The Importance Of Learning To Say No

When do we say no? When do we feel pushed too far? How often are we done with people or things? Mostly, occasionally, rarely, or never at all? Do we say it as much as we should? Or do we not say it at all?

It is a human error that we tend to agree to everything that is being said even though it isn’t at times acceptable. Rarely do we say no to what is being asked of us. It seems so difficult to say no that we say yes to doing something that is way off our radar. It is not about challenging our capabilities but a matter of our limits. The ones which we have already set straight for ourselves. We cannot expect ourselves to go an extra mile for every next person without burning a piece of our soul in that process. Their anger, hostility, or lack of acceptance of your boundaries is the edge of where their respect for your ends meet.

Saying ”no” doesn’t make you argumentative or ruthless. It doesn’t even make you uncaring or selfish. It is nothing to get blamed for. You don’t have to be the bad person or feel like one so those taking advantage of you won’t feel guilty about what they did to you or were planning to do. Standing up for yourself is self-care, not self-centered behavior, and it should be known by all. You have to understand the fact that sometimes it is the need of the hour to say no to things that have the potential to disrupt your peace. If you are not okay with something, it should be a good enough reason to say no.

Moreover, people are always highly judgmental of the actions of others. It isn’t necessarily a conscious thing but surely a social evil. Even if it is a small thing like saying no, the fear of being judged and criticized for the same is what ruins us. It is a person’s right to express themselves freely, be it saying yes or no to any particular thing. The sense of freedom is lost for ages; sadly, this phenomenon continues to exist among us. The only thing that ironically puts me at ease as well as distress is that we are the ones who make up the society and its so-called acceptable norms. It is people amongst us who are too toxic to hear no for an answer. It is we who need to change and give others a breather. No matter what you do, you should never back off from standing up for yourself, because being your own supporter always guarantees good. Walking an extra mile by saying no might make you tired, but it surely will make you happy in the least.

It is indeed high time we realize that saying no is a need. It is a feeling. It is a necessity and sometimes a want too. Because after all said and done, it should be understood that no means no and it should be taken like that without any offense.

Next Time Social Media Makes You Feel Like You’re Falling Behind, Read This

Fake it till ya make it.

These past few days have taught me that everyone is going through something. Now, whether it’s obvious or not is a very different story, especially on the world wide web.

Social media should be used as a platform of transparency, not just for posting our best days, because what’s real about that? Trust me, I’ve done my fair share of scrolling and had the uninvited envious thoughts creeping in, but what to do about it is the age-old question we all want to know.

I think we all feel a sense of urgency and competition, but what we fail to realize is that we’re not in competition with others but rather with ourselves. We fail to see small accomplishments (which to others may be huge) because we’re so focused on what else we could have (definitely a millennial problem).

Recently I’ve felt torn between so many paths and have been wondering how anyone can choose just one when there’s so much to see and do in the world, but I’ve realized we have to stop seeing huge life decisions as the end all be all. 

Here are the lessons social media should be teaching us:

Live in the now. What do you want in this moment? Where do you want to be? Try not to think past a few months. Take it one day at a time. The decision you make next week or next month is not final. It can be undone. Life unravels in the way it is supposed to.

Be thankful for what you have RIGHT NOW. So many of us fail to see this. We’re constantly too busy chasing what we don’t have that we forget what we do.

Age is just a number. This may be the most difficult of all, but squash the norm. So many of us are changing careers, moving abroad, or discovering passions we never knew we had. That’s okay. Go with it. Society won’t care.

Live your life to the fullest. The more time you spend overthinking and worrying about the logistics, the less time you have. Time flies, and it’s better to live without regrets.

So, the next time you go on an avid scrolling spree, think about what you don’t know or what you can’t see. Everyone has a story to tell and a struggle to be faced.

Live Your Life (Not Your Social Media Life)

It may indeed be the highest wisdom to elect to be a nobody in a relative paradise than a celebrity in a world which has lost all sense of values.

