Project-Self: Self-Respect and Self-Worth

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As I live my life and deal with everything being thrown at me, there seems to be this recurring feeling that never really goes away.  Whether it’s on my good days or not so good days, the topics of self-respect and self-worth are front row and center.

For the past few years, I made a commitment to myself to get to know myself better from within.  When you give yourself what you need first, you get it in return.  For example, if you feel you are not getting respect, ask if you respect yourself first.  If you feel like you are not feeling worthy or validated, are you aware of your own worth?  It also works on the flip side.  For example, if you don’t respect yourself, it is difficult to show respect to others.  If you don’t see your own worth, you will not see it in others either.  This is why it’s so crucial to pay attention to how we behave in all our relationships.  So many people give unsolicited advice to friends, family and even strangers on how they should live their lives but when it comes to themselves, they can’t take their own advice.

Ironic?  Absolutely.

So where do we begin?  With ourselves; by realizing we are enough and deserve happy and healthy relationships right from the get-go.  When in doubt, it’s time to have a little pow-wow with self-respect and self-worth to remind us we need to set boundaries with people and sometimes walk away from it all.  Self-compassion plays a huge role when we are struggling through something like this and we can start talking to ourselves the same way we would to a good friend, in a loving and forgiving way that supports our mental and emotional health.  If you are not a priority in someone’s life then why is it ok to be an option?  If that person you are with is not a priority, then why do you keep holding on?  If someone is treating you badly, ask yourself why you keep letting them?  If someone can’t see your worth, make sure that someone isn’t you.  Rise up.  It takes a lot of strength and courage to let go of toxic relationships that only feed your ego and not your soul.  If you are in an unhealthy relationship and know it, ask yourself why are you staying?  What I know for sure, is that I would rather be on my own than with the wrong person.  Life is way too short and wasting time with someone or with yourself is not a good idea.  We all have a choice and whatever you decide, you are responsible for it.  If you want to make a change, then you have to take action because thinking about it won’t change anything.

By taking action, you are showing self-respect and self-worth because you know in your heart you deserve more than what you’re getting and you are honoring your feelings.  Bravo for realizing it because as soon as you do this, the world opens up and the Universe responds by supporting you.  Draw a line in the sand, stand up, say no, walk away, let go, do what you need to do but just make sure you do something that supports YOU.  Speak your truth!

I would like to share a short letter I wrote.  It isn’t for one person but for the collective bunch who try to disrespect any of us and can’t see clearly.

 

“Dear You,

I know you are struggling to pay attention to me, see me for who I am and make me a priority in your life.  I just want you to know, I don’t need your validation because as of now, everything is over and I’m validating myself.  I’m not upset, I’m awake.  I see what I want and need in my life and I know I deserve more because I’m so worth it.  Out of respect, I have to walk away and since this is a one-sided relationship, this doesn’t work for me anymore.  I can no longer sit here looking straight ahead and seeing the past and no future.

All I ever asked was for you to spoil me with loyalty, love, respect, affection, attention, friendship, and great conversation.  I can finance myself just fine.  Apparently, that was asking too much of you.  What is too much for me is waiting, wondering, and wishing for a life that doesn’t exist with you.  It’s too expensive for my mental and emotional health, I am worth so much more than you’ll ever know.  It’s unfortunate that previous relationships poison present ones because when things are not dealt with at the moment, they carry over into the next relationship.  That isn’t fair to either side but it happens all the time.  Future relationships lose their chance of being healthy if nothing changes from within.

Now I realize that sometimes you have to love people from a distance to let them become who they need to be and sometimes you need to love people from a distance so you can be the person you need to be.  I am owning my emotions so I can let them go while moving forward.  Due to the circumstances and as a sign of self-respect, I have to go.  Maybe one day you will realize you hurt the one girl who would never hurt you.

“People will teach you how to love by not loving you back.  People will teach you how to forgive by not apologizing.  People will teach you kindness by their judgment.  People will teach you how to grow by remaining stagnant.  Pay attention when you’re going through painful and mysterious times.  Listen to the wisdom life is trying to teach you.”  ~ Meredith Marple

All the very best to you and thank you for all the life lessons.”

