Self-care & Self-Love: Changing the inner scripts!
I had an epiphany the other day when reflecting on self-care and my own struggles with feeling guilty about caring for myself. A simple, yet profound realization. Self-care becomes a whole lot easier when you view it as simply loving yourself.
That word simply though deserves some unpacking. For too many of us, self-love does not come simply. Our minds are filled with self-doubt, our culture tells us that we need to be x, y, & z to be worthy of love, and our own internal voices repeat that belief on a consistent basis. So much so that loving oneself might be a rarity.
Yet, when we do love ourselves we can really become alive again, become the best versions of ourselves, and then taking care of our self (someone we love) becomes a given.
So how can we change the script? How can we treat our inner selves with the kindness, compassion, empathy and love that we give others? I’m still trying to figure that out. Here are a few steps I’m taking to try and improve myself in this area:
- Letting my perceived mistakes go. One thing I know for sure is that I need to stop taking myself so seriously. I can replay one silly mistake in my mind a million times—that’s what I’ve always done. In fact, there are things I did YEARS ago (small things, like misunderstanding a question so answering it completely wrong) that I still think about. I’m realizing that these ruminations serve nobody and only keep me in a negative spot. So when these mistakes happen I am trying VERY hard to just re-live it in my mind once, forgive myself or maybe laugh about it, and then let it go and get back to the important things. I am able to be fully present again instead of letting my mind continue to beat myself up for past actions. I definitely don’t have this down yet, but hoping with practice and commitment it will become easier with time. (If you have mastered this, please share your secrets!!)
- Stopping negative self-talk. Another step I am taking is to consciously stop the negative inner self-talk. We all have those inner conversations. On a bad day, mine have a tendency to go something like this: “Rachel, that was such a stupid thing to say—Why are you such an idiot?”…or, “OMG I can’t believe you said/did that (or didn’t do that instead)”. All too often my mind is filled with negative self-talk, happening on a pretty consistent basis. And when we repeat these things consistently, our minds start to believe them, which is why negative self-talk is so dangerous. I am trying hard to stop my negative self-scripts by confronting them in my head and destroying them with logic. Answering the negative statement with something like “No, in fact, I am not an idiot—I misunderstood something and what I said was based on that misunderstanding which does not make me stupid. I am intelligent and can move on just fine from this insignificant mistake”. Fight those negative thoughts because they just are NOT true.
- Practicing positive self-talk. Each of us has different scripts we tell ourselves—scripts that can hold us back when they are negative but can lift us up if they are positive. So I’m trying to talk to myself positively in a way more consistent basis, because again what gets repeated becomes reality. Check out this list of Positive Affirmations if you need ideas on what a positive self-script might sound like. I’ve just started with doing this practice so am taking small steps. For me, I’m trying to incorporate positive self-talk into my morning routine. I’ve heard others also put reminders up in places they frequent in the house or in their workspace. Doing this practice reminds me of one of my favorite quotes—see below! Might be time for me to get this printed on something large!
Self-care is about taking care of yourself—in order to really do that and to do it from a place of truly caring for yourself, it must also be from a place of self-love. What scripts do you tell yourself? Are they ones that enhance you or tear you down? Imagine how it would feel if you truly demonstrated unconditional love for yourself? You would take care of you—you would encourage yourself to do the things that make you whole, that give you life, and that help you feel balanced and healthy. What one thing can you do today to positively impact your ability to practice self-love?
Want more self-love reading? Then check out Marianne Williamson’s book, A Return To Love (This is an affiliate link–meaning if you buy from this link I’ll receive a small commission–your cost remains the same regardless).