We all have our weaknesses.
I, for one, can be a complete control-freak. Usually, there’s only one way things can go, and that’s MY way. Even I find myself annoying at times. If something doesn’t go as planned, I’ll beat myself up for it, for days. I’m still learning how to let go of that need to control everything and there are some valuable lessons I’ve learned along the way.
It’s easy for me to criticize or blame myself; sometimes, I do it without even realizing it. I’m sure many of you can relate.
Being kind, loving and understanding didn’t come as easy.
Because for a lot of us, it’s a habit. We put ourselves down, without even thinking about it, most of the time.
DITCH YOUR DESIRE TO BE PERFECT
Perfectionism can feel like a trap. When you’re a perfectionist, you feel that strong need to be in control of your emotions. At some point, you stop acknowledging your accomplishments because there’s always that voice in your head that says “well… you could’ve done a better job“. It’s just like having that all-or-nothing attitude, where unless you get 100%, you get nothing. It’s you, spending more time worrying about failing than you do focusing on what it is you’re trying to accomplish.
SET HEALTHY BOUNDARIES
These are very important, in any kind of relationship; whether it be professional or personal. A lot of us are taught, from the young age, to put others first. We then grow up and often get lost in serving everyone, but ourselves. Setting up healthy boundaries has changed a lot for me- especially the way I make friends. I wouldn’t call myself a people-pleaser exactly, BUT I love helping others. I love solving problems, coming up with solutions and if I am in a position to help someone in need, I’ll try to go out of my way to make them happy. I never saw anything wrong with the fact that I was usually the one listening, but didn’t do much talking myself. I didn’t see anything wrong with the fact that over the years a lot of people around me got so used to me just “being there” ready to help, that I rarely ever heard “thank you”. My mom would always tell me that you don’t do good or nice things for people because you expect something in return, you do those things because you want to. Yes, that is true. At some point, though, I got lost and no longer knew where others’ lives ended and mine began.
I did this A LOT up until I hit my mid-twenties. Saying “no” was just so damn hard for me. I would answer work-related calls during weekends and spend hours on the phone. I’d say “yes” to things I didn’t feel like doing, meet with people I didn’t feel like meeting, I’d do a favor after favor. There was a point where I couldn’t really focus on what I wanted because I was so worried about everyone else.
Then, I just kind of decided to be a little selfish.
Selfish isn’t the right word, although it’s funny that it’s the first one that came to my mind when writing this. I decided that I’m going to start setting up some boundaries. I started being careful about giving away my energy to others- and it was honestly life-changing.
I don’t “bring” work home anymore. If I had a particularly tough day at work, I do some deep breathing exercises while sitting in my car in the driveway, before I get in the house and I leave my “work feels” behind. Some of my friendships died off… BUT a lot of them grew even stronger. Setting up healthy boundaries is one of the most important acts of self-love. It’s sort of like drawing a line at a point where you become uncomfortable. You set boundaries, because you deserve it, and to be clear, no, it’s not selfish.
Think of it this way: when you give yourself the opportunity to be the best version of yourself, you can then take that love and wisdom and spread it around the people you love. If instead, you spend your life sacrificing yourself, ignoring your own needs, plans and dreams, you might never give yourself a chance to get to that point.
BE GOOD TO YOURSELF
Be good to your body, mind, and soul- these are some of the best ways to practice self-love. Watch the way you talk to yourself, be gentle. A lot of the feelings we have toward ourselves, are reflections of our past relationships. If someone close to you offends you enough times or is too hard on you, you eventually start to believe what they say. I grew up in a very strict household where I constantly heard that I wasn’t good enough, or wasn’t working hard enough or that so and so did better in school than me, I should try harder. No one ever “taught” me how to be good to myself.
Self-love, self-care are things I stress a lot here on the blog. I do it, because I remember how I used to treat myself; as a teenager, as a young adult. I’d torture myself with thinking why someone treated me the way they did, or why things happened the way they did. I hear my friends and the way they talk about their failures while very rarely mentioning their victories. I see my friend’s ten-year-old and hear her say that she wishes she had blue eyes or that she’s the fattest girl in her class and it breaks my heart.
There is nothing wrong with a constant need to do better- to grow, try new things, to learn and wanting to become a better person. But as you grow and learn, remember to stop once in a while and tell yourself that you’ve done a good job so far. Look at how far you’ve come, don’t be too hard on yourself. Loving yourself isn’t selfish. It’s not about conceit. It’s not about thinking you’re better than someone else. It is, however, a lot more than just “accepting” yourself.