So many women direct extreme criticism and self-hatred towards themselves. The desire to be perfect can lead to deeply held body image issues; eating disorders and can destroy relationships with loved ones. Here are six simple steps by Brandon Bays, the author of The Journey, to create long lasting results for true self-love and acceptance.
1. Give up the need to be perfect
Do you find yourself constantly criticizing your actions, behaviour and looks?
Do you have a mind that just won't shut up?
Is there a voice, an internal dialogue that is constantly narrating your life, judging, criticizing, and never giving you a break?
Your mind is driven by fear, doubt and judgment and its job is to keep you safe! Yet rather than befriending our mind, we judge it, fight it and push it away, wishing it would just stop! And so it becomes stronger, as you know ‘that which we resist, persists!’
If you have a strong and persistent mind full of self-judgement then take some time, sit in a quiet place, breathe deeply, close your eyes and invite the mind to come flooding, welcome all thoughts, however random seeming, however harsh.
Really open and allow every thought that ever existed to be here right now. Then notice what happens…
You may also want to thank mind for the wonderful job it has been doing in keeping you safe and protected and let it know it is allowed to rest now. Know that there is nothing to fix and change, you are already perfect the way you are.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others
Stop looking outside yourself for fulfillment. You can't possibly know someone else's internal world and they may be looking at you and thinking the very same thing.
Stop for a moment, take a deep breath in and allow yourself to notice what is around you. What in this moment are you grateful for? Your family, your children, your partner, your health, and the air you are breathing.
Take some time for you and write down all the things you are grateful for in your life, all the people, the experiences, the things you have, the places you've been, the food you've eaten, the small things that you love about yourself.
If you are focusing on what is lacking in your life, you will tend to create that even more. Instead, focus on what is good in your life and see how blessed you already are. Gratitude gives even more to those with grateful hearts.
Make a list of everything you are grateful for, really drink in your list, it’s unique to you! No one outside of you has experienced these things in this way just as no one outside of you can give you the happiness that you seek - it is already and has always been inside you.
You might like to imagine a campfire where you invite the younger you that you are constantly judging, blaming, criticising or comparing with others. And apologise to that younger you for all the comparisons, all the judgments and receive forgiveness and love from that younger you. And allow the younger you to forgive themselves for not living up to your high standards. Say out loud all the words that you weren’t able to say, that you weren’t allowed to express.
3. Stop accommodating other people
As women we are naturally the caregivers: taking care of our children, our family and we have the amazing gift from nature to bring new life into the world. But in today’s world, a woman’s roles doesn’t end with motherhood. Many women are now the main breadwinners of the family and it’s hard to juggle all the roles women are expected to play and remain true to your natural and joyous feminine nature.
When you feel that you are giving too much, perhaps underneath feeling anger, resentment, frustration, then it’s time to stop and really let go of your need to accommodate other people.
- What does it give me to accommodate others?
- If I couldn’t accommodate the needs of others what could happen?
- How would that make me feel?
- Truthfully have these people even ever asked you to do this for them?
- What story am I telling myself when I have to accommodate others?
- What would I risk feeling if I had to say no?
What if you were to truly allow your anger now, to fully feel it and allow it to burn through, then what remains? What is the truth?
4. Stop caring about what other people think
Be honest, how many times have you looked at someone and thought they’re too…. loud/quiet, confident/shy, fat/thin, rich/poor, clever/dim, successful/ time waster. Even if you didn’t verbalise your thoughts, that energy still went out into the ethers, creating a projection about someone else based on your perception of them. Was any of it really true? Could you say 100% that your thoughts were accurate? Probably not!
Similarly, when people have opinions about you, they are simply that, opinions based on their perception and how they filter information from the world around them. So it is in fact, a bunch of lies, created by the mind through fear and doubt to judge another person.
Ask yourself can anyone else ever really know my internal world, my thoughts, feelings, experiences, everything that makes me, me? The answer quite clearly is no!
Which do you prefer? To accept who you are, all of you, even the parts you wish were different or to listen to the lies and projections from others? The choice is yours; decide now to live fully expressed as you.
5. Choose to consciously honour yourself
It’s a choice to honour yourself. So often we give credit to others, we notice other’s talents, beauty, but we are much harder on ourselves. It’s time to learn how to be gentle with yourself and show some appreciation.
If you love affirmations, go ahead and start saying them out loud to yourself in front of the mirror. If you love dancing, put on your favorite song and really dance like nobody’s watching. If you like singing, sing it out loud on top of your lungs. Do whatever feels loving, nourishing and celebrates you!
Now, take a moment to sit quietly in gratitude for all that you are. Make a list of all the qualities, talents, moments of giving, caring, kindness, beauty, brilliance, creativity that your own self has given you. Let the list overflow.
Then make a fresh page of praise, expressing your gratitude for being yourself. When was the last time you praised yourself or acknowledged your beauty? It’s time to be reckless: lavish yourself in self-love.
Then find a gift, something significant, just for you. It can be a flower, a piece of music, something meaningful that says, ‘I honour you, I cherish you, I’m grateful.’ It’s time to honour your own self. You deserve it.
6. Give up the search for love outside of yourself
Often we are too hard on ourselves, constantly judging and criticising everything about ourselves, making comparisons with others and feeling that there’s something fundamentally wrong with us.
We become envious of other people who seem to have it all, those ‘lucky’ ones who seem to be more blessed and have it all in life.
We feel the need to fix ourselves and take desperate actions to achieve this. We become attached to our loved ones and crave attention from others because we feel empty without it.
The more love we crave from others, the more we push them away.
And even if we receive the love we crave for, it’s never enough. This empty hole that needs to be filled with all this external love and attention is a bottomless pit.
What if you could feel whole without anyone confirming your lovability?
What if it was enough to love yourself fully and accept all of yourself... Even the parts you’re not proud of...
So many of us try to uncover and fix our “flaws” and “imperfections” instead of accepting them, loving them and realising we are already perfect, already whole. Stop trying to find answers outside of yourself.
Unconditional love is at the core of your being. It's the truth of who you really are. It's your own essence. It exists in the core of your strongest emotions. Know that what you are is brilliant, priceless, fabulous. That same essence shines in all of us. We are all diamonds.
The longest love story you will ever have is the one with yourself, so why not to start right now.
If you’d like to discover on a deep level what has been holding you back from loving yourself fully and flourish as a woman, Internationally Best Selling Author of The Journey, founder of the Journey method and world renowned seminar leader in the field of cellular healing, Brandon Bays is presenting for the very first time a women only Journey Intensive workshop where you can release the pain and suffering that is holding you back from realising your true potential as the magnificent shining diamond and glorious woman that you already are.