post written by: Marc Chernoff

10 Ways to Stop Treating Yourself


10 Ways to Stop Treating Yourself

“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and
I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.”
―C. JoyBell C.

Your relationship with yourself is the closest and most important relationship you will ever have.  When was the last time someone told you they loved and respected you just the way you are, and that what you think and how you feel means the world?  When was the last time someone told you that you did a great job, or when necessary, that “everything is going to be OK.”  When was the last time that ‘someone’ was YOU?

It’s time to start treating yourself better.  It’s time to…

1.  Stop holding yourself back from living TODAY.

Sadly, only a tiny percentage of the people in this world will actually experience their lives today.  So many of us will be stuck on another day, another time and place that troubled us and caused us to spiritually stumble, and thus miss out on life as we’re living it.  Realize this and pull it together.  Do not allow your spirit to be softened or your happiness to be limited by a time and place you cannot get back or a day that does not yet exist.  Live today!

Before you know it you’ll be asking, “How did it get so late so soon?”  So take time right now to figure yourself out.  Take time to realize what you want and need.  Take time to take risks.  Take time to love, laugh, cry, learn, and move forward.  Life is shorter than it often seems.  Realize that right now you’re lucky because you still have a chance.  So stop for a moment and think.  Whatever you need to do, start doing it now; there are only so many ‘todays’ left.

2.  Stop ignoring your peaceful inner space.

Remember that there is a place within you that you can go to at any moment.  It is calm and full of love.  Forget about the noise your mind is reciting to you.  It is stuck, and it is wrong.  Look within.  Go there when you are sad.  Go there when you are fearful or angry or troubled.  Go there when you are alone in your car in hectic traffic, or when you are surrounded by people who intimidate you.  And don’t forget to go there when you are happy too.

Forget what you “know.”  You are not your body.  You are not your past or future.  You are not what others expect of you.  The essence of your being is love and it is within you right now.  Your spirit is simply waiting for you to remember this.  So go to that place in the center of you.  Let the deep love and serenity swallow you whole.  Everything is always okay, even when it’s not.  Let go of the mind’s need to remind you of everything that weighs you down.  You are none of that.  You are at peace.  Now breathe, again, and smile.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

3.  Stop treating yourself like an unworthy imposter.

Ever feel totally out of your element?  Like you’re due to be discovered for the “fraud” that you are?  This is what psychologists call the “impostor syndrome” – where you constantly feel like everyone around you has their act together, but you don’t.  And the more others recognize your achievements, the more you feel like a fake.  Enhance your knowledge, and as you expand the scope of what you know, you’ll inevitably be exposed to more and more of what you don’t, and thus you’ll subconsciously discredit everything you do know.

Impostorism is, for many of us, a natural symptom of gaining expertise.  Move up the ranks, and if your line of work is even vaguely based on a totem pole of individual achievement, you’ll encounter more talented people to compare yourself negatively against.  It never stops.  I’ve written hundreds of self-improvement articles that have received millions of page views and social media shares, and praise from a dedicated community of readers, but each time I write a new post I think, “Oh boy, this time they’re going to find me out,” as if I’m some low-profile underachiever who doesn’t deserve to be writing and inspiring others.

The solution is to talk it out with a trusted friend or partner.  Talk about your insecurities more, and let them do the same.  Admittedly, it’s a hard conversation to initiate, so in the mean time just remember that everyone feels like an impostor sometimes – it’s not just you.

4.  Stop holding on to old wounds.

One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go.  Whether it’s feelings of guilt, anger, disappointment, loss or betrayal.  Change is never easy.  We fight to hold and we fight to let go.  But we must eventually let GO.  There’s no point in stressing over what you can’t change.  Stop over-thinking everything.  Let it be, move on, and grow from the experience.

It’s often our own thinking that hurts us.  There’s no reason to imprison yourself.  Don’t think outside the box; think like there is no box.  And never regret your past mistakes, because they gave you strength.  The one who falls and gets up is much stronger than the one who never fell.  Sometimes you have to accept the fact that things will never go back to how they used to be, and that this ending is really a new beginning.  (Read The Untethered Soul.)

5.  Stop acting like you don’t matter.

Your inner light is seen.  Your heart is heard.  Your spirit is treasured by more people than you imagine.  If you knew how many others have been touched in profound ways by you, you would be astounded.  If you knew how many people feel so much for you, you would be speechless.  You are far more brilliant than you think you are.  Rest with that.  Rest easy with that.  Breathe in and out, and again.  You are doing fine.  More than fine.  Better than fine.  You’re doing great.  So relax.  And love yourself today.

