We all have techniques we depend on to lift our spirits when we’re feeling down about ourselves or our lives.
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” ~Louise L. Hay
A while back I realized something about my spirit lifting practices that I’d found most effective – some were outward facing and others inward facing.
Now, outward facing or external validation is when you lift your mood through appreciation or approval from other people. Whereas inward facing or internal validation is when you accept your own feelings in a non-judgmental and loving way and then let them go.
It’s not about ‘getting OVER things’ rather moving through them, which involves acceptance, processing and integrating. It can be tough but always worth it! I call it the breakdown before the breakthrough.
My aha moment was that internal validation is a core foundation of self love and self care.
How do you lift your spirits? Is it outward facing or inward facing or a mix of both?
Getting help from others is only one part of the equation. We also need to be able to validate, support, and help ourselves.
As a healer, you create a space for healing but the person has to walk the journey.
With this in mind, I’ve come up with a few ideas to create a little more balance in my support system, making myself a more central part of it.
If you’re also looking to increase your capacity to lift your spirits so you can depend less on validation from others, you may find these ideas helpful:
1. Get in the habit of asking yourself, “What do I need right now?”
I’ve got better at this through practice. It can feel clunky at first.
I schedule in practice “what do I need right now?” time every night between 9pm and 10pm. And I so look forward to it! It builds an internal validation muscle that’s strong so you can apply it in your life any time.
If you’re feeling down, or down on yourself, ask yourself: “What does my body need? What does my mind need? What does my spirit need?” Or otherwise expressed: What will make you feel better, more stable, healthier, and more balanced?
You may find that you need to nurture yourself with a relaxing mineral salt bath, practice deep breathing or meditation to clear your head, journal to express and process your feelings or drink a relaxing herbal tea.
This is what the act of validating yourself looks like. Whenever you address your needs, you reinforce to yourself that they are important, regardless of whatever you did or didn’t do previously.
It is a sign of strength and what you are willing to do for yourself.
2. Make a “you” section in your daily gratitude journal.
Gratitude journals help you recognise and celebrate all the good things in your day. Take 5-10 minutes each evening to appreciate and give yourself some credit.
Note down the things you’ve done well, the choices you’ve made that you’re proud of, the progress you’ve made, and even the things that required no action at all—for example, the time you gave yourself to simply be.
When you regularly praise yourself, self-validation becomes a habit you can depend on when you need it the most.
3. Before seeking external validation, ask yourself, “What do I hope that person tells me?” Then tell it to yourself.
Odds are, you aren’t always looking for someone’s advice or opinion when you come to them with a painful story. You’re looking for them to confirm you didn’t do anything wrong—or if you did, that you’re not a bad person for it.
Essentially, you’re looking for someone else to see the best in you and believe in you. Give yourself what you’re seeking from them before making that call. Then by all means, make it if you want to.
The goal isn’t to stop reaching out to others. It’s to be there for yourself.
The words you want to hear from someone else will be far more powerful if you fully believe what they’re saying.
4. Recognize when you’re judging your feelings.
If you’re in the habit of feeling bad about feeling down or insecure, or generally having emotional reactions to emotions, you will inevitably end up feeling stuck and helpless.
Get in the habit of telling yourself, “I have a right to feel how I feel.” This will help you understand your feelings and work through them much more easily, because you won’t be so deeply embedded in negativity about yourself.
Once you’ve accepted your feelings, you’ll then be free to seek support for the actual problem—not you self-judgment about having to deal with it.
5. Let the adult version of you talk to your inner child.
Many of us didn’t receive the type of love, support, and kindness we needed growing up, and this may have taught us to treat ourselves harshly and critically.
When you’re looking for that warm, fuzzy feeling that emerges when someone you trust tells you, “Everything is going to be okay,” imagine yourself saying it to your younger self.
Picture that little kid who tried so hard, meant no harm, and just wanted to be loved and cherished. This will likely help in deflating your self-criticism and fill you a genuine sense of compassion for yourself.
Once again, this doesn’t need to be an alternative to seeking compassion from others; it just provides a secure foundation from which you’ll be better able to receive that.
Do you have any techniques for lifting your spirits that validate yourself?
Now, it’s time to convert words into action and set you up for success!
Let’s start with Step 1: “What do I need right now?”
To turn on the self care juices I asked Crystal at Ecology Skincare to put together a self-care package for YOU.
So, here we have it….
Replenishing Mineral Salts (packed with magnesium and trace elements) to relax, detox, calm and soothe your beautiful body while you’re having a bath or foot bath.
As a BONUS, you’ll also receive –
Guided relaxation audio – That you can use while you’re soaking in your bath or footbath to help you relax and unwind …even further. It’s like a super boost to your self-care timeout
Guided 3 minute breathing space audio
Stick notes pack – Put them on your bathroom mirror,your fridge, computer …or anywhere as a physical reminder to take time out for yourself
Us humans are such complicated beings, it’s no wonder we become overwhelmed and confused when we think we are doing something right, yet the results show the opposite.
[ezcol_1half]The Wellness Wheel, have you heard of it?
Do you know its benefits?
How can it help you?
