Do you find yourself caring too much about what others think of you rather than what you think of yourself? We live in a society that judges our success by material things, status or your looks for instance. The problem with this is you start to judge yourself by the same standard which involves what others think of you. It can be stressful trying to keep up with society’s approval or even approval within your own circle of family and friends. The stress comes from putting unnecessary pressure on yourself to be liked, loved or have approval. It is trying to find value in yourself from the outside world rather than seeing your own value through your own eyes.
A big area that we tend to seek approval is through our work. It feels good to reap the benefits from your hard work but that cannot be the only thing that defines you as a person. I recall thinking I am going to work hard to have a great life that I earned so I would do anything to please others to show I was a team player even if it was burning me out. It is important to have a good work ethic, however, if it consumes everything you do by what others think of you then it is time to reevaluate. I had to learn to change my thinking around to doing what was in alignment with my core values to feel good about my efforts. Every time I wanted recognition and didn’t receive it I felt disappointed in myself. I was putting my expectations on others to validate me rather then me knowing I accomplished something great under the set of circumstances I was in. By me being willing to acknowledge the dedication I had to my own work I felt much better about my self worth.
Another area that is easy to get caught up in caring what others think is putting the emphasis on looks or body image. This is something that the media, social net working, commercials, bill boards, magazines, television, internet etc. all influence us even in the most subtle way. The messages tell us that we have to look a certain way in order to have the lifestyle that is being promoted. I have noticed more variety of body types just recently but that was never the case when I was growing up. Skinny equalled pretty. I found no matter how much weight I lost it was never enough. I just didn’t get to a point where I said to myself, “This is it! I am at my ideal weight”. I am done caring.” I always wanted to be better then where I was continuing this faulty thinking! The same thing can happen with needing to be in better shape, more toned, longer hair, micro bladed eye brows or fuller lips, anti aging regimens, bigger boobs or butt or whatever the fad is at that time. Again, all of these things are short lived if you are placing your importance on yourself being good enough if you only look a certain way.
These are just examples of how easy it is to get caught up in what others think of you but where does it come from really? It comes down to self esteem and insecurity deep inside of you. Not one person on this earth can tell me they never cared what others thought of them. This is a very human condition that we do automatically because we all want acceptance. To feel a part of something is a natural instinct that comes from within. There is a feeling of satisfaction or contentment that happens when you feel accepted by others. It could be your parents, your friends, colleagues or community that you desire this feeling from. Where it gets out of balance is when that belonging becomes an obsession to seek outside approval not realizing your own value. The way you can test this is try noticing the next time you don’t get the response you wanted from someone you were hoping to get it from. Are you placing your self worth on how they respond? That right there is a sign to change your thought pattern to be kinder, gentler and more caring towards yourself.
Not everyone is going to agree or like the same things we do. That is ok! We are all made with our own unique talents and abilities. What matters is that you know deep down within your very soul that you are trying your best, under the set of circumstances you have been given, right here right now. Not under the perfect circumstances where you have all the ideals going your way because that is not what is happening. You knowing you did your best or are being who you are meant to be then it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Truthfully, if someone is hypercritical or treating you poorly then that is on them! Not you! They lack emotional intelligence because deep down in their souls they are not happy with themselves so they take it out on someone else. If it is a person who you respect and want approval from realize not to take things personal because we all see things from our own lens. They may be genuinely trying to help you by giving you the truth. Rather than using that for criticism turn it into fuel for yourself to improve upon whatever you can. Our best learning comes from these very types of situations because it forces us to change in some way that we may not have recognized otherwise.
This is your opportunity to start caring more about what you think of you and less about what others think of you!! Ask yourself “am I being the best version of myself that I would want to be?” If you feel you can change something then let your own goal be your barometer for where you want to be in your life rather then comparing yourself to what others think or taking things personal or whatever it is you do that weighs you down when you think of what others think of you! Truthfully, “they” are off living their own life while you are living yours being a slave to “them”. Being held hostage in your own mind by “them” puts you in the victim role. You have worked too hard to allow someone to just steal your power away. It is time to take your power back by being the leading character in your own life. You deserve to feel good about yourself and you are the only one who needs to notice when you don’t. You will have more joy and happiness in your life by being being your own cheerleader! Shoulders back, chin up and march proudly on your true path as you honor the person you are becoming regardless of anybodies opinions. You have a purpose and calling beyond your wildest dreams! Keep on going!
