We learn new skills every day, some by choice, some by necessity. Being happy with yourself may be one of the most important skills in life.
Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits explains that while other skills such as compassion and mindfulness are right up there on the list, happiness will affect everything else in your life. Not being happy with yourself may lead to insecurity, fear, abandonment, and being alone. As you try to compensate for these feelings, you create additional problems.
A big issue for many is being unhappy with our bodies. This can make you envious of others, fear of not being attractive, sabotaging a chance for a relationship, or fear that you will lose your relationship to someone more attractive. That can create jealousy, causing your partner to leave, and now you are alone. Having anxieties can cause you to overeat, shop to feel better, drink too much or isolate yourself, just so you don’t think about this. The lack of confidence may also spill into your work life, preventing you from achieving your goals or that promotion you wanted. Many problems stem from this one problem, and fixing it can change everything.
Many of us have a small amount of time to invest in learning each day. Taking the time to master this skill may be one of the most important skills you can have.
Understanding how and why we became like this is the first step. It could have stemmed from mass media, family, friends and co-workers, childhood events, health problems and negative thinking.
How do you get started with becoming happy with yourself? Practice. The baggage we carry with us has accumulated over a life time and it will take time to refocus those images and thoughts. To get started:
Become aware of your mental movie. We all have that running movie inside our heads. We frequently aren’t even aware it’s playing but throughout the day, we see or hear things that trigger the movie. Being mindful and catching yourself when it starts to play is important because it affects everything you do. Acknowledge that this movie isn’t who you are, that it isn’t true and that it can be changed.
Make a new movie. Replace the old movie that is worn out! The new movie will be based on reality, not fears or preconceived notions from the past. It should be focused on the fact that you are a kind, loving, beautiful passionate person. It may not be what you think about yourself, but make the movie like this anyway. When negative images start coming up, cut them out and tell them they have no place in your production. Replace them with better images.
Consciously play the new movie. When you become aware of the old movie starting, shut it off and play the new movie. Putting up reminders so you don’t forget and practicing will make you more mindful and better at catching the old film early.
Learn mental judo. There will be triggers that will try to attack your new movie. When you see them coming, learn to lean to one side and let them whiz by. Give them a small shove with a thought like, “That comment is not about me, it’s about you.” Then play your new movie.
You are already perfect – you just need to acknowledge it. You don’t need anything to solve this problem. You already have it. Practice like it’s the most important thing in your life, because in many ways, it is.
‘You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.’ ~Buddha