Stop discrediting yourself for everything you aren’t, and start giving yourself credit for everything that you are.  Behind you is infinite power, before you is endless possibility, around you is boundless opportunity.  So what are you going to do today?

6.  Stop pretending like you don’t have enough.

No, you won’t always get exactly what you want.  But remember this: There are lots of people who will never have what you have right now.  Remember, the happiest people don’t necessarily HAVE the best of everything, but they always try to MAKE the best of everything they have.

Good or bad, just smile.  You have a lot to be thankful for.  Never forget it.  Don’t be negative when you have so much to be positive about.  Your mind is a powerful thing.  Weakness in thinking becomes weakness in living.  When you fill your mind with positivity, you grow stronger.  Be wise enough to walk away from the nonsense around you.  Focus on the positives, and soon the negatives will be harder to see.

7.  Stop attaching yourself to what’s not meant to be.

We all have this idea in our heads of how things are supposed to be, but sadly this is why we end up disappointed.  Expect less.  Enjoy more.  Sometimes life doesn’t give you what you WANT because you NEED something else.  And what you need often comes when you’re not looking for it.

Bottom line:  Don’t hold yourself down with things you can’t control.  There’s a time and place for everything.  Don’t force what’s not yet supposed to fit into your life.  When it’s meant to be, it will be.  (Read Buddha’s Brain.)

8.  Stop letting negative people poison your mood.

You can’t live a positive life around negative people 24/7.  Ignore these people and move on from them when you must.  Seriously, be strong and know when enough is enough!  Distancing yourself from negative people doesn’t mean you hate them, or that you wish them harm; it just means you care about your own well-being.  Because every time you subtract negative from your life, you make room for more positive.

If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative.  Know when to close the account.  In the end, life is too short to argue and fight.  Count your blessings, value the people who matter, and move on from the drama with your head held high.

9.  Stop letting fear run your life.

Are you doing what you’re doing out of fear, or love?  Think about it.

Every human thought, word and deed is based on fear or love.  Fear is an inner energy that contracts, closes down, draws in, hides, hoards and harms.  When you live through fear, you pull back from life.  Love, on the other hand, is an inner energy that expands, opens up, sends out, reveals, shares and heals.  When you live through love, you open to all that life has to offer with presence and acceptance.

Love is risky.  Love is unsafe.  Love isn’t for the faint of heart.  Love takes courage.  And most importantly, love and fear can’t coexist.  Love means giving life the opportunity to break your heart, but knowing that there are far better things ahead than anything you’ve left behind.

10.  Stop telling yourself that happiness exists somewhere else.

As Abraham Lincoln so profoundly said, “We are just about as happy as we make up our minds to be.”

Happiness is the result of personal choice and effort.  You fight for happiness, strive for it, switch careers, build relationships, and sometimes even reinvent your lifestyle entirely as you uncover it.  Why?  Because you have to actively participate in the manifestations of your own joys and good fortunes – they are not ready-made for the taking; they are available for the making.

Ironically, a big part of this is simply doing your very best and then letting go and trusting that things will work out the way they’re supposed to, without trying to control every little detail of the outcome.  Instead of expecting to always get what you want, you appreciate the journey enough to want what you get.  The joy of the freedom this brings gradually becomes more pleasurable than the outcome itself.

Your turn…

In what way have you been mistreating yourself?  What do you need to start doing for yourself instead?  I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Photo by: Starlights

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50 Comments

  • Thank you for this post. Every week I’m making sure to read your articles. They really give me the extra strength I need to move forward and fight for my honest existence. Little by little I am gaining more courage to forget my dark past and overcome my fears. Your posts are like bullets of positivity hitting me from deep within, and through them I’ve found many of the answers I’ve been searching for.

    A close friend also gave me your book as a Christmas gift. Thank you. It has already helped me more than you can imagine. And I intend to read at least one page daily in the new year.

    More power to you, and please continue to lighten my heart and mind with your words.

  • I have read your posts for a while now and finally decided to comment to say thanks. I honestly enjoy almost every post you put together. In fact, I bookmark and print off the ones that really touch home with me, so I can refer back to them when I need them.

    You have mastered how to write about the positive truths many of us already know, but often forget. Thank you and keep up the great writing and work.

  • Wonderful! You guys have been a huge inspiration to me this past year. Thank you. I look forward to following along every step of the way in the year ahead as well.