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
XX

** I hope you are enjoying the Project-Self blogs so far. Thank you to everyone for reading and liking them.  As I write I learn and as I learn I write.  Working on myself is a process but it’s also one I enjoy doing and I hope you do too in your own life ❤

** “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” is available at online bookstores worldwide and at FriesenPress online bookstore.  I am grateful for all the love from my readers.  Please check out the wonderful reviews people have left on my website 😀

~ Dare to live courageously…

 

 

Project Self: Self-Discovery

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“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”  ~Rumi

Just when you thought you were drowning, you were actually learning how to swim.  Just when you thought you were falling, you were actually learning how to fly.  Just when you thought something was ending, something new was beginning.

Sometimes in the midst of struggle and challenge is when you see what you are made of, how you survive and where the greatest lessons of all are found.  When you are in the moment it can be pretty darn hard to see it this way, but speaking from experience, I know this to be true.

What does self-discovery mean to you?

In my own life, I’ve come to define self-discovery as many things but it all starts with taking the time for YOU.  Such as going on a journey within, by yourself and for yourself.  Becoming aware of your character and true potential, your wants, and needs, likes and dislikes.  Knowing your values, setting boundaries and what you can tolerate in different life situations.  Accepting everything about who you truly are, especially the imperfections.  It’s about ownership of where you went wrong, learning life lessons, forgiveness of others and especially of yourself.  It’s about finding your purpose; we all have one.  In a way, self-discovery is also self-awareness.

When you know yourself, you are empowered.  When you accept yourself, you are invincible.

The opposite of self-discovery is denial.  Denying who you are to others and to yourself.

Many don’t know who they are or what they want, but somehow give unsolicited advice to others on how to live their lives or they tell lies.  Unfortunately, this never ends well.

The photo above in this blog describes self-discovery so well.  Sometimes we need to let go and peel away the layers that no longer serve us to get down to the good stuff of who we really are, who we were meant to be.  If we want others to know who we are, we need to know ourselves first.  How can we expect others to figure us out when we haven’t even tried to do that with ourselves?  So how do we do it?

I’m not an expert, but one way I did it was through writing and journaling.  To be able to do this, you need to be on your own without any distractions.  Another way I went on my self-discovery journey was through solo travel.  When you are traveling on your own, you depend on yourself 100% and you quickly find out how to trust your instincts and who you are.  Thirdly, there is an amazing questionnaire designed by Patrick Betdavid that you can download and fill out on your own one quiet Sunday afternoon in your happy place.  It might be at the beach, the cottage, or wherever you feel most comfortable.  Be honest as you do this because that’s the right answer.  Yes, it takes time but that’s what it takes.  You’ll come out of it a new and improved person and how awesome is that?

When you decide to go on the journey of self-discovery, the benefits are positively endless and amazing, such as bringing more happiness, fulfillment, freedom, and opportunities into your life.  It can be a bumpy road but it’s definitely a road worth exploring simply because you’re worth it!

This is the purpose of the Project-Self blogs, like this one, Self-Betrayal, and Self-Care.  To raise awareness in ourselves because everything starts and ends with US!  It’s easy to blame others but that only keeps people stuck.  If we want to evolve in life, then we need to take responsibility for ourselves in what we say and do.

Let’s be kind to ourselves, stop beating ourselves up…we are enough.

I invite you on your own journey of self-discovery…happy travels 🙂

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

**Copies of “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” are available at online bookstores worldwide and at the FriesenPress Bookstore.

All my gratitude to you ❤

 

 

 

 

Self-Compassion vs. Self-Esteem

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I have a question for you.

Do you think it’s better to have high self-esteem or be more self-compassionate?

For years high self-esteem was seen as the ultimate marker of wellbeing, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  However, high self-esteem is an external global evaluation of your self-worth and potential problems with high self-esteem are not if you have it, but how you get it.

Author Kristin Neff Ph.D. of “Self-Compassion, Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind” explains the differences, common confusions and benefits between the two concepts beautifully.

