We all know that “Patience is a virtue.” But let’s face it: we’re only human! And that means that whenever we encounter frustrating situations or people – and especially when there’s something we think we “should have done better!” – we’re quick to become impatient with our apparent imperfections or “failures”.
The good news is, as you learn to truly love yourself, patience just becomes automatic. You’ll also find that many negative behaviors will change, or end completely, without you having to work hard to change them.
The following exercise for developing self-love may feel awkward initially, but I encourage you to stay with it! It will get easier as time goes on. Pay attention to how your feelings about yourself shift, and notice yourself becoming able to access more patience when the going gets tough.
- Write down all the things about yourself that you believe make you inadequate or “not enough.” Be aware of the feelings you have that go along with the things on this list. You may think you’re overweight, not smart enough, too shy, hopelessly scattered, stuck feeling depressed, overly anxious, too sensitive, etc. You may find that this list is quite long, but don’t judge it. Just acknowledge that you think these things, and write them down. Put everything that you believe diminishes you on this list.
- Now make a list of all your positive inner qualities and attitudes. Write down the things about yourself that you believe make you worthwhile. Be aware of the feelings you have that go along with the things on this list. This may include being a good listener, a good friend, reliable, hard working, caring, intuitive, smart, etc. This list may also end up being longer than you thought it would.
If, on the other hand, you really can’t think of anything to put on this list, write down good things other people have said about you in the past, and any compliments you’ve received. This is a good place to start if you’re struggling with this step. Note that the things on this list do not include any physical attributes (like beautiful hair, or nice eyes, etc.). Unlike your self-criticism based on superficial things like your appearance, your self-appreciation focuses only on the essence of who you are.
NOTE: For maximum impact, do the following Steps 3 & 4 twice a day, without fail – when you wake up in the morning, and before you go to bed at night.
- Take both lists and sit or stand in front of a mirror. For 30 seconds or so, simply breathe slowly and deeply, and smile at your reflection. Think about sending that person in the mirror all the KINDNESS in your heart. Feel the sensation that creates in your body as you continue breathing.
- When you have reached a state of relaxation and acceptance (that’s the sensation of your own self-love!), look yourself in the eye and say the following statements out loud. Don’t worry if part of you is wanting to say, “But I don’t really believe this!” It’s not important that you already consciously believe the words, just that you practice saying them out loud. Here are the four statements:
“I know all of who you are, and I embrace you and love you completely.” (Then take a slow, deep breath.)
“You deserve to be loved just the way you are NOW.” (Take a slow, deep breath.)
“My loving you is not something you have to earn; my loving you is what you deserve simply because you‘re you.” (Take another deep breath.)
“I look at you and know in my heart that you are already lovable, and you always have been.” (Take a final, very slow and deep breath.)
Repeat these four affirmations 3 times out loud, slowly and clearly, continuing to breathe deeply throughout the process. (The reason for saying them out loud is that you need to hear these statements with your ears, not just think them.)
This is a powerful exercise, and one whose benefits you deserve. If you truly embrace the process, you will begin to believe that you deserve the peace of mind it creates (and much, much more!). You will automatically be more patient with yourself no matter what circumstances your are dealing with. That gift of patience you’ll be giving yourself more consistently is a crucial foundation for developing consistent, self-nurturing habits.
I am a firm believer that you are lovable, capable and special – and I don’t even have to know you personally to say that! I also believe you deserve to be treated as such, first and foremost by you, yourself. You are unique, and that alone is worth honoring and celebrating!
Use the exercise above to become a firm believer in yourself. Completely and deeply accept and love who you are, in every moment, because you really are Enough!
If you need additional support, guidance and encouragement to move forward in taking as good care of yourself as you do of those in your life, please click here to access the Step By Step Guide.
As always, I look forward to hearing from you. Leave your comments below…
and we breathe…