How do you view yourself? And how do you treat yourself?
Can you show yourself love and care?
These can be hard questions to answer and cause us to feel uncomfortable when we look inwards.
How you feel about yourself is based over your lifetime around your experiences with others. We have constructed views of ourselves that begin to be formed as babies based on how others treat us and behave towards us.
This then forms the basis of how you see yourself. For example, if your primary caregiver met your needs as a baby of feeding, water, bathing, shelter, love, nurture, and stimulation through playing then it is more likely you view yourself as loveable and worthwhile.
However, if those needs weren’t met or you had to behave in a certain way (i.e., You must be quiet, don’t show you’re upset) then it is more likely you question your worth. To fit in, to be accepted, you had to behave in a certain way.
It is vitally important to acknowledge that for some this adapted behaviour kept them safe, they had to adapt to someone else’s view of what is “good” to survive. In can take many years in to adult hood to begin to recognise these patterns.
We all have different ideas and beliefs that we hold about ourselves. These develop as a young child, grow and change as we emerge into adulthood. School experiences, family experiences, life events, wider society, social media and friendships all add to this picture we create of how we view ourselves and the relationship we then have with ourselves. Our self-concept.
Relationship you have with yourself
How often have you caught yourself speaking to yourself harshly? I know I’ve done it. We often speak to ourselves in a way that we would never dream of speaking to anyone else.
The relationship you have with yourself is a powerful one, the most powerful one. It forms your basis for the choices you make, the directions you take and the relationships you go onto make with those around you.
Working outdoors in nature is a potent ally for me when working with self-concept as it reflects harmoniously my unconditional positive regard and acceptance of what you bring, and it is so often the first (or for a very very very long) time that you might feel that acceptance without judgment.
Ways to help the relationship you have with yourself
- Affirmations – “I am good enough”, or “I can do it” Any short phrase that is POSITIVE
- Don’t always believe your thoughts – it’s just a thought, not necessarily the truth
- Check in with yourself – “Would I say this to a friend?”