The way you feel about yourself has a direct connection with the way you handle life’s stressors. Unfortunately, the truth is stressors aren’t going anywhere. You can’t do anything about the person who cut you off in traffic or the haters in the comments online. However, what you can change is how you choose to respond to those stressors and what you choose to think about yourself in the process.
See, if you can trust your ability to handle life’s ups and downs, you’ll be better equipped to see life’s difficulties as challenges to overcome instead of stress-provoking threats to your identity, worth, stability, or comfort. By viewing yourself as resourceful, capable, resilient, and strong, you’ll cultivate higher self-esteem and, in turn, enjoy better stress management.
In this post, you’ll learn a few ways to boost your self-esteem, practice self-love, and stress less.
Think for a moment about how you speak to yourself, especially when things are challenging. Is that the way you’d talk to someone you love and care about, or are those words you’d never say, let alone think, about a good friend?
Often, we’re our own harshest critic, and this inner critic can be LOUD.
The secret to developing positive self-talk isn’t trying to ignore or stifle your negative self-talk. This makes your inner critic even louder. The trick is to allow your inner critic to have a voice and voice its criticisms.
But don’t just stop there and let your inner critic run the show.
Once you’ve let your inner critic have its say, take a moment to acknowledge and empathize with that critic. Then, take a step back and see your inner critic as a critical observer of the movie of your life. They watch what happens in your movie and always have something negative to say, don’t they?
But another observer is watching your life, too. And that observer is compassionate, kind, and caring—and it looks on to your life and your inner critic with love and empathy. This observer is your true self, and it’s the one that believes in you and knows your true potential. Your true self is like your inner doctor, and it knows exactly what you need to make it past challenges and thrive. It recognizes your inner critic as the defense mechanism you’ve built over the years in an attempt to protect yourself from hurt and pain. It sees the value of your inner critic and knows how to handle it with grace.
Develop positive self-talk by developing a relationship with your inner critic and your true self. Your true self, your inner doctor, knows what you’re capable of and will tell you everything you need to hear.
Sometimes, we can get stuck in the cycle of getting overrun by our stress. Instead of being aware of our feelings, sitting with them, allowing them a voice, then moving forward with acceptance, we push them down, deny them, or sometimes are on complete auto-pilot with our reactions.
Your feelings aren’t going anywhere, good or bad.
With awareness you can give your feeling the outlet they need to be expressed so they can quiet down and step aside for the more accepting, compassionate and loving part of you. By accepting that stressors and stress are a part of life, you actually begin the journey of becoming less stressed. That’s the magic of awareness and acceptance.
So, be aware of your feelings, the way you tend to respond and react, and the way your inner critic and true self communicate inside. Accept it. Love it. Love yourself and all your facets. You are doing your best with what you’ve got, and you’re learning the tools to bring out the truest version of yourself. You’re already winning and you’re always growing. What better reason to shower yourself with some self-love?
Some of your stressors may come in the form of unwanted negative energy from others. Whether this is from family, co-workers, or friends, it’s natural to get exposed to the criticism, negative words, or comments from others who likely also have their own challenges and growth edges.
It’s important not to let the negativity of others get us down and allow us to think differently of ourselves. Sometimes, the fact that this happened in our childhood is what made our inner critic so loud (and know how to push all our buttons) today.
For example, if your mother called you fat growing up, your inner critic may say the same thing any time you want to have a sweet treat or struggle to control your impulsive eating. A father who was tough on you and hard to please may have helped you create an inner critic who tells you you’re never good enough or never doing enough.
To protect yourself from negative energy, imagine a soft light surrounding your body. It can be any color you choose, soft yellow, pale purple, or light blue, whatever. This light is your aura, and you can think of it as an extension of a desired quality or feeling you choose to possess, like calm or peace.
This aura also acts as a shield or barrier. Negative things simply bounce off and cannot penetrate your beautiful aura. Positive things—like compliments and love—slip through easily so they can be readily accepted by your heart and entire being. You choose. You have full control to let go of what doesn’t serve you and fully embrace what does.
Like I mentioned with negative self-talk, if you think of the way you speak to yourself sometimes, I bet you’d never speak that way to a good friend. Which brings me to my final tip, which is to be your own best friend.
Self-love is exactly that: loving yourself with imperfections, quirks, and all.
I believe that the three ingredients that make up love are friendliness, care, and compassion. Be there for yourself as a friend and be nice, supportive, and encouraging. Life can be hard; look at all you’ve gone through and how far you’ve come. You deserve some credit. Secondly, take care of yourself. Care about your growth, your health, your wellbeing. Like a plant, you need nourishing to thrive. Lastly, compassion. Empathize and seek to understand the root cause and sources of your suffering. Oftentimes, and sometimes surprisingly, they’re rooted in childhood traumas and still being expressed in the way you react to stressors today.
You have everything you need to thrive already inside you. You don’t need anyone else or anything else to complete or “fix” you. Really, you just need the tools to find that true self, that inner doctor, that true sage that’s already there and just waiting for a clear path to the limelight. To learn more stress-relieving strategies, click here.