“Love conquers all”. This can be especially true when we strive for ‘wellness from within’, which is one of the pillars of MTA and involves a focus on emotional well-being. Our feelings about ourselves, the ways in which we ‘speak’ to ourselves, and learning to practice self-love are keys to our emotional well-being. Practicing self-love is drawing on the inner you to generate a sense of psychological wellbeing, a vital aspect of disease prevention. Research has shown self-love to be positively correlated with increased happiness, optimism, initiative, curiosity and conscientiousness.
Three ways to start silencing your inner critic and begin practicing self-love:
Let go of perfectionism. Perfection is an unattainable goal. Perfectionism is all about external validation and “what will others think?” Perfectionism is a shield to try and avoid criticism and judgment, however it gets in the way of our true selves being seen. Have the courage to be imperfectly you.
Practice self-compassion. The three elements of self-compassion are 1. Self-kindness: talking to yourself as you would a friend; 2. Common humanity: knowing that you are not in it alone. Others struggle as well; 3. Mindfulness: observing our thoughts and feelings as they are, neither ignoring them nor exaggerating them.
Own your whole story. This means accepting all of you and your experiences, the good and the bad. When we begin to orphan parts of ourselves that we don’t like, we become fragmented. We begin to feel whole when we can own our stories in their entirety.
Practicing self-love can allow us to feel cared for while creating a belief that we are part of a team; that we too can be part of the people around us, who seem to love us unconditionally already. What better way to practice wellness from within than by embracing and celebrating the wonderful person we find within ourselves.
Terri Creeden is the owner of Creeden Coaching & Consulting, offering life and leadership coaching, meeting facilitation, trainings and workshops.
- Kristin Neff, PhD, Self-Compassion, William Morrow, 2011
- Take the Self-Compassion self test
- Brené Brown, PhD, The Gifts of Imperfection, Hazelden Publishing, 2010
- Brené Brown, PhD Rising Strong, Spiegel & Grau, 2015
Photo credit: The Daring Way™