Henry Miller

We live in a world so dramatically different than any before us. We live parallel lives of reality and virtual origins. We are split. Told that if we aren’t pretty enough, popular enough, happy enough, then we are defective. We live in an age where people are “famous” because they are beautiful, and that’s it. That’s all it takes. They have a camera, and they show us how beautiful and happy they are, and we all believe it. We question our realities. We take a photo for “the gram”. We check our angles, we suck it in, we make sure our makeup is in place, our hair perfectly coiffed, and we put in place our perfected smiles. We want to be a part of the popular crowd.

But we aren’t just posing for the photos anymore.

Why do we all have this need to be a somebody? To be different, remembered, better? Why do we feel the urge that what we are is not enough. That being ordinary isn’t extraordinary? That we need to convince others of our happiness? Pardon me, but there are very few people that actually give a shit about each of us. We have our select few (family, friends, coworkers) who would actually be there for us, who would bring us soup when we are sick. So why do we feel this urge to take our pretty pictures so to make sure they know how happy and pretty we are too?

We are in an age where we are no longer living for ourselves. We are living to show others how wonderful we are. We are living in a show to convince the world that we matter.

Why? Honestly, why? If you have an answer please tell me. Because it seems skewed to me, to live in front of these screens when there’s a beautiful world outside. A world where things are different, where we actually interact, where you experience sounds and smells and feel the wind in your hair. Where you meet people and they see you back, you both get to look into each other’s eyes. There’s something about reading your book at the park or at a coffee shop. About going on a walk alone with your thoughts instead of suppressing everything that makes us individuals by watching what the masses are doing. There’s something about not wanting every product that social media ads target at you. There’s something about being the person that brings the soup to someone who is sick instead of sending them a message to feel better soon. There’s something about feeling whole being ourselves.

I don’t believe there is anything wrong with living a simple, ordinary life. About realizing that we are all just a small part of a big beautiful world.

We can make differences in the lives around us without pretending for those outside of our circles. We really don’t have to pretend. We don’t have to fear oblivion, because you know what? It’s going to happen. We are all just small parts of a whole.

We matter, of course we matter, but each of our individual existences is not the end all be all of the human race.

We don’t need to focus on getting a nice picture of our fun day unless it’s something that is kept for ourselves. The amount of likes a photo gets is not a measure of how wonderful we are, or how successful our day was.

We can dress up nice because it makes us feel pretty, go outside, and take pictures that empower ourselves and make us feel confident in our skin. We don’t have to document every small sliver of our existence as though without it we are nothing. We can use social media as a photo album of our lives, for ourselves.

What he knows and does, and what the average citizen can not or will not do, is to enjoy solitude, to live life simply, to crave nothing, and to share what he has when called upon. Let us leave him where he is, Mr. X. a master of the anonymous life.

Henry Miller

P.S. It’s okay to take breaks from social media.

7 Important Lessons It Takes Most People A Lifetime To Learn

Our relationships dictate the quality of our life. Yes, of course there are other important things, but for the most part, the quality of our relationships will determine how you feel about your life. If you feel loved, connected, and cared for, it lessens the heavy burden of stress that we often place on ourselves and brings us into the moment with other spiritual beings having a temporary human experience. This connection to others is what makes us human.

There are no wrong decisions in life, only wrong ways to look at them. In the moment, we make decisions that may or may not have worked out. Regardless, those decisions have led you to where you are now. Looking back, you may wish you did things differently. But in the moment, you were brave enough to make a decision and follow through with it. That’s something you should be proud of, and instead of letting your past decisions define your present and your future, you should learn from them and let them guide your way forward. We are constantly learning. We will always be learning and growing.

True self-awareness is the knowledge that our lives are but a means to an end. We have a limited time here, so knowing this, how do you choose to spend your life? How do you choose to spend your days? Who do you choose to spend it with? The awareness that we are not ‘invincible’ is perhaps your greatest ally because it acknowledges the present moment as all we have. Stop waiting. Go after the things that you truly want in your life. It’s our actions that fuel our self-belief.

Life is not tiring. Rather, choosing to wear a mask hiding who you truly are and adhering to beliefs that aren’t aligned with your being is the tiring part. Your life is your own, and while others may offer their opinions on how you should be spending it, there is nothing more freeing than having the courage to live honestly; an honest life is a full life.