Something to think about:
Do I put too much emphasis on what others think of me?
My self worth comes from what I think of me, not what others think of me. I do my best. I have value regardless of what any person’s opinion is of me. I do not need to take things personal. I need to be kind, gentle and supporting of myself. I know that I am highly capable, talented and exactly where I am supposed to be to learn what I am to learn. Whenever I am true to myself it serves everyone around me. I honor my needs. I am a work in progress. I stand liberated owning who I am under these circumstances knowing I am enough. My thoughts are what count because I spend the most time with me. I love the person I am. I am deserving. Everything always works out to the greatest and highest good for me and others. I surrender others to the universe and am free to live my life in the healthiest and best conditions for me. I no longer hold myself as a prisoner to others opinions. I use this energy as fuel to improve anyway I can that feels right for me. I intuitively know what feels good for myself. I trust myself.
Each person has their own threshold for stress. One person may tolerate and endure so much more then another. What we all have in common is a breaking point! To understand what that looks like for you will help you decrease the chances of that happening. Nobody wants to appear like they cannot handle their life. However, if you do not take the time to understand your limits you will continually be in a vicious cycle of frustration or temporary fixes with no reward for your efforts.Read More
Our intuition is one of the most powerful ways we can know what is right or wrong for us! The key is to listen to what it is telling you to do. For me, in the past I tended to give the benefit of the doubt to people longer then I should which means I am dismissing my own gut reaction. Our bodies warn us when something is not right usually by a feeling, thought or reaction in the body such as faster heartbeat, gut reaction (literally you feel it in your stomach) or some type of sign to get your attention. Our job is to pay attention to the warning signs so we can respond appropriately.
Your body is a very complex system but can also be your best friend in understanding what is really going on with you. We tend to hold stress in our bodies or even traumatic memories which have been stored up as pain memory. Your body has an automatic survival system that makes you flight or fight in dangerous situations. There is also one more to mention which is freeze! This can paralyze you to the point of not knowing what to do. It is imperative to calm the central nervous system down so you can really pay attention to what is causing your body to react so strongly.
Have you ever had something not feel right but you couldn’t put your finger on it? Have you ever just went ahead with it even though you knew something didn’t feel right only to learn you should have listened to yourself? Right there, is the exact moment to pay attention! How did your body respond? What thoughts were you having? This will be a great way to learn for the next time you are in this situation to avoid going down that same road again.
It’s easy to dismiss these reactions because we want to believe the best in people or not have conflict but in the end we are the ones who suffer. I liken these warning signs as “red flags” that say to us stop! At that point, we need to reevaluate what is going on before we convince ourselves to ignore what we are feeling. Perhaps, it wasn’t as big of a deal the first time you felt it but then it happens again creating this same reaction within you. Maybe you say something to the person letting them know you didn’t like certain behavior or felt uncomfortable but then it happens again! What do you do? Sometimes people go numb to their own feelings just to keep the peace in the relationship but that only hurts you. It is time to pay attention because by not listening to yourself you are only prolonging the inevitable.
In order to get clarity on what you are feeling you need to remove yourself from the situation. Take some time to journal what you are feeling then read it back to yourself. This will give you better insight about the what is going on. Notice what you are feeling when you are in the situation. Ask yourself is this something that I can change? Since we cannot change people it is important to recognize what you can do. If it is not something you can change with setting boundaries then it may be time to listen to those red flags. Another way to gain clarity is to pray and meditate on it. Get quiet within yourself to see what comes up for you when you let go of the situation. Take time to connect with your higher self that knows the truth. This may help gain better perspective on next steps. Discussing what you are feeling with a close friend may also help you hear what you are saying enough to understand the warning signs.
