The best way to have a healthy relationship with anyone else is to have a healthy relationship with yourself. So, why is this so hard? Why do most of us struggle with self-worth and self-love? The full answer to that would be a 9-part book series! But I think one reason is because of comparison. We compare our lives to the “greatest hits” version of someone else’s life. Enter social media. We see the highlight reels of people showing perfect pics of a seemingly perfect life and perfect home and perfect kids.
That. Is. Not. Real.
Yet we look at these posts, compare them to our own imperfect lives, and suddenly feel like our “friends” are winning and we’re losing. Any shred of self esteem, self-respect, self-worth can fly out the window if we’re not careful. And if it dissolves so quickly, it was probably never really there to begin with (ouch!).
I can only say that because I struggled with self esteem and self worth for years. It impacted my personal relationships: I didn’t value myself, so I was attracting others who also didn’t value themselves. It impacted my professional relationships: I wasn’t confident, so I wasn’t landing new clients. They didn’t have confidence in me.
It took me a long time to realize that true love starts in the mirror. If I wanted healthy relationships with my kids, my significant other, my work colleagues, I needed to have a healthy relationship with myself. The secret sauce is the internal work.
”We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.”
This is Aristotle’s famous quotes and one of my favorites of all time. So I asked myself, “if excellence is just a habit, which habits do I need to embrace in order to feel better about myself and attract a badass husband?”
And so it began. I made a commitment to doing the work. And you can too. Here are the five successful habits I’ve learned that helped me improve my self worth, and can help you too:
1. Address your limiting beliefs
What are beliefs anyway? Just a thought we repeat over and over again. Guess what? We don’t have to belief everything we think!
Just because we have a thought don’s make it true. But our core beliefs aren’t something that we consciously decide to think. They are sometimes unconscious thoughts we repeat over and over again. I learned that our core beliefs actually stem from our childhood events that happened to us before age seven, and the story we’ve created a story around those events. My mind was blown. Here’s an example. I suffered abuse when I was a child. That event created a story in my mind that went a little something like this: “Because I was abused, I’m broken and I’m damaged goods. I don’t matter. I’m not worthy of love. I’ll never be enough.” These became theme song playin on repeat in my brain for decades of my life. It limited how I thought about myself. It limited my growth. But once I discover I held those beliefs, I could disprove them and cultivate new empowering beliefs. It takes time. I talk about HOW I did this in great detail in my book. We have to dig deep. These beliefs are stories from our past, and our past does not determine our future! We have the power to create our future, if we’re courageous enough and want to badly enough. Once I had had enough with the low self esteem and negative mixtape playing in my brain, I could slowly but surely change it.
I remember when I was a young media buyer at the beginning of my career, and my boss was on speaker phone with the client. They were chatting about the media buy I put together, and she summoned me to the phone to explain my rationale. I was horrified. My face turned red. I was flustered. I knew what the client needed, and I knew I had recommended the best strategy for his budget, but all I could think about was, “What if he will hate it and not want to do it? What if he thinks I’m stupid if I don’t explain it right? What if I get fired?
What if? What if? What if?…..
There’s a reason I believed those limitations about myself. I needed to work on my self confidence and self worth. So think about the limiting beliefs you have about yourself. Write them down. And then write a new chapter. Find physical manifestations in your life that disprove those beliefs, and work on a new habit of forming new ones. It’s hard at first, just like anything else. And just like everything else, you get better with practice.
2. Stop comparing yourself to others
3. Make time for your mindset
When I’m not my best self, how can I possibly be good for anyone else? There’s a reason the airlines tell us to put our oxygen mask on before we put it on our kids. I love remembering that when I’m not feeling like I want to give 100%. When I want to sleep in or scroll through Instagram for hours instead of doing something that will improve my life and make me a better mom and a better wife, I stop and think, “Who needs me at my best right now? Who’s counting on me to bring my best self to the table?”
My friend James Patrick recently hosted me on his podcast Beyond the Image. I love how he described the importance of a healthy foundation. He was running a trail called Squaw Peak in the Arizona desert and saw a beautiful saguaro cactus. From a distance, it was stately and impressive. But as he got closer, he noticed that while the top of the cactus was strong and vivacious, the bottom was almost completely rotten. Its foundation was faulty. Everything built on it – no matter how strong and healthy it looked – was eventually going to crumble.
James shared with me, “I built this really great business but I won’t live long enough to see it succeed because I’m not healthy.”
Like that cactus, my foundation was rotten. Any visible success I had was eventually going to crumble because I didn’t have self worth and self confidence. It was only a matter of time before it all fell apart. And that included cultivating healthy relationships. To live a vivacious life, you need a strong foundation,
I wasn’t making time for myself. So I decided to make a change.
It was a huge Turing point in his and life, and I loved hearing that story. That mountain holds a special pace in my heart, too. And I, too, know I feel amazing when I exercise. So, I started working out every morning. My day is more focused when I spend some time in the quiet. So I committed to my daily quiet time – prayer, meditation and reflection. I know I’m more positive and I have more patience when I take time in the morning to reflect on the progress I’ve made toward my goals.