The world starts and ends with your mind. No matter what you achieve in the external world, you will always be brought back to your own state of being. If you don’t take care of your mental health, nothing outside of you will fulfill you. Ironically, it’s only when you change your internal state that you can fully enjoy all the things that come your way in your external world. So start with your mind. No matter where you are now, it will always just be you and your own thoughts; it’s time to become your own best friend.

Stop chasing perfectionism. Perfectionism is a fear mindset that is stopping you from taking action. The key to letting go of this mindset is to begin. Get out of the thinking mind and begin taking action, then let go of the outcome. What is perfect? Is it even possible? We can spend our whole lives ruminating on being perfect, or we can take action today, believe in our ability and let go of the outcome. We never know what can happen.

Talk a little nicer to yourself. The thoughts and words that come into our mind often manifest into our lives. Become aware of your self-limiting beliefs and patterns—consciously choose the words that you want to say about yourself and fully realize that your words do mean something. Gentle encouragement as you navigate the confusing journey of life goes a long way. You deserve to feel worthy. Feeling worthy begins with yourself.

Here’s How The Self-Love Movement Is More Toxic Than You Think

The self-love movement is encouraging, empowering, and inspiring. But it can also be toxic, hypocritical, and a bit too extreme.

There is a side to the self-love movement that I believe, if overlooked, people have the potential of losing out on important relationships or simply being kind, compassionate humans. Here’s my take: 

The rise of social media has prompted new levels of mass comparison. Beauty standards heightened, this standard of “perfection” became the norm, and what was once raw and real is now the “before” stage of a dramatic glow-up. That’s where self-love comes in. 

The terms “self-love” and “self-care” are absolutely everywhere now. As a response to the unhealthy comparison and declining mental health that social media tends to intensify, posts and wellness trends began to circulate to remind people to take care of themselves and focus their attention inward. 

And while I must disclaim that I am not against a movement that teaches us to love and take care of ourselves, it is the hidden hypocrisy and consequences of this that I don’t think people realize. One of the biggest messages the self-love movement preaches is being gentle with ourselves. It is a pillar of this movement to practice self-compassion, forgive ourselves for our mistakes, be gentle with ourselves during our lowest times, and practice patience. And these are all amazing things that should continue to be practiced. 

Yet, another major pillar of this movement, one that possibly contradicts the first one, is the importance of creating boundaries. I always see posts that encourage people to cut out anyone or anything negative, to be mindful of where they invest their energy, and to completely remove anything that drains it. Now, for a while, being someone that has always struggled to establish boundaries due to my own insecurities, I took these posts to heart quickly. I believed that in order to become “better” and improve the quality of my life, I had to essentially cut out anyone that I didn’t remotely feel good around or that I didn’t feel reciprocated in my effort (emphasis on feel).

Now, for as long as I had this mentality, it backfired. It actually created more issues for me because while I was trying so hard to dodge the people that I felt were “bad” for me, I completely lost sight of a few really important things as well as realizing down the road how selfish this mentality actually has the potential to be. 

1. If the self-love movement teaches us to love and practice compassion and patience with ourselves as we are growing, shouldn’t we extend others the same? 

I think that personally, I contorted the concept of “boundaries” by being so strict with them that I ended up falsely perceiving others as bad or negative while every other human is simply figuring it out as well. The point is, though, in the era of “cancel culture” and unattainable standards of perfection both on social media and increasingly off, we are preaching that we must take care of ourselves while rejecting others through their own growth journey. We are preaching to be gentle with ourselves when we make mistakes, while immediately cutting others off when they make a mistake. We are preaching to recognize our strengths more than our weaknesses while letting one little weakness or mistake overshadow all of another person’s strengths or good qualities. We are essentially giving ourselves the permission to grow, fail, and pick ourselves up again while forgetting others are on growth journeys themselves too, and saying they must only bring “good vibes,” otherwise they’re not worthy anymore. If this doesn’t suck the humanity and compassion out of relationships, I don’t know what does. 

2. While being so focused on our own self-love and boosting our strengths, we get so self-involved that we forget that others show love in different ways, and that’s okay. 

People have different strengths and weaknesses. People have different love languages. People have different depths of emotion and different ways of communicating love. That fact doesn’t diminish your own ways of communicating love or anyone else’s. It just means that we must take a little extra effort in any situation to remember the strengths a person has and value they add rather than giving up on them after one instance where they didn’t communicate in the same way you might have. A push for boundaries must not be confused with the need for everyone’s approach to relationships to match ours.

