Why loving yourself will bring you success

Do you love yourself?

Funny question I know, but your answer is crucial to everything you do.

Think about all the things you do for the people you love — the sacrifices you make, the time you spend to help out in any way you can.

Baby Amanda and Kathy

You want to support those people. You want them to know you’re there for them. Most importantly, you want to see them succeed and be happy.

So, you say things like —

  • Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
  • Call me anytime, even if it’s the middle of the night. I’m always here.
  • No, I’m in no hurry; keep talking.
  • You’re wonderful. 
  • I love you.

Do you love yourself?

You probably do most things for your own well-being, out of a sense of duty or responsibility.

Maybe you exercise, try to eat healthy food or get seven hours of sleep at night. You pay your bills, do the dishes and the laundry. The grass may even get cut or the snow shoveled!

You don’t do those things because you love yourself or because you want yourself to be happy, healthy or living in a nice environment. You do them because that’s what a responsible person does.

And that’s OK, up to a point.

But if you do more things for yourself out of love than out of duty or obligation, you’ll get more done and create more success in your life.

Why loving yourself will bring you success

I have been investigating this concept recently thanks to the work of a woman named Louise Hay. She has written extensively about the idea of re-framing your mental approach to life, including using the words, “I love myself; therefore….”

If you apply those words to the tasks involved in developing a fulfilling career, to becoming healthier, to having great people in your life or to becoming more financially secure, the result might look like this:

I love myself; therefore I will —

  • create a kick-ass portfolio that shows what I can do
  • volunteer with organizations that can help my career
  • do some physical exercise every day
  • stop buying junk food
  • stop working through lunch
  • ditch partners who don’t support my highest good
  • heal my heart before I start dating again
  • set up a tax-free savings account with automatic withdrawals
  • update my budget for the year
  • make an appointment with my accountant

When you approach tasks with this mindset —  as things you do out of love for yourself — you automatically see them differently.

You see them as positive actions that will bring you success, not nagging obligations to avoid. You feel energized, rather than stressed.

That’s because saying “I love myself…” puts you in a positive, empowered frame of mind. If you love yourself, you’ll want to do something good for yourself, something that will move you forward.

When you operate from the heart, what seemed so hard, becomes easier. 

Start loving yourself and changing your life, one action at a time.

It’s time to be a brat — to rip the rug out from under that old, negative thinking focused around guilt, fear, obligation or duty.

Think of where you want to be in your life, career, health or relationships. Then, think of the things you could do to help make that happen.

Finish this statement with the actions you want to take:

“I love myself; therefore I will ___________________________ .”

“I love myself; therefore I will ___________________________ .”

“I love myself; therefore I will ___________________________ .”

Pick one of these tasks and start working on it. If you get sidetracked, don’t beat yourself up. Don’t waste time feeling guilty and stressed. Just re-focus on the statement. You’ll soon be back in the right frame of mind to continue.

**********

If you’re still not sure about this “love” approach to success, consider how well things have gone with discipline, duty or obligation (and maybe fear and worry) to motivate you.

Why not try something that will feel good  — and might actually help?

Like the song says, all you need is love. 😉

c 2016 Kathy Barthel

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We are not meant to be perfect, we are meant to be whole

Did you hear the one about the plastic surgeon who transformed a woman into the “perfect” female and then married her?

She went under his knife for multiple procedures including liposuction in several places, Botox and a vaginoplasty. She says he loves her for who she is inside.

Sounds like a bad joke, but apparently it’s true.

I feel bad for Veronica but worse for her nine-year-old daughter Isabella, who says she will never have surgery because she wants to be herself. I hope she can stick to her pledge, especially when she’s a teenager in that household.

To be perfect, or to be whole

Her refurbished mother is now “perfect”, without flaw or irregularity of any kind — befitting a culture that equates perfection with wholeness, with being complete.

But who among us is immune to the idea of making a body image “tweak” here or there?

Our culture is fixated on perfect 10s and we are reminded every day of where we fall short. Add some years to the mix and you’ve got a perfect storm of temptation.

When my daughter was little she would watch me put on makeup and say, “You are perfect mommy, just the way you are.” I sometimes wished I believed it as much as she did.

Recently I came across a  video in which actress Jane Fonda talks about how she became bulimic as a young woman to get a slim, perfect looking body.

But “we are not meant to be perfect, we are meant to be whole,” she says.

Her words have stayed with me ever since.

What does it mean to be whole?

To be whole means to be at peace with yourself, in harmony with who you are, imperfections included.

The process of becoming whole takes place gradually, on the inside; your outside packaging has nothing to do with it. 

