How much do you love yourself? Think about it. You may not have asked yourself that question or even thought about it. Nothing happens. It’s more normal than you imagine. We have a bad habit of forgetting about us. It is as if we did not exist, as if we were invisible to our eyes, as if taking care of ourselves was off our list of priorities. Moreover, I dare to say that self-love does not occupy a place in it.
How do you treat yourself? Have you ever stopped to reflect on it? The way we talk to each other, the conception we have about who we are and, ultimately, how we value ourselves influences how we feel. The problem is that we hardly think about it.
We tend to live on tiptoe, above, without going too deeply into how it affects us what happens around us. It is as if we did not give importance to our personal well-being. The point is that, with the passage of time, the weight of day to day increases and, if we neglect, we can be wrapped in a gray haze that, little by little, torments us.
Living disconnected from within has its consequences, although we are not aware of it. We can observe it in the protagonist of the short that appears at the end of the article. Now, what can we do to free ourselves from the web of automatism? How can we prevent the negative labels and messages we have received from growing in our interior? Let’s deepen.
The weight of the messages received
From small, we grow up receiving all kinds of messages about who we are, what we should feel and how to act. Parents, relatives, teachers, friends, life partners … everyone has something to say to us, most of the time with good intentions – even if it is not always favorable or appropriate for us.
From “that’s impossible, put your feet on the ground” or “you’re losing time, focus on what’s important” to “you will not get it” or simply, “you’re too dreamer”. The point is that all the messages we receive affect us in one way or another, especially during our childhood. In fact, some of them shape our identity, and others function as mandates to govern us, and when we do not, we feel guilty.
In some cases, that learned guilt originates the emotional wound of rejection. A very deep and painful footprint that translates into a deep sense of self-depreciation, which has as a consequence the undervaluation of oneself and a void in self-love. Thus, growing up with this wound shapes a very painful reality.
“It took me a long time to learn not to judge myself through the eyes of another.”
The judgment of the internal critic
Feeling rejected by others and, ultimately, by oneself generates a mental trap originated by the internal critic. That voice that comes from within us and that is dedicated to judging how we think, feel and act. For this, it uses any strategy: comparisons, destructive criticisms or various disqualifications.
“I should not have said it”, “I should have acted differently”, “I do not get anything right” or “I am a disaster” are just some examples of dialogues carried out by our internal critic. The problem is that we do not question it, quite the opposite. We have this type of messages so integrated that we give them the value of absolute truth and in fact, everything we do confirms it. Because if we do not consider ourselves valid for a job, to lead a team or to write, we probably will not even try or we will boycott to banish the minimum hope we have in our minds.
The influence of social networks
One of the problems that greatly increase comparisons and negative self-criticism at present are social networks, since they create alternative realities that can trap us if we are not attentive. Being hours and hours submerged in that scenario of appearances and simulated feelings can make us believe that this is the only thing that exists; The truth is that it is only a showcase, in which each person can control the image he wants to give to others.
According to psychotherapist Sherrie Campbell, social networks can create a false illusion of belonging and connection with others, which encourages us to give more weight to that imaginary online world.
The point is that if we despise and reject, that is, if we have a negative image of ourselves, social networks will increase this perception. In fact, it is the tests -false- that will confirm how boring our lives are, how little fun we are and how lonely we are.
It is not easy to follow the rhythm of life that other people show on social networks. A study by the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (USA), states that consulting too often social networks generates envy and the distorted belief that others have a much more original, happy and interesting life.
As we see, we are experts in mistreating ourselves, but above all in comparing our lives with those of others, without realizing that it is absurd. Why waste time comparing if the conditions, characteristics, perspectives and experiences of people are different from each other?
The protagonist of the short film Overcomer is an example of how social networks can be a double-edged sword; Above all, if there are wounds from the past that have not been healed, since the person who bears the weight of a wound usually filters reality through it. Your mind often operates from cognitive distortions (erroneous forms of processing information or misinterpretations), such as selective abstraction, personalization, labeling or emotional reasoning and social networks encourage this type of mechanism.
“In the past, you were what you had, now you are what you share.”
Self-love: the reunion with oneself
What to do to stop the internal critic? How to rebuild our broken parts? Is it possible to stop the mental labyrinth that traps us in self-deprecation? It seems that the protagonist of our short, finally, discovers the secret ingredient: self-love.
“You’re as amazing as you let yourself be.”
However, it is not easy to reconcile with oneself, much less when most of the time the deal has been negative. They are many years training in the criticism, the demand, the disqualification so that, suddenly, almost by magic we begin to love each other. It takes many doses of patience, effort, acceptance and, of course, commitment to oneself.
Often, embracing our broken parts involves, at first, suffering, but also a lot of courage and the ability to forgive and forgive. Being able to give us love when it is what we most need – and we did not know it – requires a lot of strength and a lot of effort. For this reason, there are a number of aspects that we must take into account:
- Consider us valuable. We are much more than our mistakes and failures, much more than our results. We are limited edition and nobody can steal it from us. Maybe we may have grown up without realizing it and that even in these moments it’s hard for us to believe it, but it’s never too late to look in the mirror and begin to see all the potential we have.
- Practice self-pity. Addressing and accepting our mistakes and limitations with respect is essential to move forward. Knowing that confusing us is an opportunity to learn and that judging ourselves is a habit that does not help us change our perspective. In fact, according to an article in the journal Personality and Social Psychology, self-pity facilitates personal fulfillment.
- Forgive. Forgiveness is a liberating act of the bonds of the past. Forgiving is an opportunity to heal our resentment, the one that at some point caused so much damage. Now, not only must we forgive others, but also ourselves for the treatment we have given ourselves.
- Live with intention. Being aware of the present moment is a way of letting go of the past and preventing the future from overwhelming us with your worries. Living on a day-to-day basis, savoring what happens at every moment, committed to taking care of ourselves and serving ourselves is a protection mechanism.
- Disconnect to connect. Despite being in the era of digital connection, it is advisable to disconnect from this intangible world to connect with the one that is revealed before our eyes and, of course, with the people around us. In this way, we will prevent the theater of appearances from dominating our lives.
“Love is a miraculous cure. Loving ourselves makes miracles in our lives.”
-Louise L. Hay-
As we can see, self-love is built little by little, delicately woven and watered every day. It is that light that we all carry inside, but that, at times, it is so difficult for us to charge it with intensity. Wanting us is the support of our well-being, the embrace that shelters us and the balm that heals our wounds.
Finally, we leave you with this wonderful short.