Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Toughen up and start liking yourself.

Life is tough. I hear that all of the time. And sometimes it is. But most times it is not life that is so tough, it that we have become so weak.

And why is that?  From what I observe, it is because most of us do not really like ourselves that much. We compare ourselves to others. We take to heart a meaningless, thoughtless comment made by someone in our past. We allow small things we did in the past to haunt us, years later, after everyone else has forgotten.  We beat ourselves up on a daily basis.  We are just never good enough. No wonder everything seems so hard.  We have beaten ourselves down and many have little left to give after that.

And the answer cannot be found in a therapy session or a pill. We need to toughen up. We need to be tough enough to like ourselves regardless of what someone else has or says or does.

Liking ourselves is hard work. It really is.  But I think that not loving ourselves enough is the basis for much of our sadness with life.

When is the last time you really gave yourself a break? When you said, I really like myself. When you forgave yourself for doing something foolish in the past. When you looked in the mirror and didn't only see the flaws, the weight gain, the wrinkles, the bad hair.  When you smiled.

I can remember years ago when my daughter was about 3. I took her for a haircut at the salon I go to on Newbury Street in Boston.  The stylist washed and cut her blonde hair and gave her a very stylish blow-dry. She looked beautiful. My daughter could not take her eyes off of herself. She preened in that mirror.  Everyone complimented her. She beamed.

But she does not do that anymore, even at age 12. It is sad to see her criticize herself, to not preen over herself anymore, to have outgrown some of  that wonder about herself. Perhaps that is part of growing up.  But I think it stinks. And leads to too much misery, self doubt and self loathing.

And that, in my opinion, is a real problem. And we need to stop it. We do. Because it is simply just bullshit.

So start having a love affair with yourself.  Muster up the strength somehow and just do it.

Today, just for one day, do not criticize yourself.  Think of something you really like about yourself. Make a "me" space and put something there you like to see. Something that sings to you, and only to you.

Stop trying to impress others and just impress yourself.  When you walk into a room, do  not worry if they will like you, wonder insead if you will like them, if they are worthy of your time.

If someone says something negative to you, hug yourself.  They are mean and they hurt your feelings and it is okay to sooth yourself or even to get mad----at them. Don't turn your anger onto yourself. Protect yourself with love for yourself.

Make the most of your looks. Quit beating yourself up over the weight you gained or the wrinkles you see. That is just the way our bodies age. They gain weight and they wrinkle. But that doesn't mean you aren't beautiful. That doesn't mean you should feel diminished. That doesn't mean you shouldn't love yourself.

Show your love for yourself in small ways. Take better care of yourself. Make small changes that add up, like walking more or having a glass of water instead of soda. Take a multivitamin every day. Buy yourself some flowers at the grocery store. Get a book about something that you enjoy at the library. And quit telling yourself that you don't have the time. Set a timer for 5 minutes and see what you can do in that time. You will be surprised.  Let go of the all or nothing thinking. You owe yourself just even 5 minutes of something that makes your heart sing. The other stuff can wait.

The truth is this; You, just YOU, are really all you have and all you will ever have. Sure, you can surround yourself with family and friends and pets and co-workers and that is lovely; but in the end it is just you and yourself . So don't waste your life not loving yourself. Be a good companion to yourself.  Keep yourself always in good company wherever you may go.

You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn't worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.
~~~Louise L. Hay

There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.
~~~Anthony Rapp

Never explain--your friends do not need it, and your enemies will not believe you anyway.
~~~Elbert Hubbard


  1. You are so wise and I always enjoying reading what you have to say. Thank you for this.

  2. Another terrific post. You need to save all these and create a book.

  3. Dammit! I just lost my entire page of comments by hitting the wrong thing.

    Why do I do dumb things so much? I hate myself and life. :(