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Learning to Love Yourself: Being Present

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

A big part of learning to love yourself is learning to be present in the moment. We are not present if we are not in touch with what we are feeling. Do you think that when you eat for comfort that you are in touch with what you are feeling? Of course you’re not; all you’re hearing is criticism or anger or hurt, or whatever - if at all.

Are you aware of your self -criticism, or as I call mine, the inner critic? You might find yourself shocked if what you say to yourself was recorded and played back to you. You might also be shocked at just how many times a day you judge or criticize yourself harshly without being aware of it. We treat ourselves far worse than we would ever imagine treating someone else.

I am my own worst enemy. My inner critic’s judgment is swift and stings, and can really pile on the guilt. I judge myself harshly when I overindulge in dessert, when I make plans to do my exercise and then skip out of it because I’m already too tired or I hurt, when I know that I need to relax or take a nap to recharge my batteries, or when I look at myself in the mirror and see all that weight I struggled so hard to lose staring back at me.

Your inner critic is not a foreign entity to you; in fact (s)he’s a very familiar voice, and someone we dread – remnants of parental criticism left behind from when we were younger. We must learn to identify and reject this recurring criticism, or standards of perfection we expect of ourselves, realizing that we have absolutely no way of achieving them – EVER. These thoughts aren’t just critical; they represent beliefs and expectations that have been with us for most of our lives.

My son went through a stage in his life believing that if he could not learn something in a short amount of time then it wasn’t worth doing and the heck with it. Taking him ice skating for the first time was an exercise in frustration. He believed that because he was smart that he should be able to learn things quickly and easily. He gave up after 5 minutes and three falls. His thoughts weren’t merely critical. Here’s the breakdown of that experience:
1. I should be able to master things quickly and easily. I should be able to do this on my first trip to the ice rink.
2. Learning should not involve frustration.
3. I want to be the best at whatever I do; anything less is useless to me. Why bother?
I am the same way. (I know you can’t be surprised at this!). I am a perfectionist, and I STRUGGLE with this CONSTANTLY! I am realizing that I’m not “the victim” of these perfectionist expectations; there’s a part of me that demands that my life conform to the way “I expect it to be”. When those demands aren’t met, it usually stirs up anger, and boy, that just shouts to my inner critic to stop forward and she takes it from there. My self-criticism and my hatred that I didn’t do what I was supposed to do take over, and fuel my anger at myself. There you have it – in a nutshell.

So today we are going to start building and reinforcing our self esteem. Here’s a good exercise to help us do that: Today we are going to listen to how we talk to ourselves. If you’re reading this later in the evening, decide to do this tomorrow. It’s a good exercise. Once you become aware of it, then you can begin to change it.

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?

I’m so stupid, I should have . . .
I’m so tired, but I know I need to . . .
I shouldn’t have eaten that!
I can’t do anything right!
I should be able to . . .

What might first come to your awareness is a negative attitude or thought that caused you to feel this way. However, if you look closer you’ll find that somewhere along the way the part that really got you feeling bad was a negative thought about yourself, not that thing you did or didn’t do. But we need to remember one thing, and it’s important, but we don’t realize it. Here it is - If you know how to tear yourself down, you know how to build yourself back up.

Thanks for stopping by and we can begin to heal this part of ourselves. We deserve our own love. . .

Source: www.afterpsychotherapy.c
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    good info and so true listen to what we say to yourself is the very first step.
    thank you
    1870 days ago
    Wow, you've struck a nerve here, seems I need to stop being so hard on myself, thanks for a great blog.

    1870 days ago
    I'm struggling with my negativity about myself and have just recently realized that I have serious negative self judgement that isn't just once a day it's all day. After I started hearing my 14 year old daughter repeating things I have said out loud about myself, about herself, I decided that I have really been giving her the wrong message. With the help of SP teams and friends I have been digging deep to find acceptance and appreciation within myself, say positive things out loud and discuss this with my daughter.

    You have to be happy with who you are because whether overweight or target weight YOU remain the same. You have more confidence and other qualities but your character, your past, your morals... Your eyes, hair, nose, shoe size are still what they always were (please don't think I'm saying changing is impossible just saying your basics are the same). I need to love myself regardless of the size I wear. I am who I am and the quicker I get that into my head the less I will hear my negative self talk say if i were thinner... if i were... if i were... So I know that loving myself and accepting myself would make a huge difference not only to my self worth but my overall attitude which affects all the people around me and teaching my daughter by example that self acceptance and the love of yourself is healthy and good.

    I know that this change into positive self image, loving myself, and acceptance is necessary but for me quite difficult... It's a 39 year pattern I have been repeating. So posts like these are so great to keep me aware that I must keep moving forward and breaking my patterns. Thank you for reminding me that this takes effort everyday and not to forget what I am trying to accomplish.

    I am beautiful the way I am now and when I am (positive thinking in play here) thinner I will just be more beautiful!

    I emoticon me!
    1871 days ago
  • CHERYLA2012
    Really thought provoking...

    I hear ya!

    I refer to myself as a recovering perfectionist and I know for a fact that I can never go back to the way I was if I value my mental and physical health.

    So I really do try my hardest to live in the here and now and be mindful.

    It's also why I decided to choose being positive, believing that positive attracts positive.

    I don't do well with the negative, whether it's people (family), news, books, etc., so I choose not to spend my time with it.

    I do get flack sometimes, but at the end of the day, I'm the one that's gotta live inside my head and there's just no room for that negativity to be added to the negative tapes that I know could start playing again.

    1871 days ago
  • SAMI199

    I am learning so much here-thanks! Taking away the "Live in the Present" &
    leaving behind my self-bully.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1871 days ago
    emoticon My focus this year is studying to live in the moment. I have found some great books and find it very interesting.
    1871 days ago
    Great blog!
    1871 days ago
    Oh boy. Perfectionism . . . that's my first, middle, and last name (or is USED to be) and boy does it have to be claimed, named and tamed . . . OFTEN so it gets worked on!

    I can be guilty of saying such harsh things to myself that I wouldn't EVER think of saying to anyone else. EVER!

    This is an excellent opportunity to even devote 5 minutes of ME time to thinking about all the wonderful things I am/have accomplished/will accomplish.

    HUGS and thank you for this wonderful blog.

    1871 days ago
    This all rings SO true with me. And one of the things you said, "Do you think that when you eat for comfort that you are in touch with what you are feeling? Of course you’re not; all you’re hearing is criticism or anger or hurt, or whatever - if at all. ".....I have been wanting to do a blog about anger and get some feedback from people about if they have noticed this about themselves...I feel like I am really having to deal with anger for the first time in my life instead of eating it down, and suddenly feel like I have a shorter fuse or lower %$#@ tolerance than I used to, and it is a strange feeling! Anyway, that will come, one of these days!
    1871 days ago
  • KITT52
    well said
    1871 days ago
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  • L*I*T*A*
    1871 days ago
    1871 days ago
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