Now-a days, buzzwords like self-love and self-care are thrown around a lot. But what do these phrases really mean? For me, at their core, they refer to a fundamental truth that many of us often forget. In order to share your authentic self with the world, you have to first learn to love yourself. It feels like an easy concept to understand, right? Yet it can be really challenging to actually implement it in our daily lives.
Why is self-love so vital, and how can you cultivate it?
The sad truth is that many of us struggle with imposter syndrome. We feel like we’re not good enough, or we aren’t qualified enough to be doing what we’re doing. And, it doesn’t matter how good we are at doing it.
That feeling can often cause us to act in ways that aren’t authentic to who we are . . . to our true self. I know when I’ve felt that way it was really tempting to put on an act and just pretend like I had it altogether instead of risking the vulnerability of simply being me. Because doing that, meant admitting I had shortcomings. . . that I wasn’t perfect. I couldn’t do that because I didn’t love me enough to accept me as I am.
The thing is, no ones perfect! And that inauthenticity just keeps us from truly connecting with others and reaching our goals. Because even if it’s at a subconscious level, people can feel when you’re being fake. They might not be able to put their finger on the why. . . they just know they don’t quite trust you.
Changing your self-talk is crucial to developing self-love
Self-talk refers to the internal dialogue that you’re constantly having with yourself. And it’s crucial to loving yourself better because it shapes your mindset and ultimately the kind of life you get to live. The problem is that you have these conversations with yourself so often that you may be totally unaware of them. So it’s really important to take the time to actively tune in and listen to one you’re saying to yourself on a regular basis. Hearing what you’re saying to you, about you . . . is the first step to change. . . to creating a pathway to loving yourself better.
And, I can’t emphasis enough how important it is to love yourself in order to be able to share yourself with others. It’s not enough to simply like yourself; you must truly love yourself to be able to fully embrace and share who you are. Because it’s really difficult to be authentic and share yourself with others when you don’t believe you’re enough. . . when you don’t even like who you are.
Examining the fear factor
One of the main reasons that kept me from sharing my authentic self was fear of rejection. And, I bet that’s a big factor for you too. It’s pretty scary to put yourself out there when you’re worried about being rejected. In fact, it’s really easy to let that fear get so out of control that you never even try. You just anticipate the rejection so clearly that you reject yourself so no one else gets the chance.
There’s a show I watch called “Ted Lasso” and one of the characters in the show, a fella named Nate is so unsure of himself he can’t get up the courage to ask this girl he really likes out on a date. When his sister asks why, he shares a tale that is so outlandish it’s hysterical . . . except he really believes it. Which makes it sad. And yet he’s not alone. So many of us have fears that are totally unrealistically compared to anything that might really happen.
Yet it feels real doesn’t it?
But what if you challenged your assumptions and fears?
Why don’t you just challenge the fear instead of giving into it? One of the reasons we generally don’t, goes right back to our daily self-talk. When we’re scared of something and imagine terrifying scenarios, our minds make it feel real even though it hasn’t happened yet. The key to overcoming this fear is to change our self-talk and become someone we genuinely love and feel good about. Because negative self-talk blocks you from achieving your goals and can lead to feelings of invisibility. It can make you afraid to put yourself out there.
You see self-talk is basically an abbreviated version of a story you tell yourself. It’s like keywords for your beliefs about yourself and your life experiences. And you tell yourself this story every single day. It becomes a part of who you are and you act accordingly.
So when you say things like “I don’t want to work my brain that hard,” or “I can’t do this” you believe them. Sometimes you’ll even use terms like “being realistic” to justify limiting yourself. But what if instead, you challenged your beliefs and examined why you think certain things are unrealistic or too difficult?
We’re always going to have moments of self-doubt, but it’s essential to identify when those conversations turn negative and switch them to positive. Phrases like “this is too hard for me” need to be replaced with “I can learn to do hard things. I have the capability to improve, be patient, take time, and work through it and I can make it happen.” Because when we don’t like who we are, it’s hard to put our best foot forward and be visible.
Love yourself to share your authentic self
I’ve spoken in the past about how much I struggled with invisibility and anticipating rejection in everything. Even just having a simple conversations with others. I always assumed people wouldn’t want to talk to me or accept me for who I was. However, I learned to change my mindset. I developed a set of 1o principles that let me approach conversations and life in general in a more positive approach. And it started with learning how to love me better. I cultivated an attitude of self-love and acceptance. And that has allowed me to share my authentic self and to begin to make the impact in the world, I know I was meant to.
The good news is, you can learn to cultivate self-love too. There are numerous ways to practice self-care and prioritize yourself. Even simple acts like taking time for yourself and your hobbies or seeking professional help from a good coach are great first steps. It’s important to prioritize what works for you. Take your time and find
activities that rejuvenate you mentally and physically.
You can start small. Try doing things like tracking your self-talk and converting it to a more positive conversation. Then add things like meditation, breathing techniques, journaling, or affirmations.
Love yourself for life
Loving yourself is not a one-time event. It’s a lifelong process of self-awareness and self-acceptance. The great part is that by focusing on self-love, you not only improve your relationship with yourself, but also with those around you. And, you can start to share your authentic self with the people that matter. You’ll attract the people you most want to serve and be around.
Taking the time to identify negative conversations, turn them into positive ones, and ultimately become someone you love and believe in, is essential in living a fulfilled, authentic life. So, start today by prioritizing your mental and physical wellbeing, practicing self-care, and changing your self-talk to one of self-love and self-acceptance.
If you’re ready to learn how to love yourself better, Practicing the Ten Principles, based on my book of the same name is a great way to get started.