Self-love is a state of acceptance and is therefore not an easy thing to achieve- in fact, it is a constant journey and process with many peaks, troughs and setbacks.
Feeling overwhelmed or disappointed when you face obstacles on your journey to self-love is totally normal and to be expected. It is helpful to realise and define some of these obstacles that you might face when trying to love yourself wholly.
Here are some common obstacles that stand in our way to self-love:
Ruminating on past experiences and mistakes
Guilt and shame are powerful emotions that can psychologically and physically ‘freeze’ you and stop you from moving forward. It is probably one of the biggest obstacles people will face on their self-love journey because feelings of guilt can make one believe that they are unworthy, undeserving or objectively ‘bad.’
It can be difficult to pull yourself out of these moments, focus on the present and forgive ourselves. You must first understand that self-love is a process and that you might occasionally focus on past mistakes, ruminate or feel guilty along the way. It starts to become a problem when focusing on past mistakes is all you can think about and it begins to get in the way of your routines and everyday tasks.
Comparing yourself to others
One common issue holding so many of us back from happiness is constant comparison.
It’s very easy to fall into patterns of comparison, whether it is work, love or money related for example, it’s tempting to think that everyone is better off than we are.
A tip towards stopping constant comparison is to not think of what you’re doing as comparison and instead think of others’ successes as inspiration for you to grow and develop. This requires some level of self control and patience and is certainly not an easy thing to do, but definitely worthwhile.
It’s also useful when you find yourself comparing to ask whether your information is true and valid, whether you will feel better about yourself afterwards and finally ask yourself this- are you less worthy, happy or successful because someone’s happiness or success looks different to your own?
Wanting to improve your mindset and sense of self is undoubtedly a positive thing and this means sometimes reflecting on our choices.
Where it becomes a problem is when you are constantly self criticism and telling yourself that you’re doing it wrong or have done it wrong or will do it wrong. A high level of self criticism means that you will be almost desperate to do the right thing- all of the time. This leads to individuals who stop taking risks, believing in themselves, trying new or challenging things since they perceive themselves as flawed and predict they will do it wrong.
This is a very difficult thing to overcome on the journey to self love and people who experience a high level of self criticism might want to seek therapy or counselling for this to find the reasons behind such tendencies and work to overcome them.
Credit: Charly Bowen