The most important relationship you’ll have is the one you have with yourself. Pause and read that again. How does that statement make you feel?
On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being “absolutely in love with myself,” where would you put yourself right now? Be honest.
I’ll be honest in saying that my relationship with myself has probably been up and down that scale several times. The times it is on the lower side, I have found myself seeking the love I crave from outside sources whether that be from another person, material objects, “likes” on Facebook, and even some destructive behaviors. These sources would fill the void for the time being, but were never sustainable. It wasn’t until I stopped and took the time to nurture the relationship with myself, ALL of myself (both the light and shadow sides) that I found a sense of peace, confidence, and deeper engagement in all aspects of my life.
So how does one do this?
The journey will be different for everyone, but what remains the same for all is that it is a practice, it takes work, and it’s not always easy, but it is worth it. Here are some practices that helped me:
1. Shifting Your Mindset
Our mindset can either make or break us. Being that we are egotistical beings, we always want to prove ourselves right. If we continue to tell ourselves the limiting narratives that we aren’t good enough or are broken or can’t do something, then that is how we will show up to our lives. More often than not, we will be met with struggle, conflict, and failure.
We need to shift our narrative so that we can be our own biggest fan and cheerleader. One practice I use daily comes from Sport Psychology called, Thought Stopping and Positive Replacement.
By replacing the limiting and negative thoughts with positive and supportive words, you can begin to release the limiting narrative and create a strong supportive narrative. Thoughts like “I won’t fit in with these people,” turn into “I have something valuable to bring to the conversation.”
Once you began to control your thoughts, you no longer need the external validation.
2. Reconnecting to Your Creativity
Creativity isn’t just for the artistic elite, but necessary for everyone in order to live a fulfilling and enriched life. Creativity can manifest itself in many forms. We see it clearly through a painting or a dance, but it can also be shown through designing an interactive spreadsheet or figuring out a new way to treat a patient.
A key element to the creative process is the use of “play.” Children are constantly engaging in play, which allows them to get out of their heads and more into their hearts. Through play they connect with others more deeply, interact with their imagination in groundbreaking ways, and live in a state of bliss.
Luckily, there are many ways for us to get back in touch with our inner child and access our creative self! The first step is allowing yourself to take the time. Then, begin to try new things: take a cooking class, go to a paint night, go rock climbing, write a short story, or go on a nature walk. Adult coloring books have become a way to relax and get back to a “child like” activity. All of these activities allow us to step out of our routine, our comfort zone, and just “play.”
Who knows, you may unleash a side of you you didn’t know was even there. Not to mention your ability to think more creatively will grow, which can prove to be usual when you’re “adulting.”
3. Developing a Mindfulness Practice
The word “mindfulness” has become the new buzzword in today’s society. But when asked to define it, many people are at a loss for words. To me, mindfulness is the ability to pause in life and appreciate the now.
There are many different types of mindfulness practices from traditional meditation to journaling exercises to guided visualizations, chanting, and yoga classes. There are many tools out there from apps like Insight Timer and Headspace that can help you to start your own mindfulness practice. Even taking 5 min each day to write down 10 things you are thankful for can help you to live more in the moment.
My mindfulness practice has given me the space to learn more about myself and work through the challenging times; proving that all the strength and answers I need truly lie within.
4. Reaching out for Help
Rediscovering self is not easy and need not be a solitary journey. There is no shame in asking for help. Find a community where you can share your thoughts, challenges, and questions. With technology, there are even groups you can join on Facebook that provide spaces for people to share their stories and receive support and accountability from others all over the world.
I have worked with both a therapist and a Coach. Both experiences were life changing. They helped reveal the power I already possessed and taught me how to clarify the boundaries necessary in preserving energy and maintaining perspective. Their emotional, physical, and spiritual support awakened my gifts and talents that were previously dormant and guided me in identifying my life vision, goals, and purpose.
The relationship with the self is not static. There is no endgame. The joy and happiness in life comes from engaging in the process. By creating space for yourself, aligning with your purpose, and building a strong internal foundation, you will find that you are no longer someone with missing pieces looking for another source to fill the voids. Instead, you are a confident person who shows up for yourself every day. You are a person who can accept all the parts of yourself, even the ones that may be harder to love at times.
And when you need a little extra help along the journey here are 5 quotes to remind you of the importance of Loving Yourself!
About The Author:
Stephanie Simpson is a Coach, Speaker, Artist, and Educator living in NYC. Using her background in dance, yoga, mindfulness/meditation, Reiki, self psychology, and sport psychology, she guides people to achieve their greatest potential by connecting the mind, body, and spirit, working through their fears, and empowering them to overcome obstacles. To keep up with Stephanie follow her on Facebook.
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Say NO to negativity!