There are many variations of this tool and let me tell you it’s definitely an invaluable method to help you manage your everyday struggles and to gain an understanding of different areas of your life.[/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end][/ezcol_1half_end]
Emma’s opening line as she plopped down was, “I need your help I’m feeling stuck, overwhelmed and depressed and I’m done with feeling this way. I’m on my third different antidepressant and I’m not feeling any better, I’m feeling worse.”
I’d heard this comment expressed in many ways over the years. As a pharmacist I’d dispensed endless boxes of antidepressants and very few of the patients had experienced a miraculous surge of happiness.
Emma sat across from me slumped in her chair, pale, drawn with a deep sadness. Downtrodden, lost and overwhelmingly stuck were words that came to mind. I’d seen that look many times before. She’d just turned 50 and taken a life stock take, that scared the hell out of her. Marriage limping along, energy 3/10 most days and she’d given up work a few years back because of a shoulder injury that wouldn’t mend and her parents needed constant help to desperately cling onto their independence at home. Her two teen boys were testing boundaries in their quest for freedom as they became young men. She was going from crisis to crisis.
After years of experience, I feel antidepressants may push the reset button if you’re in a crisis, for some people and situations but for others it makes them unable to process their feelings, increases anxiety, crashes their libido and dials up their appetite.
I feel the real answers lie in more than a pill. We’re complex being in our own microcosms. Life is a series of choices and some things we have control over, others we don’t.
Real solutions lie in addressing these microcosms and underlying problems we have control over, which may be low energy, diagnosed thyroid problems, relationships problems, poor boundaries, poor self care, bad diet and lifestyle, low iron or B12…..the list goes on.
Emma was sick of her antidepressant merry-go-round and wanted to see what other options were on offer. She wanted results, something that really worked long term. The emotional pain had become so great she couldn’t stay there any longer. She was on a life decluttering mission.
I identified Emma’s problem areas through thorough case taking, blood and salivary hormone testing, life coaching, reviewing her daily habits and patterns. I crafted a plan unique for Emma and within 2 visits I had a beautiful 50 year old woman with energy, hope, spirit and optimism. She had a plan, momentum, tools, energy and a new perspective on life. Yay
Ever reached a time in your life when the pain was turned to a 9/10 and you asked yourself how did I get here? And at that point realized it was a series of choices you’d chosen over time and doing nothing is a choice as well.
Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to addressing them. I start at the foundations.
Here are 4 antidotes to feeling stuck, overwhelmed and depressed:
The final Secret to Happiness Tip #3 has arrived, Self Love. A word liberally used these days – “you need to love yourself more”, “you can’t love another person until you love yourself first”, “you can tell she doesn’t love herself”, “if you loved yourself better that wouldn’t have happened.”
Self love advice is given freely and copiously by friends, loved ones and well intentioned onlookers to steer us back to a happy, fulfilling life.
Self love is foundational to everything, it influences who you pick as a mate, how you cope with problems, how you look after yourself and the image you project out into the world. Self love is a secret to happiness.
What is self love? Firstly, I’ll tell what it isn’t….a beauty makeover, a new set of clothes, being inspired, falling in love. Sure they’ll make you feel good but you can’t grow your self love from here.
Self love stems from appreciating yourself, which grows from actions that support your physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Cultivating self love is a dynamic process that feeds off all the actions and events that mature us. You can tell it’s happening when you start accepting who you are warts and all and rarely feel the need to explain away your short-comings. You have compassion for yourself and others, seeing mankind collectively as on an adventurous journey to find personal meaning. When you’re getting close to real self love you’re more centered in your life purpose and values, and each day you intentionally choose to make the effort to live a full and meaningful life.
Here’s my Six Self Love Tips:
1. Own Yourself. Get clear on what you think, feel and want. Clarity allows you to be YOU regardless of the outside circumstances. You know this has happened when you’re stable, centered, grounded and can weather life’s storms in your stride.
2. Act on your needs rather than your want. You love yourself when you turn away from things that feel exciting and fun in the moment that may not be good for you, to what you need to stay strong, centered, and moving forward in your life. Metaphorically, it’s like junk food – it can taste good now but it’s bad for you long term. Automatic behavior patterns can keep you stuck in the past and erode self love until there is nothing left.
3. Practice self care. You love yourself more, when you take better care of your basic needs. Like nourishing yourself daily through healthy activities, like eating good foods, exercising, getting enough sleep, engaging in healthy relationships and interactions.
4. Set boundaries. Self love shows up in setting limits or saying no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or express poorly who you are.
5. Protect yourself by bringing the right people into your life. Frenemies says it all, it’s the type of “friends” who take pleasure in your pain and loss rather than in your happiness and success. Get rid of them, life’s too short.
6. Forgive yourself, accept you’re perfectly imperfect. Cease over punishment for mistakes when learning and growing. Ideally learn the lessons, accept your humanness and turn up the love and compassion dial and in the process master your self love.
Now ideally, pick one or two from the tips above and start cranking up your self love meter. It’s true that you can only love a person as much as you love yourself. The more self-love for yourself, the better prepared for healthy relating. And you’ll start attracting people and circumstances that support your well-being and being the best YOU.