Mike: This is Mike Hennessy. And on behalf of the team at LoveEvolveandThrive.com, I am pleased to welcome you to today’s interview with Karla Downing. Karla Downing is a licensed marriage and family therapist and the founder of ChangeMyRelationship.com. Go to www.ChangeMyRelationship.com for more information.
Karla Downing, thank you so much for joining us today.
Karla: Thank you for having me.
Mike: Some of our subscribers have negative self beliefs about themselves like I am too old to find love or I am not attractive enough or I will be single and miserable forever. Can you offer some practical tips and strategies that can help women improve their self-esteem especially when they have deep rooted negative beliefs about themselves?
Here are some practical things women can do to overcome their negative self-beliefs and improve their self-esteem:
- Accept yourself as you are flaws and all. In order to feel good about yourself, you have to accept yourself. You cannot reject who you are and feel ashamed or embarrassed about yourself and have good self-esteem.
- Identify the body part or parts that you are most bothered by. Practice looking at yourself in the mirror (naked if necessary) and say aloud, “I am okay with my ______. It is part of who I am and it is awesome to be me!”
- Don’t overemphasize your looks. Even if you have “it”-whatever you believe “it” to be—you will lose “it” as you age. When you place too much emphasis on your looks, you set yourself up to feel bad about yourself. Instead, work on becoming a beautiful person inside. It will reflect in your countenance and make you truly beautiful--forever.
- Maximize what you have and be content with it. This means you take care of yourself by exercising, taking care of your health, and eating right. It means dressing decently and doing your hair, makeup and nails to feel good about yourself for you!
- Let go of trying to be perfect. You can’t be perfect; no one is. Even if you attain a standard that you set, you will move the mark because perfectionists are never satisfied. It is easier to accept once and for all that you won’t be perfect.
- Don’t compare yourself to other people. When you compare yourself to others, you are comparing your insides to their outsides—everyone looks good on the outside because they only let you see what they want you to see. When you compare yourself to others, you tend to pick people who you are envious of so you’ll never feel good about you!
- Set realistic goals for yourself. Setting goals too high will make you feel bad about yourself because they won’t be achieved.
- Listen to the things you say about yourself. Change the negative messages to positive messages.
- Remind yourself that rejection and disapproval are a part of life. They are not comfortable but they are survivable. Remember, you don’t like and approve of everyone else you meet either and that doesn’t make those people bad.
- Don’t take rejection by a dating partner as proof there is something wrong with you. It has to be a match for both people for it to work. This takes time to find. People have different needs and priorities. It just didn’t work. It is okay. Move on without feeling bad about YOU!
- Surround yourself with people who believe in you. When you have people in your life that don’t believe in you, they bring you down because you are influenced by the people around you.
- Validate yourself. Accept your opinions, feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and experiences as true for you. Don’t look to others to approve of them. Remember that they are just as valid as someone else’s feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and experiences, so you do not need to abandon yourself when someone disagrees with you.
- Don’t take personalities personal. People do what they do because that is who they are. Don’t accept responsibility for what they do and don’t accept it as a reflection of who you are.
- Respect yourself by choosing to be around people who respect you. Don’t accept disrespect from people no matter who the person is. Recognize that when you ask to be respected that you are communicating to the person that you respect yourself.
- Refuse to accept the words of other people that aren’t true. Don’t give people the power to make you feel bad about yourself. Remember, just because someone says it, doesn’t make it so.
- Be yourself in relationships. If you are afraid to be yourself because you don’t think people will like “you,” you won’t be happy when they like the fake you anyway because you will know that it isn’t who you are.
- Live congruently with your values. Don’t do things that make you feel bad about yourself. Don’t accept things that are unacceptable to you. Don’t abandon the things that really matter to you.
- Identify your inborn personality temperament. This helps you to accept yourself for who you were created to be. It enables you to maximize your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
- Forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made in the past. Accept that you didn’t have the insight and abilities you have now. Try to understand the circumstances that you were in at the time that led to your decisions, then let them go.
Work on improving your self-esteem. It will affect your life and relationships positively. It is worth the effort!
Mike: Karla Downing, thank you so much for the information today.
Karla: You are welcome.
And this is Mike Hennessy. And on behalf of the team at LoveEvolveandThrive.com, I’d like to thank you for listening to our interview and wish you the very best in your relationships.
Our guest today was Karla Downing, a licensed marriage and family therapist and founder of Change My Relationship at www.ChangeMyRelationship.com.
For free tips and insights on relationship advice for women from hundreds of experts and authors, please visit our website at www.LoveEvolveandThrive.com.