Self-criticism is often the most hindering aspect of pursuing a new relationship. Opening yourself up to the possibility of finding love requires an air of vulnerability, and depending on how well you have established a sense of self and confidence, can either be an exciting venture or a daunting one.
Once we develop the skills to mindfully and confidently put our authentic selves out there, then the ability to move past any unmet expectations will be stronger. Self-esteem can fluctuate, with your confidence levels being high in one area and lower in others, but if your overall sense of self is well-established, then that fulfillment is going to follow through in your relationships.
Your Relationship with The Self
How we perceive ourselves has an impact on our relationships, especially romantic ones. Many times, it is our past experiences that hold weight on our self-perception. Just as people come and go throughout our lives, personal highs and lows will come and go as well.
By recognizing that there are going to be peaks and valleys in your confidence levels, the better your relationship with yourself will be, and any critical voices will transition to much more accepting ones. Improving your negative self-concept will serve as a catalyst for longevity, understanding, and adaptability in your next relationship.
4 Ways to Be More Positive About Who You Are
- Remove your invisible mask.
Some people end relationships prematurely just as they are getting serious, often due to fear of their partner seeing hidden parts of themselves that they don’t want to be seen. By focusing on your perceived flaws, as opposed to your strengths, that wall between you and your partner will continue to build up. By removing your “invisible mask” and fearlessly allowing others to see all parts of your authentic self, you will be giving them permission to do the same- making way for a stronger, more confident bond.
- Let go of external validation.
Society has ingrained the false notion that love and acceptance are based on external traits and characteristics alone. There is a perpetual belief that “if we only got that job,” “lost five pounds” or “bought the perfect home”, then we would be proving our value to others and ourselves. That need for external validation becomes a vicious cycle if you do not have inner confidence, and if you put the same effort into building up things that truly matter to you- as opposed to those things you think others want to see- the more positive light you will exude.
- Invest in what brings you joy.
Take time on a daily basis to be mindful of what it is that brings true happiness to your life and what fulfills your own set of values. This could be spending time outdoors hiking, taking a yoga class, painting with watercolors, engaging in spiritual practice, or starting a backyard garden. By utilizing your time on practices that will feed your soul and bring out parts of yourself that would otherwise be spent in negative rumination, you are building up a more genuine self to share with others.
- Be of service to others.
Participating in activities that bring you joy will ultimately lead you toward new interests, new people, and a more positive self-image. Interacting with others in a selfless, altruistic way creates a path toward happiness and confidence. Volunteering for a local non-profit, helping a friend move, being a mentor, organizing a free yoga class, advocating for a cause, or spearheading a community event- these are all ways in which you could be of service to others. When we feel accepted and appreciated by our peers, the negative self-talk begins to dissipate into background noise. It is through these actions that we can begin to recognize our own strengths and values.
The Power of Visualization
Visualization is a skill that can be developed to better integrate our positive memories with our desired future goals. By utilizing your senses to take in each visualization, you will be better able to fully immerse yourself in the moment. The power of visualization is essential to align specific positive imagery with our desired life outcomes- which can be achieved through patience and practice.
1. Find a calm and quiet setting, such as your bedroom or a hiking trail.
2. Commit to a set amount of time for the exercise, such as 2 minutes in the morning or 2 minutes at night.
3. Sit in a comfortable position and softly close your eyes.
4. Connect with your mind and body by placing one hand over your heart and one on your stomach.
5. Create a picture in your mind of what you want your life to look like or be like visualizing as many details as you can.
6. Fully immerse yourself in the belief that this could be yours, and be open and positive with the process.
7. End with a positive affirmation or mantra about yourself and your own self-worth and abilities.
Written by Emily Bachmeier, MA