Updated: Dec 2, 2021
Anything that starts with ‘self’ can be summed up as per Byron Katie’s saying: ‘it’s not your job to like me, it’s mine ‘. Don’t you agree? I find this saying very true because it is a key to building your-SELF. And let’s face it until you build the foundation, it’s very hard to build the rest.
Self-compassion, self-esteem, self-efficacy, self-care, self-love. They all have the same component.
Yes, you’re right. The SELF.
To be honest with you, I used to have big troubles with all of them. I might have had some self-compassion and self-efficacy, but I might have lacked self-care and self-love.
I’m doing much better now. How are you doing? How about we examine where you are with your-SELF?
Finding the SELF
When I was growing up, I often said that I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew what I didn’t want. I thought that was good enough because at least I was clear on something. But you see, the more you think about what you don’t want, the more you get it. You program yourself to look for the things you don’t want in life, rather than focusing on the things you want. It’s very easy to get lost among the thick forest of unwanted things and you lose sight of the path you’re on.
The first time I discovered the concept of RAS and focusing all your attention on the things you want, I was skeptical. I didn’t see how this was going to help me to get unstuck in my life, to beat depression, to find passion in life, to improve my relationships, to go for a walk. But because I’ve tried so many other things, and couldn’t nail it, I decided to give it a go. After many failed attempts at staying with it, it finally sunk in that unless I develop a better understanding of my-SELF, I will never be able to wish good things for myself.
Have you looked around lately on all the self-help books, programs, courses out there? What do you think about them? Do you think that some of them are great tools? Maybe you even bought some but you’re still not sure you can find the time to complete them? Or maybe you’ve used them, said they were good, and went back to what you were doing before?
Because you see, they were just tools.
Why it is so hard to take care of yourself?
If I was to ask why you didn’t take care of yourself today, what would you say? Would your answer be something like: you didn’t have time, your work, your kids, your commitments? Let me see if I understand you: you are saying you ate junk food today, you didn’t exercise, you weren't present with your kids because you didn’t have time, because of your work, your kids, and other commitments?
No. That’s not it. Is it?
You just gave me a list of excuses why you are not putting yourself first, not why you didn’t take care of yourself. Aren’t you tired of saying the same things over and over? How you don’t have the time or energy to prioritise yourself. Because that’s what you’re doing, isn’t it? You’re putting everyone and everything before you because you don’t think you’re important enough.
Dr. Barbara DeAngelis teaches a beautiful technique of swapping ‘can’t’ for ‘don’t’. Why can’t you think you’re important enough? Or why don’t you think you’re important enough?
When I started thinking why I don’t think I’m important enough, it didn’t make sense to me. Why wouldn’t I think I’m not worth investing in myself, nourishing myself, or keeping my body flexible so it will carry me throughout the day?
It may seem very hard to admit that you are important on the big scale of things. But the truth is, that you are. Aren’t you worth living with passion? Aren’t you worth to be the priority number one on any given day? Aren’t you worth living a healthy and fulfilling life?
I know how you feel.
It’s uneasy, maybe even awkward to feel that way. I wasn’t brought up that way either. My parents had too many challenges facing them every day to take the time to think they were important. They couldn’t teach me, what they didn’t learn themselves. But once you start discovering yourself, you realise that you are a separate entity. And no matter where you are in life, you can learn to make yourself feel important right this moment.
So, how do you build your-SELF?
First of all, don’t negotiate with yourself about yourself. You are who you are. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We all are. But there cannot be beauty without ugliness. And as with anything in nature, there has to be balanced. You are not going to be perfect (Sorry!), but you can start moving the needle to be on your side of the scale.
So, start gardening. Pull out all the weeds which take up all the nutrients and light, and plant more and more plants which give you oxygen, nourish you, and support you in your life.
Give your-SELF some credit
Our brain is designed to look for the negatives, the danger because it used to be a very important survival skill. Without it, we wouldn’t survive as a species. You still use this skill today, but instead of helping you to enhance your life, it stops you from living your life.
So, give yourself some credit.
Think about a challenging situation you overcame. What skills did you use? What resources have you tapped into? How did you overcome it? I’m sure you can come up with something. You see? You can do it! So, give yourself pat on the back. Focus on that positive and build on it. You are more resilient than you think you are.
The person who cheers for you needs to be you. Great if you have an army of friends, family, and pets to cheer you on, but the confidence they give you may not be enough for you to finally stand up and take control of your life. The person who will be always there, is your – SELF.
In a world where everyone and everything competes for your attention, leaving yourself behind happens on autopilot. But to truly take control of your life, and your-SELF you need to re-shuffle your priorities. You need to be more important (or at least as important) as all the other competing elements in your life.
Coming back to the quote which opened this post, the biggest job you have to do, is to like yourself. If you look at social media and how you use it to get instant gratification, the instant like, it’s easy to forget that it isn’t anybody’s else job to like you, it’s yours.
So how will you build your-SELF today?
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