Love Yourself: The Great Compliment Experiment
If you’re anything like most people having a human experience, your self-acceptance is contingent on something. For example, you may need to be successful at work to feel good about yourself, fit into a certain size clothing to feel good about your body, or have your personal life look a certain way to feel happy. Only if all of those things are exactly how you want them to be, do you feel good. Does this sound familiar?
I ask you to consider, how often is everything in your life exactly the way you want it to be? Has that ever happened? Is it even realistic to expect it and wait for it? How much of your life are you missing out on while you wait for everything to be just so? I’m guessing way too much.
I firmly believe that happiness is a decision that is distinct from circumstance.-Joy Jacobs
What if I were to tell you that you can choose to be happy, even if certain things in your life are not going well? I firmly believe that happiness is a decision that is distinct from circumstance. Let me explain further.
If you are in recovery from an eating disorder, you have likely spent a great deal of time beating yourself up over the size of your body, the amount of food you have eaten (and “shouldn’t have”), the types of food you are or aren’t eating, the most recent number on the scale, whether or not your favorite pair of jeans still fit, and so on. Has that kind of thinking ever made you feel happier or more able to achieve your treatment goals? Probably not.
I am here to tell you that criticizing yourself is not the yellow brick road to recovery. Praising yourself is.
The Great Experiment
What would it be like, even if only as a one day experiment, if you were to practice complimenting yourself? Anything and everything is fair game for this. You just need to identify one tiny thing after another that you like about yourself. It could be your dry wit, your sparkling sense of humor, your ability to draw, a gift with words, your magic touch with kids, or even cracking your friends up with silly magic tricks.
It could be your dry wit, your sparkling sense of humor, your ability to draw, a gift with words, your magic touch with kids…-Joy Jacobs
The logic to this experiment is quite simple – it demonstrates that our emotional energy flows in the direction of our thoughts. If we are full of negative thoughts, we are also very likely to be full of negative emotions. Do you remember a single time when criticizing yourself made you feel good? I think not.
In contrast, the more we fill our hearts and minds with upbeat thoughts and feelings, the more likely we are to notice our mood is happier, lighter, and more filled with hope and determination to improve our lives even more. This helps with everything. Others start to notice the shift immediately. All of a sudden, seemingly without effort, life starts to flow more easily, with less stress and more joy.
As you embark on this journey toward self-love, you should be aware that emotions are contagious. Be very mindful of who you spend your time with – their outlook can seep right into you without warning. Do you ever notice that your mood shifts, depending on whom you are with? If you know you are going to be spending time with people that bring you down, you will need to be especially mindful of taking better care of yourself that day. If possible, make a concerted effort to surround yourself with people that leave you feeling happier, freer, and more at ease.
Speaking to yourself kindly, loving yourself, surrounding yourself with people who support and encourage you; these are all ways that you can start to build your self-love muscles. The more you bring in the good stuff, the less pull you’ll feel from things that would otherwise drag you down. You’ll find that your day is no longer ruined by a number on the scale or an appraising look from a stranger.
Like any workout, the more effort you put into building your regard for yourself, the better results you will see. And the results you will see will be amazing… I promise! You’ve already got everything you need to succeed. Your happiness is available right now.
Now, isn’t that a miracle?
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