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It's February, the time for love is here and spring will be here before we know it. Now, whether you're single, in a relationship, just got out of a relationship or “it’s complicated”, it's time for us to address the elephant in the room. I'm talking about how you treat yourself regardless of your relationship status. Speaking specifically about all of the negative self-talk that has become such a commonplace problem in our culture.

It's true what they say, that before you can love anyone else, you really ought to start by loving yourself. But we all have that little voice in our head constantly belittling or diminishing ourselves and our accomplishments. You aren’t the first person to criticize every little move you make and you’re not the first person to say something negative to yourself. What little thoughts run through your head day by day when think about yourself or see your reflection in the mirror? Do you have not so nice nicknames that you call yourself? All of these little things may seem harmless, but the truth is they are holding you back from your full potential.

 

Imagine actually saying all those things out loud, how would you feel? What if you were that critical of everyone else? Do you believe you would be helping or hurting them? Truth is, most of us would never speak to others the way we let our inner voices speak to ourselves. It’s really a shame, because of all the people in the world, you should be the one who believes in yourself above all others. You should be at the top of that list and you should be your greatest supporter. That's not to say you have to be perfect, or that you don't have any flaws. You can be a work in progress and still love yourself. Real love is not conditional, it’s not just loving something when it’s perfect and amazing and wonderful. Love is about accepting your flaws, seeing your greater good and being gracious for it all. If we were all a bit more accepting of ourselves in our day-to-day lives, we could be more positive and much happier.

So I have a challenge for you as we head into this Valentine's season. Spend one day taking note of every time you think something negative about yourself. Just make a little tally mark either on a notepad or in an app. At the end of the day sit back and reflect on how much time you spend every day being negative to yourself. If the numbers surprise you, (I suspect they might) I'm going to challenge you even further. For the next 7 days, every time you catch yourself thinking negatively of yourself, I want you to change your tune and give yourself some slack. Do this by turning your criticism into a phrase of understanding. It’s as simple as saying “I may have made a mistake but I will get it better next time.” Or “That wasn't quite perfect just yet but I learned about the process.” It’s not about how your pants fit but about how your face lights up when you smile.

There's always something positive or amazing you could say about yourself, you just need to stop underestimating yourself and your potential. Try to treat yourself like your own best friend instead of your own worst enemy. Try this for just a week and see all the difference it could make in your life when you eliminate negative self-talk.

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