It is good to know intellectually that we are valuable, but we need this information to get down into our heart - to the feeling place. We need to feel our value in our bones.
So what are some simple steps we can take to begin changing the way we think about ourselves?
First, begin taking steps to take care of yourself. We need to take action before our feelings will follow. When we begin to treat ourselves like we matter, our feelings will change. It can be taking a walk, treating ourselves to a night out or beginning to make any number of better decisions that deeply serve us and of which we are proud.
Second, begin to develop healthy boundaries in your relationships. Boundaries help us know where our feelings end and the feelings of others begin. They help us know exactly who WE are. Healthy boundaries are both a way to develop self esteem and a result of self esteem. Like other forms of self-care, setting healthy boundaries helps us respect and value ourselves.
Third, positive affirmation is a critical part of the change process. Actions may speak louder than words, but words still speak. You can put out reminders in your home or upload a quote to the screen of your smartphone to remind you that you are valuable, you matter just as you are and no one can take this from you. Find a great photo with verbiage that resonates with you and insert it somewhere in your life where you will see it often. I created a Pinterest board to collect my favorite reminders and share them with others who may need inspiration as well.
In the next few months we are going to talk about what healthy internal boundaries are and how to develop them. Specifically, the internal listening boundary and the internal talking boundary. The really cool thing about boundaries is they don’t just protect us, they also protect those around us from us when we are not operating at our best. We all have our moments. ;) The listening boundary helps protect ourselves from others. The talking boundary helps protect others from us.
Healthy boundaries are crucial if we want to feel safe in our relationships. They are crucial if we want to be vulnerable and experience the intimacy that only vulnerability can create.
I am looking forward to digging into this further in the next article. In the meantime, consider this from another favorite teacher, Brené Brown.
“The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you're enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.”
What next step can you take to start believing even more in your inherent worth, a worth that is not tied to achievement?