Your bullshit detector

When you feel whole you are operating from a strong inner core of self-respect and self-love. What is good for you, and what is not, becomes very clear.

Your inner bullshit detector goes off whenever anyone tries to marginalize you, put you down or renovate you.

Being whole, or evolving in that direction (and we’re all a work in progress), means you start to outgrow those unhealthy relationships.

You tire of being hurt. You begin to let go of, and eventually walk away from, anyone who doesn’t treat you with the respect you deserve.

Being whole has a lot in common with being a brat:

Never let anyone drag you down instead of lifting you up.

 

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

 

Denying your fear, makes it stronger

Everyone has to beat back fear. You have to charge ahead in spite of it to get the tough stuff done.

Right?

Suck it up, princess!

Somewhere along the way I absorbed the idea that ignoring my fear, pushing on in spite of it, was being ‘brave.’ I became a warrior and sucked it up.

Hanging out with fear

But as Seth Godin notes, denying your fear actually makes it stronger. Fear will keep poking at you from the inside while you’re busy being `brave` on the outside.

Reminds me of a comment by awesome entrepreneur and marketing coach Payson Cooper . She says that you really need to sit with those feelings, not turn away from them.

Listening to your fears, allowing yourself to feel them, helps you find a way forward because there is usually a lesson there. There is some information in that feeling of fear, that will help you make your next move.

As Godin says, “…fear becomes a compass…a way to know what to do next.`

A different kind of warrior

I thought warriors ignored that gnawing feeling in their stomachs and charged into the void. Turns out I may have been a warrior without a compass!

I’m learning to take the time to feel what may not feel good, because it will help guide me forward.  It’s about being a different kind of warrior.

Brats work with fear

Fear is part of life. Learning to work with it rather than against it, helps you get out of your own way so you can live the life you want. 

Nothin’ brattier than that.;)

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

Negative self-talk: kick it to the curb

If you think you don’t deserve it, you won’t get it.

Do you ever tell yourself: I don’t deserve to have a loving partner; I don’t deserve to be financially comfortable; I don’t deserve a good job. In other words, I don’t have a right to those things.

If you’re guilty of that kind of negative self-talk, think back to your childhood.

Every child deserves to be nurtured 

When you were little, did you deserve to be loved, nurtured and cared for? Did you deserve to have your talents and dreams supported by the adults around you? Did you deserve to have friends to hang out with and fun things to do?

Of course you did.

Maybe you didn’t get what you deserved but that wasn’t your fault. It was the fault of the adults around you; it was their responsibility to provide those things for you. You didn’t have to “earn” them by being pretty enough or smart enough or popular enough. You just deserved them. Period.

Every child deserves to be loved and nurtured, made to feel special and to know that their talents and personality are unique and wonderful.

You deserve a happy life and a successful career

Now you deserve the adult version of those things — a good career that utilizes your talents and gifts, people who support and believe in you and financial stability. You deserve all of that; you never stopped deserving it.

You’re that same little child, just older. You still deserve a good life. 

Negative thoughts change your life 

But if you’ve adopted negative self-talk that says you don’t, then you are setting yourself up for struggle and heartache.

You may think, “Why should I try for those things? I’m not one of those people who has a nice home, a great job and a holiday every year.”

If you’ve been listening to that negative voice, that lie — and believing it, then you won’t create a life that makes good things possible. Thinking you don’t deserve them will remove the confidence you need to pursue them.

Being a brat means exposing anything false and being empowered by the truth — not choked by lies. The idea that you “don’t deserve” success is a lie. 

But changing your thought patterns takes time so be patient and keep trying.

Whenever you think, “I don’t deserve good things”:

1. Remember when you were a child. You deserved good things then and you deserve them now. That hasn’t changed.

2. Ask yourself: Do I feel better when I think this way? Do things improve? Are these thoughts helping me create the life I want?

3. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones: I deserve a fulfilling career; I deserve a partner who will have my back; I deserve to be financially secure.

4. Be a brat. Rip the rug out from under any lie that says you’re not good enough. Smash it. Kick it to the curb!

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

Coming out of the closet as a brat

For years I was in the closet; only my closest friends and family knew I was a brat.

In fact, this blog only came about because my inner brat decided to bust out a few weeks ago.

Bratty childhood

My kick-ass spirit wasn’t always hidden. When I was four, I scolded my beloved grandmother because she’d made my big sister cry. When I was 10, I wrote an indignant letter to the prime minister telling him to stop the seal hunt. 

Sometimes you have to stir it up, you have to pull the rug out from under things to make them right.

