There are so many of us who don’t feel like “ourselves” in public situations. Many of us even secretly hate ourselves says Jonah Engler. Loving yourself for who you are is just like loving family members for who they are.
But, it’s harder to accept the flaws in yourself than in others. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. Believe it or not, approximately 80% of the world struggles with this issue. People don’t like who they are. It’s a common issue, but its popularity doesn’t make it less dangerous.
People from all backgrounds, and cultures, struggle with this issue. New York-based financial expert Jonah Engler frequently works with professionals from Wall Street who struggle with this issue.
Do You Have a Bad Self-Relationship?
According to Engler, people fail to build healthy relationships with themselves because they don’t identify the problem on time.As the years go by, dislike for one’s self converts into hate. Your relationship with yourself will keep deteriorating until you try to fix it.
To help his clients identify their issues with self-hate, Engler created the following list. These standardized questions have been designed to identify the state of your inner relationship.
The more questions you answer with the word “YES,” the more out-of-tune your relationship is with your inner-self –
- Do you get nervous when speaking with people in authority? (e.g., boss).
- Do you have difficulty making eye contact with people while speaking?
- Do you become tense when you have to talk about your feelings or yourself?
- Also, Do you feel anxious expressing yourself in case you appear awkward in a public scenario?
- Do you anxious about contacting someone you don’t know very well?
- Do you get stressed and anxious over social obligations?
These are just some examples of the types of behaviors people with self-hate issues struggle with. Technology makes things even worse for such people. Participating on social media platforms is like getting judged in public by the public.
Social media use leads to decreased sleep, depression, memory loss, nausea, and headaches. It will also make you dislike yourself. Or, you may like your social media personality more than you like yourself says Jonah Engler.
Since teens are over-exposed to social media, these effects can have long-lasting impacts on their mental health. That’s where they need to understand self-compassion.
Building a Healthy Relationship with Yourself: Importance of Self-Compassion
According to various psychologists, there are three components of self-compassion –
- Group awareness
Self-kindness is the art of doing unto yourself what you do unto others. Would you forgive a family member for making a wrong career decision? Then, why can’t you forgive yourself? Would you forgive a fifteen-year-old student for failing his/her exam?
Then, why can’t you forgive yourself? If you can learn to look at your life decisions or past mistakes through these lenses, you’ll be practicing self-kindness. Practicing self-kindness is the first step to building a healthy relationship with yourself.
Group awareness is the feeling or sense of we’re all in this together. Shift your mind away from the critic inside you. Focus on what people around you say, feel, and how they are.
Are you not an outgoing person? You don’t have to be an extrovert to be group aware. You just have to be curious and considerate towards the people in your life.
The last, mindfulness, will seal the deal for your journey towards developing a healthy relationship with yourself. The precise definition of “mindfulness” is hard to pin down. Jonah Engler explains it in his words very simply –
Mindfulness is the method of observing your thoughts, experiences, and all the negative musings that float inside your head. It’s realizing, “Oh, I’m thinking in this fashion now. Ok, now I’m having this thought from childhood. Ok, I notice my immediate surroundings now.”
- Mindfulness is the practice of noticing these inner thoughts and letting them go. Observe them, don’t dissect them.
- Understand how your brain sends different thoughts or signals as you try to direct your attention to your breath or the vibrations in your body.
- Observe every anxious, self-hating, or negative thought float away without getting tangled in them. Feelings aren’t facts. Thoughts aren’t truth.
If your inner-self is telling you you’re socially incompetent, observe that thought. Is it fair to permanently label someone as “socially incompetent”? No, right? We can all improve our social skills.
Now take a more mature perspective toward that thought. Observe that as real and concrete as that thought sounds in your head – it doesn’t make sense from another perspective.
To unleash the power of mindfulness on your relationship with your inner-self, you’ll have to practice it for yourself. Here are some short and simple mindfulness exercises you can try right now –
Think of a humiliating memory. Picture it as vividly as possible. Now, think about this memory for five minutes. You will naturally feel anxious, awkward, upset, or embarrassed.
Now, apply the mindfulness perspective to that same thought. Again, think about the humiliating incident for five minutes. Is your perspective on the situation now different?
Tune in to whatever noises you’re hearing at the moment. Be it the hum of roadside traffic or music – try to listen to as many sounds as possible without responding. Keep focusing on the sounds and the sounds only. If your mind wanders, bring it back to the sounds.
Instead of sounds, pay attention, on purpose, to your own breathing. From the air entering your nostrils to your torso contracting as you breathe out – feel everything.
It’s not easy as it sounds. In four or five counts, your mind will wander towards other thoughts. Re-focus it on your breathing every time it does that.
Building a Healthy Relationship with Yourself: Getting Started
People who have bad relationships with their inner selves have the worst superpower in the world. They can envision the worst possible scenarios in any situation. Before your worries become self-fulfilling prophecies, start challenging yourselves.
Kickstart your journey towards building a healthy relationship with yourself by completing these simple challenges designed by Jonah Engler –
- Make eye contact with everyone you talk with from today.
- Speak in an assertive and loud tone when you’re talking in public.
- Approach someone who you’ve never spoken with before and say, “Hi, how’s it going?”
In addition to honing your social skills, you’ll also have to conduct a lot of self-reflection says Jonah Engler. Here are six self-reflective steps that will help you design a healthy relationship with yourself –
- Recognize negative self-talk
- Make small decisions that only fit your personal needs (e.g., taking a vacation by yourself)
- Practice self-gratitude by eating well and taking time to appreciate your body.
- Whenever you beat yourself up, stop judging and self-compassion.
Completing these steps will take time and effort. But, you’ll find yourself on a journey towards creating a healthy relationship with yourself!