child. So sweet. So innocent. So loving. Remember how long it took you to learn how so many things? If you saw a toddler stumble while learning to walk, would you reprimand him or her? Would you tell them they’re the worst, and that they shouldn’t even try? OF COURSE NOT! Try to give yourself the same grace today. How do you WISH people would talk to you? Be that person for yourself!
Cultivating a better relationship with ourselves is not an overnight miracle, and there is no “quick fix.” It’s a mountain you’re going to have to climb to undo years of negative self-talk about doubts. Take a deep breath, give yourself room to try again, and keep going. Every day is a practice.
Wishing you lots of love,
For a full FREE worksheet to work you through the exercises mentioned above and more, click here for your free download!
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