The first step is straightforward: just give yourself some grace! Life is tough. We are all perfectly imperfect - we can only do what we know. When we know better, we can do better. Let’s be honest: none of us take a class on being in a relationship, being a parent, or loving ourselves. We may get a lesson here or there from a friend or family member, but we need true focus. You can’t be blamed for doing something you weren’t even aware of.
A perfect example of this is a story I wrote about in my book, Your Journey to Success. A girl who cut my hair for a long time knew what I did for work. Sometimes she’d tell me about her latest situation with the man she was seeing, going on about how awful it was or how it wasn’t working out. At one point, she asked what I thought – the first time she opened the door to some feedback. I told her I found it fascinating that none of us learn about codependence, love addiction, love avoidance, etc. Yet, we all go into a relationship with the expectation that everyone knows about these things and knows what we want! I said I found it fascinating that our hair, no matter how bad it gets butchered, always grows back on its own. But the government won’t allow anyone near it unless they have a license. Yet, we don’t learn a single thing about relationship dynamics or how to be a parent and expect everyone will do it right. I’m not advocating the government demand we take classes on these topics: it’s just a reality check. We demand a license for hair but not parenting, something that fundamentally shapes our lives.
When I tell this story, many people get defensive, claiming they know what they’re doing. That’s shocking to me: that there’s so much unwillingness to accept this fact! It doesn’t make us bad that we don’t know these things, but it shows the level of shame, fear, and denial we have about learning to navigate them. So that’s the first step: give yourself grace. Then, if you want to, you can learn more about these dynamics to help your relationships. It’s up to you – it’s your choice if you want to keep repeating the same pain.
Step two deals with affirmations and accomplishments. One thing I don’t hear people talk about, which is key to making these work, is we have to feel affirmations. Thoughts don’t change us – feelings do. Belief is when your feelings and thoughts line up – this is how you truly believe in yourself. We’ve all experienced when we’re going into a big event (whether that be a job, a test, a presentation) and you just feel that it’s going to go well. Our thoughts and feelings line up, and it goes great! We’ve also all had the converse experience: where we feel dread and sickness before something big. We try to talk positively, but it doesn’t change anything. We go in feeling terrible, walk out feeling terrible, and things don’t go great. We need to shift how we feel and accomplish emotional mastery to achieve the success we all want. Thoughts don’t change us. Emotions do.
Here’s the way to do affirmations and accomplishments: every day, wake up first thing in the morning and write down three things you love about yourself. The key is you have to feel them. This may be embarrassing, but I wake up every morning, look down, and say I love my feet! I have gorgeous feet. I do! I love it about myself and feel joy when I exclaim it. What do you love about yourself? Create that feeling and sit in that feeling. That’s the most powerful step: not thinking, not writing, but feeling. Now, there will be many aspects about yourself where you’re just not quite there. For me, I played pro sports and always had a great body. I remember what my body used to look like, so I can’t look in front of a mirror now and say I love my body. With the things you don’t quite feel perfectly confident in, switch to “I’m willing.” I say I’m willing to like my body. This will get us out of shame and the sense of holding ourselves back. It will move us in the direction of self-love and acceptance.
Make sure all the topics you’re using for affirmations center on every aspect of yourself, the way you look, your personality, the type of parent or friend you are, the type of person you are in your career, etc.
Accomplishments are a little different. At the end of each day, just write down three things you accomplished. Most of us spend the night lying in bed, lamenting about how we got nothing done. The truth is we’ve accomplished so much more than we give ourselves credit for. A student in my Greatness University keeps a sheet of paper with her all day and writes everything down: things as “small” as going to the bathroom or drinking a glass of water. She acknowledges every single little thing she does.
If you feel like you’re not enough, I encourage you to do what this student does. Start noticing and giving yourself approval and affirmation for all you accomplish.
The final step is called titration. If we don’t feel like we’re enough, we are really stuck in complex PTSD, meaning old trauma feelings get in the way. We need to learn to vacillate in and out of that. My suggestion is you sit in that feeling of “I’m not enough” for 30 seconds and focus on where you feel it in your body. Then, for 30 seconds, ask yourself, “What if I switched out of this? Just a little bit in the other direction. What does that feel like?”. Notice that in your body. Keep alternating between the two, and you’ll notice that the feeling of “I’m not enough” will lighten, and the feeling that you are enough will grow. This will help you learn to get out of the PTSD state of feeling that you’re not enough.
I hope these three tips help you. If you think it could help you or others, please share or leave a comment to let me know your feelings. I also suggest you pick up You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay. To me, it’s the single best book that’s been written on how to love yourself. You’ll feel how much she cares. If you pick up this book, I suggest switching out her use of the word “think” for “feel,” as I believe this process to be a feeling process.
As always, keep Enjoying The Journey!🕺🏼
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