3. Preaching constant self-love has the potential to replace the love we have for others. 

Everyone has a certain threshold, a certain level of love and energy they can give themselves and others. And I get it—I get that the self-love movement is encouraging us to make sure that our gas tank isn’t just full of the love and energy we give others and leaving none left for ourselves. But I think we are in danger of reaching the other extreme as well. The amount of stories or scenarios I hear where people are neglecting or rejecting others under the guise of calling it “self-care” is a little too much. There is a line between putting ourselves first and being selfish. 

4. People are complex. 

We only see .01% of a person. And chances are, underneath the other 99.99% that makes a person who they are, a big chunk of it even they are unaware of. Because the truth is everyone is on their own journey of reaching self-awareness and healing, as well as understanding themselves and why they act/think/behave the way they do. That same patience we must practice with ourselves when we screw up or make a mistake or unknowingly act wrongfully because of other factors involved is the same patience we should extend others because every single person also has that complexity going on. Usually their actions aren’t as simple as just being written off as “negative energy.” Think about if someone simply gave up on you in that way. 

5. Not only is it fair to completely cut people out, it’s also not completely realistic. 

Okay, so you decide that someone is a negative presence in your life and you want to create boundaries—great. But chances are, this person might be friends with your friends or you work with them or you have to see them in one way or another because people don’t just disappear when you want them too. Not only is tolerating people just a part of life, but in the spirit of not being selfish, sometimes we have to sacrifice a small thing we don’t want to do to add value for others and ourselves. Sometimes I have to sacrifice my dislike of talking on the phone so that I can have a relationship with my grandmother whose main joy in life is talking on the phone with her grandkids. And sometimes we have to spend time around a person we don’t want to in order to get more time with the people we love. Without running the risk of sounding too mature, this is the one I absolutely struggle with the most and continue to struggle with. We’re trying out here, we really are.

So what do you do? How do you set boundaries while also having grace for people? How do you embrace how others show love or embrace other people’s journey’s while protecting your own peace? I truly can’t pretend to give a right answer because this is something I am just starting to navigate as I release the strict hold on boundaries I had before. But I’ll say this: There is room for both. Creating boundaries and protecting your peace does not have to be a harmful act against someone. It doesn’t have to end in anger or hurt or rejection. Be conscious of people’s intentions, because most of the time, they’re not to hurt you. Ask yourself what is important to you and what steps you can take to get there. And recognize that mistakes, bad energy, and conflicts with people aren’t always so black and white. While you should surround yourself with people that add value into your life, realize no one is perfect and apply some of that tolerance. 

So take it from me. Someone who is overly sensitive. Someone who is insecure and sometimes takes that out on other people. Someone who’s insecurities sometimes get the better of her. Who gets so emotional sometimes she can’t see reality. Someone who sometimes cares so deeply that not feeling that reciprocation in return feels like a personal attack. Someone who is only just starting to become aware of and break toxic patterns and put everything she has into self-growth so that others don’t become collateral damage. Someone who is human. 

Please be gentle. Be patient. It’s true that you don’t know what others are going through, just as many others are blind to your own wounds and experiences.  

And what is self-love anyway if you can’t give some of that love to others?

Read This If You Are Constantly Letting Doubt Take Over Your Life

What do you do when you’re doubting yourself? When those thoughts begin to take space in your brain, telling you all the reasons you’ll fail. Or ways things might go wrong. We are all too familiar with this feeling. And when it creeps in, you can’t simply kick it out. You can’t just flick it off like a crumb on a counter.

The thing about doubt is that it wants to grow. Like a stubborn weed. While our minds mean well, our brains will go out of their way to hold us back from any and all potential danger. Even if that so-called danger is a crucial step in expanding your growth. Even if that so-called danger isn’t even danger at all.

Doubt exists to contemplate. It exists to provide a way for us to make sense of uncertainty. And in some cases, this doubt can be immensely powerful. Maybe you doubt your ability to “wing” a presentation, and instead you decide to put in time to practice it. That’s good. That is a beneficial doubt.

