The most important and longest relationship we have in our lives is the one we have with ourselves. The relationship you have with yourself can change throughout your life.
I have struggled with self-doubt and self-criticism throughout my life. I remember being a teenager and constantly experiencing the feeling of inadequacy. In my final year of high school, I felt very lost and uncertain about my future.In the last few months before graduation, I became increasingly more anxious and had an overwhelming fear of failure. I didn’t feel like I had any skills which would help me succeed. I kept comparing myself to those around me who knew exactly what their life plan was. In comparison, I felt incompetent and useless. Since then, I have worked on developing self-confidence and loving the person I have become. Below I share three strategies I use to strengthen my relationship with myself:
Be your own friend
I am my own worst critic. It is difficult for me to list my own strengths but I can easily do that for any one of my friends. I wouldn’t want any of my friends to talk about themselves the way I do, at times. So I have to reframe the situation for myself. Reframing means changing your perception of the situation to be positive. For example, I reframe it by asking myself what I would say to a friend if she was having those negative thoughts about herself. I would be supportive and that means, I should be like that for me. As a result, I’ve learned that I needed to be kind to myself and to treat myself as I would treat my friends.
Eliminate negative self-talk
I continue to have to work on eliminating the negative thoughts I have about myself. When I start engaging in negative self-talk, I make a conscious effort to ask myself why I’m thinking like that. There are times where I have to consciously challenge that inner voice and to overpower it. The length of time it takes me to do this varies. Sometimes I’ll do that instinctively. Other times, it can take me longer to change the conversation to become more positive but the key is that as long as I’m trying, I know I can improve my self-talk.
Be with yourself
I can be easily influenced by others’ opinions. Sometimes, I find it necessary to be alone to be able to listen to my inner voice. I think there is significant value in spending time by yourself to learn to appreciate who you are. You can’t lose by learning and discovering more about who you are. I believe that we have to understand why we feel the way we do about ourselves in order to grow and change. It is important to know yourself before you can truly love yourself, flaws and all.