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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Is what you are thinking right now, helping you?

When I got back to my parents’ house the day my mom passed away, I saw several little notes she had posted around the house. There was one on a kitchen cupboard door and another on her bedside table. They all said, “Is what you are thinking right now, helping you?”

My mom was not herself the last couple of years. When we talked on the phone she would often replay, over and over, negative stories from the past — stories of hurt, disappointment or regret.

Nothing was ever resolved; she’d just relive the same negative thoughts and feelings every time.

Is what you are thinking right now, helping you?

When she would start talking like that during our phone calls, I would often ask her if what she was saying was helping. Was it making her feel better?

I wanted my mom to stop and recognize what she was doing to herself. I wanted to help her break the pattern.

I suggested that she write that question out as a note to herself, and put it up around the house wherever she would most easily see it. That way, whenever her thoughts took a dive, she’d be nudged to replace them with something more positive.

Seeing those handwritten notes for the first time, with the words “Kath’s idea” in brackets, was a bittersweet reminder of how hard my mom tried to overcome a habit many of us have.

We play negative thoughts or experiences over and over again in our minds without even realizing it. Thoughts like, ‘I’m not good enough…’ or ‘I can’t do that..’ or ‘They’ll never hire me…’ Or maybe it’s an event that hurt you long ago, but you just can’t stop thinking about it.

Negative thoughts expand 

It really is true that what you think about, expands. If you wake up in the morning with a negative thought or memory — and don’t get rid of it — it will spread out like a glob of toxic sludge. 

It will fill up large parts of your day and suck the energy right out of you. And if you’re telling yourself you can’t do something or things won’t work out, that is exactly what will happen.

Being a brat is about ripping the rug out from under those negative thoughts and ditching them, before they have a chance to spread.

You can break negative thought patterns

You can reprogram your thoughts. It only takes about 21 days to form a new habit. You just have to do the new thing — consistently — for 21 days and you’ll begin to see change.

Mom and me in front of Tom Thomson shack, McMichael Gallery, Kleinburg Ontario

(Me and my mom, the artist and poet, Muriel Stewart Romig Dawson)

So starting today, whenever you realize you’re thinking something toxic, do what my mom did.

Ask yourself, “Is what I am thinking right now, helping me?” If it isn’t, replace that negative thought, immediately, with something positive.

Do that for the next 21 days and let me know how it goes. I’ll be doing the same, so we can check up on each other.

Brats have to stick together.;)

c 2014 Kathy Barthel

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

 

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