But there is a difference between asking questions, being curious, and straight sabotaging yourself with never ending doubt. The kind of doubt that locks you into your comfort zone. The kind of doubt that makes you opt out of the presentation or in any case, the “thing”, all together.

This doubt will win if you don’t push back. And the longer you let this doubt win, the less likely will you ever allow yourself to discover. Because on the other side of doubt are new experiences, successes, and a version of you that’s waiting to be realized.

So what do you do when you’re doubting yourself? While it may feel too simple, you have two choices: You either let that doubt win, or you shut it down and keep going anyway.

You won’t rid yourself of the doubt forever. And you don’t need to learn to live a life extinct of worry. If you are existing on this earth, there will always be new uncertainties that come across our way. But it’s how you decide to face them anyway and not give them this unleashed power.

Think about your future self.

See how far you can go if you stop letting the doubt grow untamed. See yourself flourish if you begin to lean into all the ways something can go right. See just what you’ll make of this life if you stop doubting yourself every single time you try something new or unfamiliar.

See what happens when you let yourself win, instead of doubt.

How To Beat Your Insecurities And Improve Your Self-Esteem

Self-love isn’t selfish and building your self-esteem is vital for your personal growth. It also improves both your personal and professional life. Most of us find it more comfortable to put ourselves down or self-sabotage ourselves by glorifying our mistakes and insecurities or using self-deprecating humor to minimize the embarrassment, but these behaviors aren’t helping us overcome our insecurities, they only make them worse. 

It’s normal to have days when you don’t feel your best or feel a little bit behind but you can’t let that feeling dominate your life. At some point, you have to change whatever is feeding your insecurities and holding you back. But the good news is, you totally can, because they’re easy steps that just require some discipline and commitment. 

Changing your mindset in the situations that trigger you is fundamental to fighting your insecurities. We tend to make everything about ourselves, especially other people’s behaviors—the more we care about or love someone, the more we take the way they treat us personally. This is more common in romantic relationships where we are prone to being more sensitive and anxious when we see a behavior change. Feeling insecure about yourself can cause you to overreact or struggle with regulating your emotions when these situations arise.

Owning your mistakes is one thing, but constantly measuring your self-worth and value based on how someone else treats you or sees you will never make you feel good about yourself. By affirming your own value and giving yourself more credit in your relationships, you will be able to look at things from a more logical point of view instead of taking it personally and reacting irrationally. 

Another important question you need to ask yourself is: Who are you spending most of your time with? The people you spend time with the most have the greatest impact on you emotionally and mentally. Having a kind, supportive, and loving inner circle can improve your self-esteem and make you feel better about yourself.

Are you surrounded by people who believe in you and your dreams or are you surrounded by people who belittle you and criticize you? Are you surrounded by people who are happy for your success and want to see you shine or are you surrounded by self-absorbed people who want to always feel like they’re doing better than you? Remembering who you were with when you felt insecure the most can help you avoid these people and situations in the future. 

Last but not least, learn how to be kind to yourself and patient with yourself in the process. Beating your insecurities and improving your self-esteem doesn’t happen overnight, especially if you’ve been blaming yourself for your shortcomings all your life. Taking small but necessary steps to heal your emotional wounds, changing the way you think about yourself, and filtering your environment will put you on the right track towards being more confident and happier. Prioritize your self-worth and your own needs in every aspect of your life and you will eventually start to see major improvements that keep you moving forward. 

If you don’t truly value yourself and practice that daily, no one will truly value you. It’s your choice whether you want to be your own best friend or your own worst enemy. You have the power, so use it to your advantage. 

50 Self-Care Tips To Heal Your Mind, Body, And Soul

Self-care is a big deal. You can’t take care of others unless you’ve taken care of yourself. It isn’t possible to pour from an empty cup. Self-care methods and techniques are different for every single person, and what works for some might not work for others. When it comes to self-care, there are certain things we can do that benefit our minds in the most beautiful ways. There are other wonderful things we can do that benefit our physical bodies just as much. Most importantly, certain self-care techniques benefit our souls on the deepest levels.