In order to have high self-esteem, there is a need to feel special and above average. Nobody wants to hear they are average at something they do. I’m sure if somebody told you that you are an average worker, you would be hurt. This is completely normal I would not want to hear that I am an average nurse either. However, if everyone has to feel special and above average at the same time, that doesn’t work because somebody has to fall down so that someone can move up the high self-esteem ladder.  It’s the need to feel better than others and people achieve this by social comparison, narcissism, bullying, and prejudice. Having healthy high self-esteem is good but the problem is when it becomes contingent on your own self-worth which can lead to inevitable feelings of inadequacy and depression.

Self-compassion, on the other hand, is within you all the time so when self-esteem deserts you, self-compassion is always there to catch you.  Compassion is relational therefore self-compassion is how we relate to ourselves and we need to do this in a kinder way.

For example, self-criticism is self-compassion’s arch enemy and here’s how our minds play out when something bad happens; “How could I be so stupid liking him/her, I knew I should not have pursued but I did anyway and failed miserably, way to go.  I’m so alone nobody has ever felt like this before, I’m sure I’m the only person on this planet who’s ever made such a big mistake like this.  I can’t believe how sad and angry I feel right now with myself.  I’m never falling in love ever again.”

Sound familiar?  Does this type of talk motivate you?  Not really.  We would never talk to our friend this way if they were suffering so why do we do it to ourselves?  How do we end the madness?

Self-Compassion.

*Self-Kindness vs. Self-Judgment: talk to yourself with care and understanding like you would treat a good friend rather than with harsh judgment.  Change your internal dialogue into something positive.

*Common Humanity vs. Isolation: see your own experience as part of a larger human experience not isolating or abnormal. Recognizing that life is not perfect and neither are we.

*Mindfulness vs. Over-Identification: allows us to be with painful feelings and emotions as they are. Avoid extremes of suppressing or running away from these painful feelings. Sometimes you just need to get out of your own way and let self-compassion take over and heal you from the inside out.

Let’s take the previous example and change the inner dialogue from self-critical to self-compassionate.  “It’s okay things didn’t work out for you and him/her.  Life is full of uncertainty and you are a kind-hearted person who deserves someone better.  I know it’s hard right now but this is a good time to take care of you.  Everyone goes through something similar when it comes to love and heartbreak, you’re definitely not alone and nobody’s perfect.  We all have our own stories to tell.  Feeling sad or angry is good because it means you are dealing with the grief and you will recover faster.  Let these emotions come and then let them go.  They don’t define you you’re bigger than they are.  Believe in love again and let things unfold as they should, you’re going to be just fine.”

Doesn’t this sound more comforting and motivating?  This is how we would comfort a friend, we deserve the same treatment too.

Common confusions with self-compassion are beliefs that it is weak, complacent and passive when in fact it can be a strong, powerful force for change in an emotionally supportive environment.  Other confusions are that self-compassion is self-indulgent but what it really wants is long term health, not short term pleasure.  There’s the belief that self-compassion will undermine motivation, however, most people believe self-criticism is an effective motivator but motivation with self-criticism comes from the fear of being worthless.  On the other hand, motivation with self-compassion comes from the desire for health and well-being.

Self-compassion offers the same benefits as self-esteem but without the pitfalls.  You will have fewer social comparisons, have more stability in your self-worth and not be associated with narcissism.

Furthermore, self-compassion is linked to motivation in the sense where people have a greater desire to learn and grow, try again when they fail, healthy living behaviors, effective coping and resilience skills, have caring relationships with others, able to forgive and have empathy, take greater responsibility for their mistakes and the ability to apologize.

Self-compassion helps to reduce anxiety, depression, stress, rumination, perfectionism, shame and a negative self-body image.  On the other side of the coin, it increases life satisfaction, happiness, connectedness, love, self-confidence, optimism, emotional resilience, curiosity, and gratitude.

Therefore, when you make mistakes or fall short of your expectations, you can throw away that rawhide whip and instead throw a cozy blanket of compassion around your shoulders.  You will be more motivated to learn, grow and make the much-needed changes in your life, while having more clarity to see where you are now and where you would like to go next.  You’ll have the security needed to go after what you really want as well as the support and encouragement necessary to fulfill your dreams.

To answer my own question, I choose self-compassion because it’s available to me 24/7 and can lead to healthier high self-esteem.

What about you?

Much Love,

Jen
xo