How to Like Yourself More, And How This Improves Your Health
There are parts of us that we love and accept and are happy to put into the world, and there are inevitably parts of us that we don’t like.
Maybe you wish you were more patient, get ashamed after losing control in an argument with your friend, or wish you were stronger at holding your ground…or whatever plays around in your head that you wish was “better”.
The parts we like and don’t like are part of the internal yin and yang we all possess.
Deep down, many of us have some conflict with ourselves, and may feel like people wouldn’t like us if they saw how we really are, or got to witness all sides of us. This can create anxiety, loads of stress and not fully accepting yourself. It can also translate further into not accepting the now and a diminished joy in life.
The New York Times recently put out an article called, “The Ambivalent Marriage Takes a Toll on Health”, about how the mixed negative and positive feelings spouses have towards each other in over 77% of marriages can manifest in outward physical symptoms such as higher systolic blood pressure readings, which can lead to poorer cardiovascular and general health over time.
I believe in many ways we are all in a marriage with ourselves. Part of a successful marriage, one could argue, is accepting the other person for all their sides, all their facets just as they are. It doesn’t mean there isn’t room for growth, but being comfortable and loving what is now.
And so I believe it is with ourselves. It’s easy to think we have “bad” qualities…and as I mentioned earlier, this can eat away at us and make us feel less than worthy, or that our voice isn’t as important, or just create internal anxiety.
This, in turn, can lead to elevated levels of stress that can accelerate internal health issues like inflammation and manifest in outward, accelerated visible aging.
As I openly discuss in The Beauty Detox Power, I have a very complicated relationship with my mother, who loved me but had a hard time expressing affection or approval. And part of the way I was communicated to as a child has fostered a driving force towards perfectionism and self-criticism, which also manifests sometimes in impatience and even judgment.
I continue to work on myself every day and use the tools and meditation that has helped me progress. Like everyone, some days feel better than others.
I try to stay really aware of physical cues that make me know when I need to pause and look within: for instance someone says something that triggers me in some way, and I feel a heaviness in my stomach, or can actually feel my heart rate speeding up.
I have a lot of work to go, but I can say that I’ve grown a lot from my childhood habits and ways that I used to deal with anxiety and stress, which included internalizing it and building resentment.
Now I try to respond in the healthiest way possible, after taking a pause. And I’ve grown a great deal in self-acceptance of myself as a whole person.
If you too pause to reflect, you can get clear about what parts of yourself you like and don’t like, in a very honest way. But seeing all sides, can you step back and realize that it’s all part of you, which is a whole, conscious being complete as you are right now?
It’s okay to not have some not-so-perfect/great/awesome traits…that is part of your uniqueness and your beauty. And as we move towards acceptance of ourselves in the now, we also move towards self-growth.
Here is a clearing exercise I’ve found very helpful:
Place one hand right on your solar plexus (above your naval) and one hand on your heart. Concentrating on your heart first, breathe into your heart through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Then concentrate on your solar plexus, and repeat the same, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Keep repeating that pattern of going back and forth, but start to verbally or silently name polarities as you breathe into the opposing sides: hot for the breath over the heart, cold for solar plexus.
Now start naming different qualities within you: breathe the word “patient” over the heart, breathe the word “impatient” over the solar plexus. Breathe “joyful” over the heart, “melancholy” over the solar plexus: Nice, mean. Open, judgmental.
Keep going until you feel you have expressed as far as you like, then pause and breathe into both centers and affirm: All of these are parts of me, and I accept myself as I am.
Sit quietly for a few minutes afterwards and let that sink in.
I think it’s important that we start being real and loving accepting ourselves for the perfectly imperfect people that we are.
Being lovable is more about being authentic, and working to journey on our own individual paths, but not trying to become “perfect” or thinking that we aren’t good enough now because we have qualities that we are ashamed of, deep down.
I hope this exercise helps you, and that as we go forth we can all be more loving, patient and accepting of ourselves, which I truly believe will foster more joy and more love in our lives.
What qualities do you try to hide, and are now willing to accept is part of the beautifully complex, being that you are?