Overcoming traumas, moments of anxiety, or days that are filled with stress aren’t typically easy for anybody. Sometimes it feels like something horrible is eating away at you emotionally, and there isn’t anything that could realistically fix it. The truth of the matter is that although it isn’t possible to magically cure anxiety or heal trauma in one day, there are still plenty of small things we can do on a daily basis to help ourselves feel better about surviving through life. Life is filled with endless highs and lows, but despite the wave of existence we are all constantly riding as human beings, we do deserve to be happy!

Continue reading to uncover 50 self-care tips that benefit the mind, body, and soul.

1. Write a letter to yourself from your dream guy.

2. Go the entire day eating healthy foods (no fast food or junk food).

3. Play with puppies at a dog shelter.

4. Write down the 10 best compliments you’ve ever received from others.

5. Unfollow and unfriend anyone on social media that irritates your inner peace.

6. Read thoughtful affirmations to boost your self-esteem on an app like Selfish Babe.

7. Write a paragraph that starts with these words: What love means to me is…

8. Text a random compliment to a friend.

9. If you’re religious, pray to God on your knees.

10. For those with gym access, go to the gym for at least 30 minutes.

11. For those without gym access, use a workout video for at least 30 minutes.

12. Sleep for eight hours straight.

13. Do a Google search for inspirational quotes using keywords such as “motivation”, “success”, and “happiness”.

14. Clean and organize your entire room.

15. If you’re religious, read daily Bible verses from an app like Jesus Calling.

16. Increase your water consumption with the help of an app like Aloe Bud.

17. Say “no thanks” to any social invitation that stresses you out or doesn’t interest you.

18. Get at least 15 minutes of sunshine.

19. Socialize on a phone call with an old friend.

20. Watch or read at least one thing that makes you laugh (out loud).

21. Purchase healing crystals that heal trauma, anxiety, and other mental ailments.

22. Try deep and mindful breathing—10 inhales, 10 exhales.

23. Journal your current feelings out and be brutally honest.

24. Take a bubble bath.

25. Take a two-hour break from technology.

26. Declutter your office or workspace.

27. Get your nails and toes professionally done.

28. Make a list of 10 major blessings you’ve been blessed with from your birth until now.

29. Get a professional massage.

30. Listen to a playlist of your favorite songs.

31. Invite a friend out for a coffee date, ice cream date, or cocktail date.

32. Blend a fruit, protein, or matcha smoothie for yourself.

33. Write a reflection on the last most enjoyable night you experienced.

34. Apply lotion all over your body.

35. Gather old clothing for donation in order to clear space in your closet.

36. Attend an appointment with a professional therapist and open up emotionally.

37. Deep clean and wash the inside and outside of your car.

38. Start a gratitude jar (write down every little thing you’re grateful for and put them all in a large glass jar).

39. Create a vision board for the next 12 months.

40. Actively forgive yourself for your past mistakes by saying the words out loud.

41. Do your makeup and take a sexy selfie.

42. Watch a guided meditation video for attracting love into your life.

43. Write a list of 10 things you love about yourself (give yourself compliments).

44. If possible, add a bit of money to your savings account.

45. Write your favorite inspirational quote from your Google search on your mirror.

46. Wash, fold, and put away all your laundry.

47. Light candles and/or incense.

48. Make a list of your 10 best memories from the last year.

49. Rewatch episodes from one of your favorite TV shows.

50. Write a “thank you” note to yourself for past choices you’ve made that you’re proud of.

3 Factors That Determine An Unshakeable Sense Of Self-Worth

We are all worthy. Each and every one of us has an equal right to occupy our individualized space in the world for as long as we’re alive. There are those who radiate the goodness of their spirit and those who inflict harm on themselves and others. This is balance…whether we accept it or not, it’s not for us to judge. We can control the thinking, actions, and responses of only one person in our lives; ourselves. In the quest of self-growth, evolution, and the process of daily change, we can either become increasingly self-aware or decide to impede our process for a variety of reasons.

When we discover our  self-worth and actively maintain it, this is when we begin to live richer lives through equilibrium, reciprocated love, and inner contentment. This is our rite of passage in which we can take ownership with ease — if we choose to do so.

