I’ve been labeled a go-getter and overachiever since forever — I’m still in denial about the dreaded “perfectionist” label. But because of my “success,” people didn’t see the damage I did to myself in order to achieve it. Getting straight As and then working two or more jobs wasn’t enough for myself. I had this idea in my head that I needed to do more, be more. It wasn’t body shaming for me: It was life shaming, and I realized that was just as damaging.
When I started a path towards learning how to love myself, life coach, motivational speaker and writer Ash Cebulka unknowingly came along for the ride. Ash has been prescribing me — along with her 3K Instagram followers — antidotes to a lifetime habit of self-destructive internal dialogue.
Ash tells us that, “the more focus and energy we put towards something, the more evidence we will see of it being true. Unfortunately, we can use our energy to focus on what we believe we’re NOT, rather than who we really are, which can lead to a lot of self-deprecating behaviors.” Her own personal journey is what made her first start to realize this, and what prompted her to begin writing her appreciated “Self Love Prescriptions.”
She told us, “I love writing self-love prescriptions for people. I created them for myself when I was highly critical and having a tough time in my life. I realized my obstacles were completely self-imposed. So I created daily reminders to keep me on track with remembering that the relationship I have with myself is the most important one I have.”
Ash continues, “When I can love and appreciate myself, that will extend outwards in all areas of my life.” She shared five of her biggest secrets with us when it comes to kicking this habit and living your most fulfilling life.
1. Envision a Stop Sign
“When you find yourself thinking a negative, self critical thought, envision a stop sign. You will notice it physically doesn’t feel good to entertain these thoughts, so tell yourself STOP, then redirect to a positive thought.”
Like every bad habit, replacing it with something positive makes it that much easier to break. Beating yourself up about beating yourself up is, obviously, not solving much. So take a deep breath, STOP and give yourself some TLC instead.
Instead of thinking, “I shouldn’t have eaten that. I feel like crap, now I need to go to the gym for an hour to burn off this junk food,” try this: “I am ready to feel good in my body. I am going to take a walk and enjoy how great I feel when I take care of myself.”
2. Know Your Triggers
“If there’s a certain topic that sets you off, make sure you pay attention to the way you speak to yourself regarding it. Recognize where you can tell yourself a more loving and supportive story, using the words ‘I Am.’”
She says that people tend to get caught up in a perfection obsession — the perfect job, perfect spouse, perfect body. We miss out on what’s actually in front of us; we overlook all of the accomplishments that we’re actually making every day.
Instead of dwelling and thinking, “I am so bad at handling my finances; I really should be better at it,” try: “I am proud of myself for learning more about my finances, and I am proud of my new choices.” Notice how you’re creating momentum in the direction you want to go, rather than dwelling on the past.
3. Be Gentle With Yourself
“You’re not being graded at the end of each day. Show up, be kind to yourself, love yourself through the growth, know some days are easier than others. Forgive yourself and others when you’re having a tough time letting go, and watch how quickly you’re able to see new perspectives.”
This one is huge and something everyone can practice. We tend to give our love and support generously to those around us, yet when it comes time to showering ourselves with that, we end up doing the opposite.
4. Make Joy a Daily Priority
“It can be easy as adults to get stuck in the monotony of life. When we remember to make joy a focal point in our life, we naturally let go of our critical self-talk, because quite frankly, there’s no room for it. When you’re having fun, rarely do you want to critique your way through it.”
Getting rid of cynicism and fear is just one benefit of allowing joy into your life. Using the techniques to stop and rewrite your internal dialogue, you can start to carve some space for more joy-filled opportunities.
5. Have a Sense of Humor
“Being lighthearted with yourself will certainly make life more fun. When you don’t take yourself too seriously, you can laugh off — probably — at least half of the things you would have made major drama, and quite frankly, created more work for yourself.”
We all know that laughter is the best medicine, so prescribing yourself a bit more of it can make even the most stressful situations more manageable. Even just smiling will tell your brain to be more positive, so you’ll feel more inclined to be kind to yourself. Because you deserve that kindness. Trust us.
Write your own self love prescription and share it with us on Twitter @BritandCo.
(Photos via Ash Cebulka and Getty)