    Also, I bought your audiobook and I love it. Such inspiring, timeless wisdom. You two should consider releasing a second one that contains some of your most recent articles too. I would love to listen to more of your stuff in the car. :)

  • I have been mistreating my inner self by not having the confidence I once had. Things change, life takes a different path. I don’t like the way I have become.

    I am working on finding that happy inner self again, and the same confidence that I once truly believed in. More change, different path, but necessary to keep moving forward one step at a time.

    Such a very important list here. Thank you.

  • I like what you said “The one who falls and gets up is much stronger than the one who never fell.” We should really must not be afraid of falling because we get stronger from these experiences, we learn and we get to enjoy life by living it.

    This is another great post from you Marc. Thanks

  • It’s really nice to read this article. It was at the right moment where I’m stuck in my life without knowing what to do anymore or who to talk to. This gives me a little inner strength and perspective so I can look into my life differently.

    Thanks again :)

  • ALWAYS right on the money… Thanks. I’ll never fully understand why I feel so unworthy, or tell myself “this is as good as it gets”. I guess it’s the fear of being alone… I know. But deep down I know I’m more alone with this person, than without. I know I am so much better than this situation. It’s the “in between alone time” that mortifies me.

  • Thank you for this post. It was really helpful. I’ve been mistreating myself by thinking I’m not good enough, and lacking self-confidence, and expecting the worst outcomes. All of this has held me back for a too long. Time for changes.

  • Just wanted to say thank you. I’ve been reading this site for close to a year now and it has definitely helped out when I’ve been in some dark times. I still find myself in these places sometimes, but I have hope they will get better and better.

  • Can I say this is gorgeous? Well it is!

    All ten touched me and hold true, you two are simply amazing :)

    This is the perfect way to start off my Monday!

  • Even when I only give your posts a cursory reading, they have a positive effect. Please keep writing!

  • Thank you for this wonderful article it’s an eye opener. For years I’ve been degrading myself for reasons the way my own mom treated me and made me feel stupid and unworthy. I’m 37 yrs and still unable to love her. There’s always this fear and insecurity that I don’t want this to interfere with my family (husband and kids). Very happy to read your articles they are so powerful. Thank you again :)

  • You both are wonderful people. So inspiring and helpful to people who are down, broken-hearted, or forgetting about their own importance in the world… Thank you for all the positive messages you are giving. They make a difference.

  • Thank you! This is just what I needed to hear going into the last week of 2013. You addressed several of the things I have been struggling with recently. I am going to bookmark this article to come back to it often so I can read it over and over again.

  • Thanks for those inspiring words! The lessons are already in my mind, but it’s so good to be reminded - especially before New Year’s. I really enjoy your work and as a starting journalist, I absolutely know this feeling to doubt your written work. No need for that, of course :) I’m looking forward to your Inspiration during the next 12 months - Thank you for sharing!

  • Wow - really needed to see this today… and will keep this handy for a LOT of future reference! You know you are hearing something you need to hear when you are instantly reduced to sobs because it resonates so deeply. Thank you for this.

  • OMG so true, so true. I am at a point in my life where I am transitioning to adulthood and everything I do is up to me and I have nobody else to blame. This has made me anxious. I am everything on that list except the negative people. I have cut off all my bad relationships but now I beat myself up for them.

  • Thank you.

  • My favorite way to start the week! Thank you for the motivating reminders and positivity! And a Happy New Year to you!

  • I want to believe this post and many others I read on this blog, but I have trouble as I always think they are for someone else and I don’t deserve to absorb the message. I have chronic pain and depression so I have a rough time staying in the present as it is where I feel just awful. The past is where I was active and had no pain and the future I keep hoping will bring a cure and relief. I keep trying to find the reason I was given this gift of pain and disease; do believe a higher power has chosen me, as some could not handle or cope, but have not found an answer, hard as I try and hard as I let go and listen.

    I am a wife, mother, grandmother, artist, and addict in recovery and even have problems with the 12 steps as I feel they worked many, but not me! I am hurting and wish someone would answer me.

  • I agree with @Betsy on adding confidence to the list. It’s usually the first casualty in times of setbacks and massive unwanted changes. I’d also add faith and hope to the list too. I’m putting all three of these at the top of my resolution list for 2014. I’m not sure if these are something you can consciously choose (i.e. force), but I’ve noticed that the more I work on doing what I love that I’m really good at, even when my heart isn’t really in it, the more confidence, hope and faith I have in myself and my abilities, which is sparking inspiration and tentatively getting my heart in it. It’s a weird, but positive circle of creative accomplishment that I hope keeps building.