So, every morning I focused on my wins from the day before.
I like to say, “If you want to change your life, change your morning.”
If you commit to starting the day on a positive note, you have a better chance at having a more positive day.
I started to do the things I loved to do. The things that would strengthen my life, my foundation. I’ve learned so much reading amazing books, I try to get in at least a few pages a day and read as much as I can. The things that would attract someone who also loved the same things. I would surround myself with people who would enhance my life instead of suck the life out of me!
And this goes for my kids too. I wanted a better relationship with my kids, so I made time for me so that I had the energy to play with them, be present with them, read to them. And when we had dinner together, or read books together, or laughed together, I reflected on those wins. No one’s a perfect parent, and that certainly includes me, but when I focused on making progress and the small wins, I felt better. I felt a sense of self-worth because I knew that I had done at least on thing right that day! It seems so stupid but it’s a really big deal. You focus on one small win per day for 30 days and see what happens. You start realizing that so many things are going RIGHT when you stop and take notice. 30 things that went RIGHT is an awesome feeling. You’re already doing way more than 30 amazing things a month – just start writing them down every day and take notice of them! You feel so much better! I know I did. I still do this every morning. John and I sit down at the kitchen table literally every morning and we write down our small wins from the day before, and we write down what we’re specifically grateful for, and we write worn al
4. Control your inputs
Everything we hear impacts our beliefs. What’s amazing about my conversation with James is that I had a similar epiphany on the same mountain where he had his experience with the cactus. Years ago, I started up the same trail and the song “Bittersweet Symphony” came on. I had never really paid attention to the lyrics before that moment, and for some reason that second I was tuned in, and he said “We’re a slave to money and then we die.” And I thought, “Wait, what?” That’s stupid. I don’t believe that. And I know how important it is to keep garbage out of your brain, especially when you’re working on transforming beliefs and growing your self esteem. So I made a love playlist. That song didn’t make the cut. I put the whole playlist on Spotify and made it public if you want to check it out. Listening to music that helps you focus on the life you want to create changes the way you feel! My Love Playlist is a playlist exclusively of songs with inspirational, aspirational messages. If it doesn’t have lyrics that inspire me, it doesn’t make the cut. I keep adding to it all the time, too. It’s epic.
Inputs are also the people we surround ourselves with most of the time. Are the people we spend time with enhancing our lives and helping us create more energy? Or taking away from our energy? Are they helping us get closer to our dreams? Or further away? We all have that friend who’s constantly complaining. They’re energy vampires, and before you know it, we’re sucked in. We’re complaining too. Misery loves company. Well, the opposite is also true. Big dreamers and big thinkers LOVE other big dreamers and big thinkers! Master “manifesters” (I don’t think that’s really a word. It’s giving me the red lines underneath it) love other master “manifesters”! What you focus on and surround yourself with either gets you closer to your goals or further away. Nothing is neutral. When we listen to positive messages, have positive conversations, read positive books, our life will change in positive ways because we change. So, being relentless about everything you’re reading, listening to, watching and surrounding yourself with, and making sure it’s helping you grow, is like getting on the autobahn. Don’t you want to get to where you want to go faster? Read books that will make you better. Spend time with people you admire. Listen to a podcast a day of someone who has created what you want to create.
5. Define your why
John Maxwell said that anyone struggling to create healthy habits hasn’t fully identified their “why.” I don’t love waking up at 4:30am to go to the gym every morning. I’m freaking lazy! I love my bed! I LOVE sleeping! And after work, I love to come home, have a couple cocktails and watch Netflix! But…alas, I feel like crap if I don’t exercise. And when I remind myself that I want to be healthy enough to play with my grandchildren and great grandchildren, suddenly that early-morning wake-up call isn’t quite so obnoxious. Well, actually, it is. Not gunna lie. But I just roll over and get up anyway. (Most of the time. Let’s be real.) You don’t have to be perfect every day, but remembering your why helps you roll over, get out of bed and do the things you really don’t want to do in that moment, so you can feel amazing the rest of the day! So, what’s your why? Defining it will help you create these habits so that eventually they become second nature. When they become second nature, you can use that energy you aren’t using to make yourself get to the gym on other things! Use that energy to create more, think more, be more creative, spend quality time with your family, work on your favorite hobbies. When I work out, I have more energy all day, and I’m so much more productive! If you’re having a tough time getting going, spend a little more time defining your why.
Back to the story about my media buy. When my boss called me over, I took a deep breath, put on my big girl pants, walked through my plan with the client, explained my recommendation, and he said “OK.” Once I did the work and put in the research and the effort, my confidence happened naturally as a by-product. You don’t have to force it. And the same is true in life.
So, are you putting in the research and doing the hard work? If not, today’s the perfect day to get started!