Learning to Love Yourself: How I Did It and How You Can Too
When you truly learn how to love yourself, relationship anxiety loses its power over you.
One of the ways to get rid of the fear of being rejected or abandoned is by learning how to be content with who you are. If your self-worth is based only on loving yourself, then how other people treat you won’t have much of an effect.
With regards to loving yourself, the way to start building a foundation for loving yourself is through accepting yourself just as you are. You didn’t make yourself. You didn’t choose to have blue or brown eyes. You didn’t decide who you parents would be. You had no control over how you were raised.
I like to live my life by the following statement: “I didn’t create myself; therefore, I am just who I am.” Nonetheless, there are things I can do to make myself a better person and many of them I will be sharing with you in this post.
Here are a few ideas that may help you love yourself more:
1. Accept that you were created to be exactly who you are.
2. People are going to project their negative opinions of you. That’s just how life is. You don’t have to own everything that people heap upon you. Just because Bill or Laura thinks you are annoying to interact with doesn’t mean that it’s the truth. Learn how to look at other people’s opinions of you through a truth filter.
If Betty Lou says you are a horrible dad when the truth of the matter is that you are a wonderful father, don’t let the untruthful statement bother you. Just let it go.
3. Loving yourself is an inside job, but when you surround yourself with people who recognize your unique gifts and talents, you will find that their encouragement and praise will help you love yourself. We all like being praised and hate being criticized. Seek interaction with people who will celebrate your gifts and talents.
4. Get involved in support groups that can help you face your obvious personality defects and assist you in improving them. There are 12-step groups available for so many different things these days.
Here are a few that I am aware of:
A) Overeaters Anonymous – For people who struggle with being overweight
B) Alcoholics Anonymous – For people with an alcohol addiction
C) Nar-anon – For friends and family members dealing with drug addicts
D) Al-anon – For friends and family members of alcoholics
E) Coda – For people who have co-dependency issues
F) Gamblers Anonymous – For people with gambling addictions
G) Overspenders Anonymous – Helping people control their spending habits
H) Debtors Anonymous – Helping people get out of debt
5. Consider seeking the counsel of a therapist once per week. This is a wonderful way to sift through all of the negative relationship experiences you have had and overcome them. In the city where I live, there are many places where people are able to participate in counseling for free. You will find that most churches have free services like this.
6. Do you know who you are? It may be beneficial for you to make a list of all of your gifts and talents. Once you have done this, invest some serious time in doing the things that you enjoy doing. If you are in a relationship, don’t invite your partner to be involved in these things. You have to find your space in life and this will help you love yourself more.
7. Let go of the past. This is easier said than done, right? The truth is you have to learn how to live in the present moment. You can’t beat yourself up over your past failures. Every day is a new beginning. I have a good friend of mine who says that, “you have to get up one more time than you fall down.”
8. Take time to make a list of the things that you are grateful for in life. In doing this, you can change your focus from the negative things in your life to the positive things. You can celebrate your accomplishments rather than magnifying your “past” failures.
9. Leave abusive relationships behind. If someone in your life is constantly putting you down, you may be in an abusive relationship. You cannot be a doormat for people to step on. If you are in an abusive relationship, seek help immediately. Verbal, physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual abuse are common throughout the world. The chances are really high that you can find help in your local community. Please, if you are being abused, GET HELP TODAY! Don’t wait another minute. It’s nearly impossible to love yourself if someone is always beating you down.
10. Take care of yourself. Often, people get so busy in life that they don’t take time for themselves. Consider buying some new cloths today. What about taking yourself out to your favorite restaurant? Get your nails done. Just do whatever it takes to pamper yourself a little today.
11. Plan a mini trip away from the day to day grind of your life. Sometimes, we just need to get centered in serenity again. Going away for a night or weekend can do wonders for your disposition.
12. There’s an acronym used in 12-step recovery programs known as HALT.
When you are stressed out today, examine these four areas of your life to help assess what it is you’re feeling. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re angry, exercise or call a friend and talk about your anger. If you’re lonely, call someone or visit with a friend. If you’re tired, get some sleep.
13. Be nice to yourself today. Sometimes I just tell myself, “You’re going through a lot. You have been through a lot. Just relax and know that this too shall pass.” My mom always said that the clouds in life always lift and the sun eventually shines again. You may be going through some tough times, but you will eventually get past your troubles. Consider this: you have to get up one more time than you fall down. Also, you can never give up; you’ve got to keep trying no matter what.
14. Although failing is something that happens to all of us in life, consider sticking with what you know. When faced with challenging tasks, sometimes it’s best to stick with what you know.