Adventures in bratty dating

The summer before university, I went out with my boyfriend at 8:30 p.m. Saturday night, and returned home at 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

My mom, bless her heart, was very upset and asked what the neighbours would think about me coming in at that time.

I said, “Well, if they’re peering out their windows in the middle of the night wondering where I am, I think they’re the ones with the problem, not me.”

As a parent I understand where my mom was coming from but being a brat means standing up for the truth, even if it goes against the status quo.

And the status quo is often covering up another truth.

Into the closet

I remember doing the dishes with my sister on a visit home from university and saying something typically bratty. She asked if I would say that to my boyfriend and I said, ‘Of course not! He couldn’t handle it.” 

It may have been during the dishwashing that my inner brat went into the closet. 

 Peeking out

This has been a year of change — being downsized, my only child moving away for school, becoming single again and more recently, the loss of my mom.

This post marks one year since that all began.

But it has also been a year of growth, creativity and new alliances.

Just over a year ago I was on my porch enjoying the summer night air and writing about how I wanted to do more public speaking, writing and videos. I wanted to inspire people to live more fulfilling lives by doing what they were meant to do.

I also wanted to move my own life in that direction. 

Busting out

For me that means being a brat — calling out hypocrisy, taking a strip off injustice and ripping the rug out from under my own thoughts or ideas when they get in the way of the life I want to live.

And of course, having a little fun.

When I launched this blog a few weeks ago I didn’t put my name on the posts, only my pseudonym, Bratty Kathy.

I told myself, “If you write about orgasms, you’ll never work in this town again!”

I got over it.

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

Start with the truth, not the rules

Are you the kind of person who doesn’t like being told how to live your life or what you should think, or say or do— just because of your age, or because you don’t have much job experience or because somebody thinks you have too much?

Then this is the perfect time for you; innovation and creativity are everywhere. But there is also risk, and some people might prefer that you played it safe.

Don’t be dragged down by someone else’s idea of what you ought to be or what you ought to do. Beware of any advice with the word, ‘ought’ in it!  Because that ‘advice’ is really just a thinly disguised rule telling you how to live your life.

Instead, think about what it is that you lose yourself in. What is it that if I said, “Don’t worry about money, don’t worry about paying the bills, the rent, the mortgage, anything,” you would bound out of bed so excited that you had another day to do?

That’s where the juice is, that’s what will drive you, that’s what will feed you creatively and eventually, financially. Because it’s you, it’s authentic, it’s true.

If you give me the choice, ever, between the truth and those rules, I’m going to choose truth every time. Sure, sometimes the rules make sense because they are based on truth: don’t run into the street, you’ll get hit by a car. Yeah, makes sense.

Then there are rules about what you are supposed to do or say based on where you are in your life, or because that’s how we’ve always done it, or because your ideas are too ‘different.’ Those rules maintain the status quo and suffocate creativity.

Always start with the truth, not the rules. Same with your career, same with this moment.

Walk away from anybody who ever tells you what you should think, or say, or do— if it isn’t true to you. Push back against that falsehood. Be a brat and rip the rug out from under it.

What gets you going? What gets you passionate? If it speaks to you, chances are it will speak to people like you. And if it does, you’ve hit the sweet spot between your passion and the marketplace. Run with that.

c 2013 Kathy Barthel

The bratty voice in your head

How can you push on with the business of brattiness when there are two opposing voices in your head? The bratty one says, “There’s no one else like you! Be a brat and change the world!” and the scared one says, “Why take that risk? Better to be safe than sorry.”

What do you do? Pretty much nothing. You get spurts of brattiness one day and complete inactivity the next. Each voice cancels the other one out. Pretty soon you’re a mess of fear, trepidation and regret.

Risk is too risky

There is this idea that risk is, well, too risky. It’s that vague frontier where it’s hard to get your footing, a nebulous mass of beige, populated by nasty villains who may jump out of the void at any time and take you down.They’re a bit like “The Blue Meanies” in the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine”.

There’s no one else like you

But think about this—being a brat and making a real difference is predicated on the notion that there is no one else like you. Seriously. How could you do it if you were just like everybody else?

You have unique talents, gifts and experiences that no one else has, that no one else has in quite the same mix. You’re one-of-a-kind. Unique. You have your own voice. You are not charging into the void unarmed, not by a long shot. So the risk, is actually not so risky at all.

Don’t ignore the bratty voice

You have what it takes to succeed. But remember, if you ignore the bratty voice that urges you to do what you were born to do, it won’t stop yakking. It will keep right on until you act. That I can guarantee, so you may as well start. 

c 2013 Kathy Barthel