With the rise of social media, there's never been more pressure to be perfect.
Now it's almost shocking to see a photo of someone that hasn't been face-tuned or have several filters. One of the biggest issues that I come across with my clients, is that they’re putting way too much pressure on themselves to be perfect and not accepting themselves as they are.
We are constantly being inundated with messages of all the things we need to be good at, or that we might not be good enough at, from the media, from your friends and family and the fairytales we grew up reading and watching in movies. So, we put pressure on ourselves to have the perfect body, the perfect life, the perfect partner, the perfect career, the perfect house and children. And we feel like an utter failure if we aren't achieving all of those things simultaneously.
So, how can you let go of trying to be perfect, and love yourself just as you are?
1. Start a practice of self-love
Most of us talk to ourselves like we're someone we can’t stand. We say things that we would never say to anyone else and if someone close to us told us the horrible things we say to ourselves, we would never talk to them again. We are having an abusive relationship with ourselves. It’s hard to feel confident when you are telling yourself, you are a horrible piece of c**p every day.
You are the most important person in your life, you will be with yourself for every moment until the day you die. You are the one person that will never leave you and the most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. We all crave love and acceptance and it’s crazy that we expect it from other people but refused to give it to ourselves.
The remarkable part is when we love ourselves, we radiate from within, and people are naturally attracted to us. Start a mantra of saying "I love myself" every day, several times a day. Whenever you start to say something negative, replace it with 'I love myself.' You will be amazed at the changes.
The most powerful words in the universe are the words you say to yourself. The meaning of the word Abracadabra is - I will create as I speak. An important question to ask yourself is what are you creating with your words?
A great book on the topic is: Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravikant.
2. Practice Loving Kindness
Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM) is one of my favourite meditations to boost self-love and increase wellbeing. People who regularly practice Loving Kindness Meditation improve their ability for self-acceptance, forgiveness, and feeling connected. It's easy to do and creates a feeling of calmness quickly.
How to practice Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM)
There are various ways to practice this style of meditation, but they all use the same core process. With loving kindness meditation, you generate kind intentions toward individuals, including yourself as well as others. Kindness to others begins with kindness to yourself. If we don't give nonjudgmental, unconditional kindness to ourselves first and foremost, it becomes harder to apply that to our relationships at home, socially, and in the workplace.
Here is an easy and powerful loving kindness meditation.
1. Take some quiet time for yourself (even just a couple of minutes) and get comfortable, sitting or lying down. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and relax any tension in your muscles.
2. Place a hand on your heart and visualise yourself feeling happy and radiating perfect health. Imagine feeling unconditional love for yourself, knowing that you are good enough—exactly as you are. Meditate on this sense of inner calm, and imagine that you can breathe out any worries and breathe in feelings of love.
3. Say four positive, reassuring phrases to yourself, out loud or in your head. These messages are examples, but you can also make up your own:
- May I be happy
- May I be safe
- May I be calm, healthy and strong
- May I give and receive love
4. Enjoy the feelings of warmth and self-compassion for a few moments. Allow these feelings to surround you.
5. You can decide to stay with you being the focus of your meditation or start to turn your focus to other people in your life. Start with someone you are close to, like a partner, a child, a family member, or close friend. Feel your love and affection for them and intensify that feeling. You can repeat the following phrases or ones that generate feelings of loving kindness inside you:
- May you be happy
- May you be safe
- May you be calm, healthy and strong
- May you give and receive love
To take a step further, try doing the Loving Kindness Meditation on someone you are having a conflict with. I’ve personally seen relationships that you would think are irreparable transform by one person using this technique. This last part of the Loving Kindness Meditation helps to increase feelings of forgiveness and helps you to let go of anger to have peace of mind.
Being kind to ourselves no matter what is going on in our lives is an important life skill that most of us have not been shown. It’s a skill that transforms everything. It shifts how we treat ourselves as well as others and helps us to be more confident, happy and have better relationships. There is no one more deserving of your love and acceptance than you.
Caroline Cranshaw is a hypnotherapist, founder and trainer at the New Zealand Integrative Hypnotherapy Training Institute and the author of The Smoking Cure. Find out more about her at nzhypnotherapy.co.nz.
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