This February, let’s focus on improving the most important relationship you will ever have, the relationship with yourself.

Did you know that self-love, appreciating and accepting yourself, is one of the most challenging things you will ever do?

There is so much pressure in this world to look a certain way, act a certain, be a certain way to fit in and the pressure is everywhere. Even if you are brought up in the best of homes, a child feels love and reward from doing ‘good’ things, acting or being a certain way. Unintentionally we are trained that to be loved or loveable we must play a role; we must be what people expect us to be.

Because children are ‘I’ focused, if a parent is having a bad day, a child can perceive that as ‘I have done something wrong’, or ‘there is something wrong with me.’ This carries through our life, WE become our hardest and worst critic.

When I work with people for self-love and esteem, it is amazing the language they will use to describe themselves, things they would never say to another person. When they hear themselves say it out loud, they even surprise themselves.

The biggest myth or misconception around self-love is the idea that it is something that you get and then it’s always going to be there. Love is a doing word, it requires action, it requires work, and it requires conscious effort. Some days you may feel it, others you may have a lovely little voice in your head telling you why you are no good.

Just like every other relationship in our life it can change with a moment’s notice. There is one unique thing about this relationship over all others… It will ALWAYS be there. You can’t break up with yourself, you can’t run away from yourself… So, learning self-love, or at least self-acceptance, will truly make your life better.

For most of us, we are our own worst enemy, our harshest critic. Unfortunately, the criticisms we give ourselves, (the voice in our head that tells us we aren’t good enough or that we should be better), can have a detrimental effect on our life and mental wellness. The harsh words we say to ourselves can prevent us from achieving our goals and enjoying the life we truly deserve.

Self-criticism can cause frequent feelings of low self-esteem, unhappiness, unworthiness of being loved, insignificant and stop us moving forward.

Here are a few steps you can take to turn this around.

1. Be mindful of the words you tell yourself.
The first step is noticing the words you tell yourself when you are not feeling good. ‘Listening to your inner critic’.
The act of simply noticing, gives you the power to start to question and change them. Most of these thoughts stem from the past, and if you asked yourself “Whose voice is this?” You may find it’s a much younger version of you or even someone else.
I wonder what your inner critic looks like. Maybe just for fun, get a pen and paper or a drawing app on your phone and draw your inner critic. Make it look really funny! Any time the thoughts pop up, picture the inner critic, and even imagine chasing it away with a paintball gun!

2. Learn to change the Negative Thoughts in their tracks.
Byron Katie, a bestselling author, came up with 4 questions that when asked, could turn your negative thoughts around.
When an unhelpful thought comes through, ask yourself:
Is this negative thought true? Is it really 100% without a doubt true?
How does this thought make me feel?
How would I feel without this thought?
What is a true opposite of this thought?

For example: ‘Everybody hates me!
Is this true? Yes… (The inner critic tends to try and answer that one).
Is it absolutely 100% true without a doubt? Well no…
How do I feel with this thought?Horrible…
How would I feel without it?Good, I think?
What is a true opposite thought which could replace it? Well, some people like me?

Notice how the feeling changed?

As you can see from the example above, questioning the thoughts in your head can start to change the way you feel and think about yourself.
Try it out, you may be pleasantly surprised.

If your inner talk is something you really struggle with, reach out. Hypnotherapy is a great way to change the way you feel about yourself, so you really can like and accept yourself. Hypnotherapy works by addressing the root of why you’re talking to yourself as you have become accustomed to, and changing that. To book a free 20 minute consultation, click here.

Click here for a powerful hypnosis recording to help you change your relationship with yourself.