The most important way to be true to ourselves is to honor our feelings. This means acknowledging what we feel when our gut reaction is trying to get our attention out of respect for ourselves. We listen to ourselves by not dismissing our true feelings. Learning to accept ourselves as we are with what we feel is a work in progress. Sometimes we may look back wishing we would have listened to ourselves sooner. Trust there was a lesson to be learned in that situation no matter how long it took. You are exactly where you are supposed to be. Next time, you feel the warning signs you will be able to address it quicker then before because you have grown from that experience. Learn to be kind to yourself when you pay attention to those red flags.
Giving yourself permission to be where you are in your journey helps to let go of judgement. Some lessons just take longer to learn or we find repetition will get our attention. Learning to accept your story no matter how long the lesson took is being authentic. It takes courage to do this. Courage is not the absence of fear but rather doing something in spite of the fear. You have to be brave enough to love and honor yourself to live your best life. If you don’t, it comes back on you as shame, remorse and guilt preventing you from a full quality of life. Make it a point to listen and become aware of those red flags. More importantly, heed the warnings. You deserve the best! You are destined for greatness in this world. Self love will always bring you to a whole, healthier, happier you. Therefore, listen to your God given intuition it won’t steer you wrong. You were designed with a built in warning system for your benefit. Use it!
Something to think about:
Do I listen to myself when I feel something doesn’t quite feel right to me?
It is ok to listen to myself when I feel something is off with a person or situation. I can take time to reflect on how I need to handle it. I will pay attention to the warning signs in my body. I will honor what is important to me. I will be gentle with myself as I go through this process. I can trust by getting quite that my higher self will guide me. I set appropriate boundaries that support what feels right to me. I am a work in progress. I trust this situation is getting my attention for a reason. I will be gentle with myself as I am going through it. I trust everything works out for my highest good.
We all have an opportunity to influence the people within our circle positively or negatively. In our day to day lives this may not even be a thought because you are just busy doing your daily routine as usual. However, if we step out of our everyday life to give this some thought we will realize just how much what we do and say matters! Our own words and reactions can make those around us feel good or bad just by how we behave.
Our actions have a ripple effect within our families, friends, social circles, work environment, community and so on. It all starts with your attitude. Are you conscious of how you are coming across to others? Are you being kind? Are you being impatient? Are you being helpful or selfish? Taking time to think about this is very important because it is not just the people around you that are affected but more importantly YOU! How so? Well it takes energy to be angry or negative and makes you feel frustrated. It naturally feels better when you are in a positive state of mind. You can give the benefit of the doubt to others because you do not get caught up in bitter feelings. Therefore, you actually feel better by making the decision to be a better person.
When we are being positive in our attitudes it reflects in our actions. People tend to gravitate towards good energy rather than someone who is impatient, frustrated or negative. Negativity pulls people down around you and just makes YOU feel bad. It creates a lower energy that is toxic to those you influence. It creates shaming feelings for all involved lowering self esteem, creating stress, anxiety, depression, sadness and overall frustration.
Positivity is infectious! It makes those around you feel uplifted as well as yourself. It creates an energy force that expands around you. This is the place where creativity comes from. When we are being creative we are feeling happy and enjoying ourselves. Life tends to feel better in this place. You feel lighter, happier with more contentment regardless of the circumstances you are going through. It reflects in your overall being mind, body and spirit.
Making a “choice” to be mindful of your own attitude and actions will help you have a more positive outcome in your life. Take a time out to ask yourself, “how do I want to feel?” or “how do I want others in my life to feel?” Recognizing this will help guide you to be more conscious of how you feel and influence those around you. We can’t be positive all the time because we are human. However, by becoming aware of how we react to situations we can change the trajectory moving forward by not continuing to stay in a negative state of mind. We can enjoy our lives more when we feel better. We also have an opportunity to be a blessing to those in our own inner circle which is more gratifying for all.
Something to think about:
How do I want others to feel after being in my company?
Today I will be more mindful of my words and actions as I go through my day. If I fall short of who I want to be, I will begin again, with a more positive attitude. My intention is to influence others in a good way. By me doing so I will feel good too. I have an opportunity to be a blessing to those around me.
Have you ever listened to what you say to yourself throughout the day? Most people don’t even realize there is a dialogue happening as they go about their busy life. The truth is the voice inside of your head tends to repeat and reinforce the messages you were taught growing up.