1. Acceptance

By accepting who we are right here, right now is half of the victory. If we take a moment and make a list of ten positive qualities and ten negative ones that currently reflect our sense of self, we can begin to see things more concretely—in writing. For every negative belief, make a notation on what can be done to transform this area into something more beneficial, productive, and ultimately worthy of improvement. If it causes great discomfort, it requires more acceptance yet more attention to make peace with it in order to heal. By accepting life’s circumstances and the people that caused us harm, we can forgive them; which in turn allows us to accept and forgive ourselves. The truth is we too have directly and indirectly harmed ourselves and others along the way. We may even go as far to let others know we forgive them and to ask those we have wronged for forgiveness, too. Whether it’s granted or not is of no consequence as long as we can be gentle on ourselves and self-correct.

2. Healing

Once we begin to reflect on the areas in ourselves that feel broken and are in need of care and nurture, all of those wounds begin to reveal themselves on the surface. This is good and honest. The more love we put into our inner holes, the more they begin to radiate a light that was once void in darkness. When we begin to self-heal, our physical, mental, and emotional layers become aligned and we can actively restore ourselves into healthy and strong willed individuals. When something or someone doesn’t add to our lives, we become more attuned to our needs and can make decisions to walk away for self-preservation. When something or someone enriches our lives, we can make the decision to embrace it. This is creating a system of self-protection through reasonable boundaries and limits; a true sign of self-love. The balance of giving and receiving is also another milestone in the discovery and maintenance of one’s relationship with self and others.

3. Living

Life is made in a series of ups and downs, a dynamic of beauty and brutality, and a sequence of events and relationships that are a part of our journey–for better or for worse. Once we realize that we are in fact the key players in the lives in which we are actively (or inactively) developing, we no longer accept the minimum that we either give/receive yet find natural movement towards achieving the maximum. Although there are many external factors that we seek out to “validate” who and what we are as individuals, it’s the internal factors that dictate our authentic image of self-worth. The higher the value we place on ourselves through gratitude and self-confidence, we live charmed lives in which we are our most prized possessions in mind, body, and spirit. Only if we believe, think, and feel it in unison, no one or nothing (including ourselves) can devalue us. This is because you and I both are invaluable… 

3 Helpful Tools For Building A Healthy Sense Of Self

After a traumatic and dis-empowering childhood, much of my life’s work has been about building a healthy and empowered sense of self. Not a narcissistic sense of self, but one that is rooted in a healthy ego and a recognition of the great possibilities that live within each of us. I believe that every one of us comes into this life with a brilliant and a unique sacred purpose, a network of gifts, callings, lessons, significant relationships, and key emotional issues that we are here to clarify, to express, to actualize, and to grow through. Our sacred purpose is our unique contribution to the world.

In order to fully embrace our purpose and make self-affirming life choices, we need an authentic sense of our own value. We need to believe that we are worthy of bringing our gifts and offerings to the world. Because so few of us were given a healthy template for self-validation, we often have to forge that template ourselves in the fires of our own determination.

Here are 3 tools that helped me to reach the stage of self-validation where I could see my purpose through in a challenging world.

Tool 1: Practice the Art of Selective Attachment.

Given that our sense of self was wounded in relationships, some part of it has to be restored through relationships. We are relational beings, after all. But relational healing can’t happen with just anyone. We have to cultivate the art of selective attachment. In other words, we have to sift everything through a self-validation filter, connecting only to those relationships that support our healthy self-development. If someone bolsters our sense of value, we invite them in. If they don’t, we turn them away. In other words, self-validators enter, lite-dimmers exit. Not from a place of contempt, but from a place of burgeoning self-love. We already have enough internalized voices telling us that we don’t have value. We don’t need any more. If they don’t help you grow, then let them go. Who you surround yourself with really matters.

Of course, we can get all the validation we want, even if it comes from someone credible, but it won’t be enough. We still have to take proactive steps to confirm our value.

Tool 2: Affirm your value.

Affirmations can be a positive step in the direction of self-empowerment. It can be encouraging to repeat self-validating affirmations throughout the day. For example, “I am enough!”, “I am worthy of a healthy relationship”, “I am worthy of self-love”, “I am brilliant.” These mantras can keep you going, particularly during challenging moments and can bolster your sense of self. But on their own, they are not enough to deeply transform you. In order to build a strong and sturdy sense of self, your words need to be coupled with self-affirming actions. In other words, you need to prove to yourself that you matter. You have to make your affirmations real. There has to be a congruency between what you are expressing and what you are living before your inner world will take notice.

