Guest Blogger- Esther Leviev
I call onto women from all around the world, regardless of your race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or religion. I call onto all of you to discuss a topic of utmost importance, something we all share, and I’m not referring to our interest in shoes. I’m referring to our need to sacrifice ourselves like sacrificial lambs at the altar when we don’t fit our own standards. We fill our inner world with all this pain of negative self talk. It is like the sound you hear in a club, after a while, the noise is not even being consciously registered. You can even forget it’s there unless someone asks you to pay attention to it and lower the noise, because it’s bad for your ears. Except this noise is so much more damaging than the club noise. It damages you from the inside, hurting you in a very deep, very real way.
What noise am I referring to? I am referring to the voice inside your head that talks to you when you do something you’re not proud of. What are you telling yourself when you “lose your temper” and get upset with what the kids did in the house. Perhaps you read the many articles about “properly” raising your children in a “nurturing” environment filled with “safe” voices of acceptance and growth? How do you respond to yourself when those thoughts run through your mind that you aren’t meeting up to your standards?
You try so hard to provide the best home for your family, to make sure the myriad of responsibilities you carry on your shoulders are being handled flawlessly or at least in some way that is commendable in your eyes. But of course there will be times that that is impossible because you are only one person and the task you are meant to carry out in the time you are meant to do it is just impossible at times. So you either sacrifice cleaning all the house or making the perfect dinner, or doing the science project with your daughter. But you try to do everything anyway and then sacrifice the most precious thing of all, YOURSELF. You sacrifice yourself with the way you willingly berate and belittle yourself that you aren’t doing enough for the kids, for your husband, for your boss, for your friend.
It always amazes me when I really attune myself to my self talk because I wouldn’t ever say this to someone I love, why is it ok to say it to myself? And with this question, I realize something more valuable than even doing things right. And that is learning to love yourself. Because we don’t treat others a certain way when we love and respect them, and with that logic, we must treat ourselves with love and respect in order that we don’t talk derogatory and disrespectfully to ourselves.
Let’s therefore talk about ways in which we can improve our love of ourselves. When we are not living up to our standards, let’s accept ourselves for the good that we DID do. Choosing to focus on the good will allow our love of ourselves to blossom further. One way I do this is by having a journal about what I am proud of in my day, in what I did for my family or for myself. I look at the things I need to improve on and write down ways I am improving already. It’s really all about our focus.
Another way we can learn to love ourselves more is by moving on when we do something we aren’t happy with in ourselves. Staying in that negative head space really brings us down and doesn’t allow us to grow into the beautiful being we are capable of. Let’s not harbor on the events that have passed since we cannot change the past anyway. All we can do is be paralyzed from it and thereby hate ourselves or we can learn from it and move on. The only way to really move on is to forgive. Forgiveness is a powerful gift and we deserve to give it to ourselves. Creating a space of forgiveness for ourselves allows us to accept ourselves with all of our flaws, and when that happens, we can turn off the familiar voice of judgement that is quick to shout her piece inside our head. We can shut it down with other words, words that are filled with kindness and understanding. Words like, “You’re doing the best you can. It IS good enough. I am proud of you for whatever you DID accomplish today.”
Today I challenge you to look into the mirror and have a talk with the person that has been struggling to feel love and accepted. Look into your eyes, the window to your soul, and tell yourself “You are loved, you are unique, you are powerful. Your value is not derived from others, but rather from deep within you. Know you are a gift to the world with the spirit you have. Know your power.”