For instance, I love building websites. I use a particular program which I am very familiar with to build them. If someone asked me to use a different website builder, I would have to tell them no because I am confident using the one that I know best. Stick with the things that will protect you from failing. You can have better days when you eliminate things that create stress in your life.
Acceptance is the key to loving yourself. Have you ever heard the serenity prayer? It contains the keys to finding peace within.
The Serenity Prayer goes like this: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Here’s the simple truth: “nothing changes, if nothing changes.” If you want to put an end to experiencing relationship anxiety, you have to realize that no matter what happens in life, eventually everything is going to be alright.
Life has a way of taking us up and down. The key to truly winning in life is getting up one more time than you fall down.
The Best Ways to Eliminate Relationship Anxiety
Everyone has to find what works best for them when it comes to coping with negative emotions. In this chapter, I am going to share with you a few of the things that I do in order to keep relationship anxiety out of my life. I like to refer to these simple acts as my daily routines for keeping balanced.
In the Morning
First thing in the morning I have an established routine. Before I even get out of bed, I take plenty of time to pray. That’s just how I roll. God is an ever present helper in my life. Because of this, it’s important for me to make that connection as fast as I can every day. I generally will lie in bed for about two to three minutes thanking God for a new day, asking Him to help me through the day and thanking Him for forgiving me and giving me a brand new start. I also take a little time to tell Him all of the troubling things on my mind. One of my favorite prayers goes like this: “God you have got to help me!”
I also take time in the morning to listen to motivational speakers. Being able to use the internet every day, I have an enormous supply of mentors I can connect with, with the intention of finding encouragement for my day.
I also love to read in the mornings. I have found that using a daily reader can be very uplifting and helps me to get my thoughts centered on the positive things in life rather than the negative things.
It’s also a regular practice for me to write in my journal in the morning. This helps me sift through all of the things that are troubling me. I will talk more about this in a moment.
I have a fairly busy life. As I am praying, reading, writing in a journal or listening to a motivational speaker, I take the time to write down the things that I have to do that surface in my mind.
What’s your morning routine like? Take the time you need to center you mind on positive things.
They say that people who have healthy relationships are good at communicating with each other. There are several ways in which I communicate with my partner.
Face to face, verbal communication: When I talk about the problems I am having in our relationship, I’ve discovered that going for a vigorous walk with my partner seems to work pretty well. At the same time as I am voicing the concerns I have about things happening in our lives together, I am also relieving my frustration through exercising. At the same time that I am letting things out verbally, my body is calming down through exercise and “feel good” endorphins are being released in my brain.
Writing emails: I have discovered that taking the time to communicate in writing is a very powerful way to share things in a non-judgmental way. The beauty of this sort of communication is that you can accurately say what you desire because you can edit your content until it communicates effectively what you really want to say.
Here are a few guidelines I like to follow about communication:
1. Never argue.
2. Always intend on saying what you mean, without saying it mean.
3. Avoid having serious conversations late at night.
4. Try to share what you are feeling while avoiding judging the other person.
Keeping a Journal
This is one of the most effective ways I work on identifying the things that are causing my anxiety. All you have to do is keep track of all of the things that you are dealing with in your relationship that are troubling you. Pay attention to what it is you are feeling − rejection, abandonment, anger, self-pity, etc… As you keep track of daily events, you will begin to see the emergence of the recurring behavior patterns that are causing you to feel anxious. Once you identify what the problems are, you can talk to someone about your problems, get some books to help you overcome the issues or talk with your partner about the things that are troubling you.
Letting everything out on paper is a wonderful way to identify the source of anxiety and can be a wonderful way to get rid of anxiety. During the process, you will have to decide what is important enough to address and what things you should just accept as they are and let them go.
Taking Time for Myself
Anytime I am feeling anxious about something in life, I have to take time out of my busy life to process things. Usually, if I go for a long walk by myself, I am able to identify some of the things that are bothering me. I’ve also found that going to a support group meeting is a form of taking care of myself. Basically, I do anything that I think will make me feel better. I go shopping, go to my favorite restaurant, get a massage or go to the movies.
Connecting with Others
Sharing things with a close friend is one of the best methods I’ve found when it comes to eliminating feelings of anxiety, not just in relationships, but in all areas of life. I mentioned earlier that when you share a problem with a friend, it cuts the magnitude of the problem in half. When I am feeling anxious about something, I always talk to a close friend about the things that are bothering me. When I say close friends, I mean really close friends; that’s to say, the kind you can trust with your secrets. I don’t share my personal life with just anyone.