By making your affirmations real, you send a message to the deep within that you are worthy enough to wage this battle for self-love. If we don’t prove to ourselves that we are willing to fight for our right to the light and our right to a healthy self-concept, who will?

This work may require that we go to the edge of our discomfort, and make empowering new choices. For example, if you are someone who has had a hard time speaking up for yourself, shift the pattern by clearly and confidently voicing your needs or desiresOr if you are someone who has resisted exploring a more gratifying career path, take one step in the direction of a new career. Even the smallest and shakiest of steps can transform your inner landscape.

To make your affirmations real: finish the things you start. Prove to yourself that you can see things through to completion. This can include important and meaningful life goals. Or practical and menial everyday tasks. It doesn’t matter if they are lofty accomplishments or simple actions. What matters is that you drown your negative self-talk in a sea of accomplishment.

Tool 3: Healing Our Core Wounds.

Fundamental to our efforts to self-validate, is the importance of going back into the past to heal our core wounds. At the heart of a diminished self-concept is invariably some combination of unresolved abuse, trauma, and unmet needs. And it’s seldom ours alone- most of these dysfunctional patterns have roots in our family lineage and ancestral patterns. In other words, we are carrying everyone’s emotional material up the rocky mountain with us.

The way we break free from dysfunctional familial patterns is not by running away from them. It’s by walking back in their direction. Not because we want to keep repeating them, but because the only way to shift these patterns is to heal them at their roots. It’s okay to run from them for a time, but not for all time. Because the flight from what lives inside of you, merely delays your arrival. You may think you are on the way to a new destination yet the plane keeps circling back to your childhood home. It can’t navigate a new flight plan, until you return back to where you came from, and heal its broken wings. With your wings strengthened, there is nowhere you can’t go.

The healing can happen in many forms. Talk therapy can be an effective tool in seeing and understanding the roots of our diminished sense of self. With the right therapist, you can talk through and reclaim those parts of you that got lost along the way. You can come to terms with where the voices of self-hatred and internalized shame originated. But identifying and analyzing our wounds is not always the same as healing them. Excessive analysis can perpetuate emotional paralysis- strengthening your mental capacities while possibly delaying your deeper healing. An effective recipe for healing is to couple your talk-therapy with a body-centered psycho-therapeutic approach. Body-centered models like somatic experiencing, bio-energetics, and core energetics, engage both your mental faculties and your capacity for deep feeling, supporting a more integrated healing. Your negative self-talk may be manifest as thinking, but its roots are often in the traumas endured within the emotional and physical bodies. Our traumas were a felt experience, and if we want to transform them we have to meet them directly, within the body itself. The feel is for real.

The key to the transformation of challenging patterns and wounds is to heal them from the inside out. Not to analyze them, not to watch them like an astronomer staring at a faraway planet through a telescope, but to jump right into the heart of them, encouraging their expression and release, stitching them into new possibilities with the thread of love. You want to live a self-empowered life? Heal your heart. That’s the best affirmation of all.

CONTINUING THE WORK

Building a healthy self-concept takes more than recognizing why we don’t have one. We have to do the work to construct a new egoic foundation. That work is not merely conceptual- it is rooted in embodied, lived experience: supportive relationships, positive affirmations coupled with meaningful action, addressing our emotional wounds, and eventually healing our way home. If you can stay with these tools for long enough, the voices of internalized shame and self-hatred will grow quieter, and a voice of self-love will rise up to occupy space inside of you. Your inner narrative will shift from a tone of shame, to a tone of self-value. You will no longer make choices sourced in an over-compensatory quest for external validation, you will make choices that are rooted in self-love. Self-regard will become your natural and organic way of being, and you will become emblazoned on your path, living your life like the force of purposeful nature that you are.

We are all beautiful and brilliant beings, at heart. The trick is clearing the obstacles and doing the rewarding work to build a foundation of enduring self-regard. When we do, we stop getting in our own way, and we live the life we were born for.