The role models we had in our life whether they be parents, family members, teachers, coaches, neighbors etc. helped shape the person we are today. The messages we tend to tell ourselves as adults come from the messages we learned from those closest to us as a child.
Maybe you were told to only get “straight A’s” or “hard work is how you get anywhere” which seems harmless unless you start to expect only perfection from yourself. This is an exhausting way to live. Your inner dialogue barrages you with messages that enforce perfection constantly. In turn, you believe you will not be happy unless things are perfect. This example of perfectionism is an endless cycle of constantly striving for the unattainable goal leaving you to feel unworthy unless you hit it! You are the only one who can change this pattern of thinking.
Some people growing up may have been given mixed messages where the words do not match the actions. They may have been told “I love you” but then emotionally, physically or sexually abused which sends the wrong messages. Some may never have had affection in their families maybe they got the message it was weak. Some folks may be from the best of childhoods and some from the worst but the messages they were given growing up have shaped who they are and how they respond to life. Those messages tend to be the same ones they tell themselves on a daily basis.
For example, if you make a mistake what is the first thing you tell yourself? It usually is so hard for us to accept this from ourselves. We tend to beat ourselves up wishing things were different rather then giving ourselves self acceptance. It is not natural to be kind to our self when we mess up. Pay attention next time this happens to see what comes up for you. When you are not accepting yourself for exactly who you are with the good, the bad and ugly you start to feel “less then” or “not good enough”. When this happens we feel we can’t measure up which demeans our value and self esteem. We usually are telling ourselves a negative message that damages our self worth rather then embracing the lessons we learn as part of our journey.
It is only by accepting ourselves fully as we are, in this moment, under these circumstances, that we can feel good about ourselves! This means your self talk needs to reflect positive encouraging messages! Yes – you need to tell yourself these positive messages regularly. Contrary to what we often believe, self acceptance doesn’t come automatically once we have met our goals, become a success or when things are different. It starts with accepting who we are right now as we are right now! Being kind and forgiving of ourselves regardless of our circumstances. Giving ourselves love and understanding. Catching negative messages and replacing them with better messages that build us up rather then tear us down.
It takes practice and commitment to change the way you treat yourself. Start with listening to what you tell yourself and ask yourself is this really true for me? Learn to become your own best friend. What are the qualities you would want in a friend? Probably, things like patience, trust, loving, loyalty, compassion, not being judged, being able to be yourself with them, good sense of humor, encouraging, positive etc. Now try to exhibit those qualities with yourself! Try being less judgmental of yourself and more accepting. Try listening to yourself and offering compassion. Try being less serious all the time and laughing at yourself. You are human. Trust you are learning valuable lessons.
You would never tell your friend “what’s wrong with you?’, “your an idiot”, “why did you do that?”, “your not smart enough”, “your so stupid”, “your are too fat, too thin, too anything” etc. You would be compassionate towards them offering support where you could. Do the same for you! You would not be bombarding your friend with all of these negative messages at one time. Why do it to yourself? Listening to yourself will give you insight into why you feel the way you do about yourself.
The gift of self acceptance is simple you feel better about yourself. You can stop doing battle with yourself. When you heal the relationship with yourself it changes everything! You become more effective in the world. You become less reactive and more resilient. Your health improves. You are capable of more meaningful relationships. You impact those around you with a ripple affect that continues a positive energy flowing into the world. You are stronger. People are attracted to those who believe in themselves. Acceptance of yourself leads you to a higher self esteem and happier life! The key is start right now being accepting of exactly who you are, as you are, in this moment.
Something to think about:
Do I treat myself with the same respect that I treat others?
Starting now I will think about what I tell myself so I can change self sabotaging messages before they take over. I am valuable exactly as I am in this moment right here right now. I am proud of myself for being aware enough to change this. Each time I do I have an opportunity to feel better about myself. I am whole, happy and complete just as I am in this moment. I have value and purpose to offer the world that only I can do being me. I love and accept myself just as I am now. I will continue to tell myself kind encouraging messages to lift my spirits as I would a good friend.