How Do You Habitually Treat Yourself?

By Rosella Aranda

In order to learn how to relieve ourselves of self-defeating patterns, the obvious first step is to become aware of what these patterns are.

The easiest way to do this is simply to become a casual observer of your own behavior and to take stock of how you treat yourself. Note both the negative and the positive aspects.

Don't make a big chore of this. Simply intend to "hear" what you tell yourself as you go about your business. Notice how you "look" at yourself. Do you ever smile at yourself in the mirror? Do you ever greet yourself as someone you're glad to see?

After you've monitored yourself for a day or two, ask yourself which one of these categories you fall into.

1) You always look at yourself with a hypercritical eye and you often mentally refer to yourself as stupid, lazy, clumsy, ugly, gross, or other demeaning terms.

You constantly require outside validation in order to feel even halfway decent about yourself.

2) You maintain a "neutral" approach to your own person, hardly even noticing anything in particular about

It's almost as if you were a non-entity whose job it is to just keep showing up, but you certainly don't take any real pleasure in your own company. You base your worth primarily on how others react to you.

3) You make a point of it to treat yourself with the utmost respect. You speak to yourself in only the most courteous and encouraging tones. You actively note and register appreciation for your most likeable qualities and you enjoy your own company. You maintain this outlook despite what others' opinions of you may be. After all, it is your opinion and validation that matter to you most.

Clearly, this last option is what we are striving for. Contrary to what some may think, this is not vanity or egotism. It is self-affirmation. It is creating a friendly "alliance" with someone who will be with you the rest of your days.

Other people come and go, and among the ones who stay, they are primarily focused on their own lives.

It is no one's responsibility but your own to validate your existence. You are the only one who can provide yourself with the constant, abiding, unconditional acceptance that we all crave.

~ Tips for Improvement ~

Tip #1 - Every time you look in the mirror, look yourself in the eye. Stay there, don't look away. (Some people have trouble doing even this much.) Now, smile at yourself with just your eyes, nothing phony.

Acknowledge the face in the glass as a dear friend, whose opinion you admire, whose support you feel privileged to have. THIS is the person you most want on your side. Not the big "they" out there, as in "What will 'they' think?" It is now: "What do YOU think, my dear friend in the looking glass?"

Tip #2 - Immediately drop any negative, hateful or belittling remarks to yourself. This includes any unspoken comments.

For example, do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and groan? I'm sorry, but I must tell you that this is just plain rude! How do you think you would react if someone else did that to you? Wouldn't you be insulted and hurt and just a little appalled at that person's bad manners?

And would it ever occur to you to treat one of your friends that way? You wouldn't do it! You would realize how unkind and tactless such a reaction would be. You would probably look at your friend with compassionate concern. You might wonder if he is sick or if he's been getting enough rest, but you certainly wouldn't look at him and say, "Ugh!"

So why is it that people let themselves get away with treating themselves so shabbily?

Perhaps no one has ever pointed this out to you before. Or maybe you have never given yourself permission to treat yourself gently before.

Now that you've been made aware of this, I trust you will find it easy and highly desirable to make these simple changes. And these two changes alone will result in some profound internal shifts.

So the new order of the day is this: If it's not something that you would say or do to a cherished friend, then you do not say or do it to yourself, period.

I hope that you will give these techniques a serious workout. Your emotional well-being is well worth the effort. It is the foundation upon which all else is built.

Rosella Aranda, international marketer, editor and author, helps entrepreneurs escape their limitations and enjoy greater freedom and satisfaction.