    #1 I’ve finally, finally gotten to where I’m focusing on the present and keeping the past and future on the backburner.

    #2 & #5 Beautiful. Just absolutely perfect.

    #3 Haha! You have no idea how apt “imposterism” is on so many levels, especially when I begin a new project, just before it all falls into place and feels right and I hit”the zone.” It never occurred to me that so many others go through the same thing and there is an actual psychological term for it. Now it makes so much more sense. I’ve always been afraid to voice it out loud worried other people would doubt my abilities too.

    #4 “Don’t think outside the box; think like there is no box.” LOVE this!

    #7 Thank you for answering my question. Not giving up, just putting it on the backburner to focus on other things.

    #9 “Love is risky. Love is unsafe. Love isn’t for the faint of heart. Love takes courage… Love means giving life the opportunity to break your heart, but knowing that there are far better things ahead than anything you’ve left behind.” I remember love like this. It’s a good memory and I needed the reminder. I’m putting this one on my resolution list too. I’ve been too afraid and cautious for far too long now.

    This is a great list. Thank you.

    Have a happy New Year!

    Melissa

  • This was exactly what I needed today. Many thanks for your ongoing insistence that we live more fully… I am grateful for you, for life.

  • THANK YOU!! After hosting a miserable Christmas for my extended family under the pressure of others, this was truly what I needed to feel better and go on with my life the way I truly need to. Here’s to a grand 2014!

  • I really needed to read this. We just moved and uprooted our family, and it can be very unnerving, can create fear, regret, and sadness. This post helps center me. Thank you for the wonderful thoughts.

  • Hi Marc,

    Great Post. Terrific list. It is too often I forget some of these. I’m on a personal mission to evolve my consciousness and your blog really helps me see things in a unique way.

    I’ve learned through some recent work that 100% of my feelings come from my thoughts in the moment. So my understanding of #10 could be: “Stop believing that your feelings come from somewhere other your own thoughts.”

    If I could suggest an item to be added to this list it would come from a summary of the work of Dr. Richard Davidson at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. He has studied the brains of mediating Buddhists monks and he has medical proof that qualities like happiness and well being are skills that can be improved.

    My number 11 would be: Stop letting the world distract you into believing you can’t make a difference in your own life.

    By adding a simple discipline of compassionate thinking to your daily life, your whole world will change.

    Would a spending a few minutes a day of holding a simple thought be worth feeling happy and contented the rest of your life? I think so.

    I’m hoping it might be easier than willfully trying to keep my commitment to running on the treadmill to lose weight. Because losing that stubborn extra 20 pounds is already hard and it’s not even the New Year yet!

    Warm Regards,

    Joseph

  • I love your posts…

    Thank you from Sweden….

  • Brilliant article. We can be our own greatest enemy or our greatest friend. Treat yourself how you deserve to be treated - with respect, kindness and love :-)

  • Carolina in Ajijic
    December 30th, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Your writing is so inspiring and right on the mark! There is no other site for inspirational, motivational, purely helpful writing, that I know of, that tells me exactly what I need to hear, over and over. Thanks and Happy New Year….

  • I come to this website when I’m feeling down and need a little encouragement. I find myself holding on to the notion that I need others in my life to make me happy, instead of figuring out who I am and what makes ME happy. I cling to the thought of feeling as though I need to be married, I need to have children…and slowly, I’m realizing that if I continue down this path I will only end up with someone that I am settling with, which will inevitably end up in heartbreak, and then I will be back at square one. Why not take the time to work and focus on myself and let everything else fall into place.

    So, in other words…thank you for all that you write. It’s inspiring and exactly what I need when I feel not like myself. :)

  • Heavy drinking daily. I need to stop.

  • #3 slapped me across the face. #4 stabbed me. #5 made me catch my breath…..and cry. I’m fed up of feeling unworthy. I have friends who love me, truly love me…..why can’t I love myself?
    Luckily, some of your points are being/have been addressed.
    As always, I consider myself a work in progress. And I thank you for your words of wisdom and comfort.
    xxx

  • Thanks for the great post! I needed this.

  • I am now 43 and I am on my own 99.9% of the time. I need to stop waiting for things to happen. I need to make them happen. So I will force myself to do something tomorrow night (New year’s eve) even though I will be doing it on my own.

