“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.
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