    Mark

  • Wow, Marc & Angel I just love your posts. Thank you for your great work inspiring me and I am sure many many more. You have such a profound way of saying many things I have heard or read before, but with a bulls-eye shot that really helps me “get it.”

    I have been truly struggling for the past 10 years of my life, and wonder if any of the personal development work I have done has had the reverse outcome of shrinking rather than growing. I don’t know, just feeling so stuck. Working on improving though.

  • I love this post. By chance, is there an email address I can reach you at so I can explain what I have been through and maybe you can give me some extra advice and pointers…?

  • Marc and Angel,

    How in the world can you read my mind? Almost every time I come to your page it’s because I’m going through something and (almost) every time I fall on a page that addresses that *very* issue?

    I’m glad that you two took the path least traveled - I’m hope to become like you guys someday (sooner rather than later!). Keep it truckin’ and have a great new year!

  • @James,

    You might be an alcoholic and the only way to find out without getting sick is to see a counselor. A local AODA counselor or doctor’s office can def. help you. Heavy drinking is not good for many important reasons. Don’t let it ruin you. You can do better. Hang in there and make a change!

  • Yours is my favourite site for motivation and inspiration. So many of these comments are my own situation and it makes me realise that we really are all one. Don’t stop giving us your wisdom. With heartfelt thanks and best wishes for a peaceful and fulfilled New Year.

    Anita

  • What a great post to read on the last day of the year. Thank you, thank you both so much for helping me get through 2013. Thank you for reminding me that I am a work in progress, and that that is an OK thing to be.

    If I had to add one thing to the list, I would say stop being so practical. So many get trapped in the daily rounds of mundane details that they forget to look around, to have fun, to seize opportunity. They pass on wonderful things, simply because those things are not on the to-do list. Stop shoveling the driveway long enough to make some snow angels. Spend the extra pennies and buy the brand of coffee you like. Spend a few extra minutes in the shower just because it feels good.

    Thanks, Marc and Angel. Have a blessed new year.

  • James. Stopping drinking is as easy as going to your 1st AA meeting. Then the sober hard part starts! So get ready as you will meet yourself at that 1st meeting. A whole roomful of James’s. Contrary to many beliefs, it is not religious. In my group there are different religions and cultures as well as agnostics and atheists. Just go.

  • I want to thank you sincerely for this article.

    Today is my birthday and I have a really tough year behind me, actually the last two years were pretty hard - full of challenges and disappointments. Now I ‘m really trying to let go and love myself and my life the way it is. Your article reminded me once again of what’s important in life and that happiness is a choice and it’s within every soul!

    Wish you both happy NYE and keep doing what you are doing!

  • These are all awesome tips, especially as we enter the new year!

  • You make a great point about stopping the negative people around you from changing your mood. To stay positive, you must have good energy around you.

  • @Nelle Vollmar: I think you’ll enjoy this video: goodlifeproject.com/christina-rasmussen/ - Christina Rasmussen will help you discover how to move out of the ‘waiting room’ of grief and create the life that you want.

    @Mary Lynn: Hope empowers you to strive and grow even when your circumstances are in shambles. The road that is built with hope is more pleasant than the road built in despair, even though they both may seem to lead you to the same place in the short-term. But it is the positive growth you attain on your way to this temporary place that will benefit your final destination.
    It’s all about balance – accepting reality without giving up on what needs to be done to reach your desired destination in the long run.

    @Joseph Robinson: Great additions! Thank you.

    @Kamal Sinno: You can e-mail angel[at]marcandangel.com

    @Sofia: Happy Birthday! What a perfect way to kick off 2014!

    @All: Now that we’ve identified how to stop mistreating ourselves, lets commit to making small positive changes every day in 2014. As always, your words continue to inspire us and reinforce that we have the best community out there. Thank you! Cheers to a great year ahead. =)

  • A great post. Thanks a lot Marc.

  • This has to be the BEST WEBSITE EVER! It is answering all of my questions!

  • I think i can connect to these thoughts very well. I felt being shaken and woken up after reading this. I am in the same situation as someone has commented, before. Past 3 years of my life were like a negative and dark circle and I am trying hard to come out of it.

    Thank you! Very much!

  • Thank you

  • Excellent article- especially as we enter the holidays.

  • Well I`m glad with myself. I had started reading your web posts in 3 years time. Reading this post now make me realise that I have done 7 out of 10 steps so far without realizing it at the age of 24. Due to you I am eagerly anticipating every story in my life just to learn something more and to know life better. Thank you a lot!

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