You can change the way you feel by changing the way you think, but can you change who you are by changing your perception of yourself? I strongly believe YOU CAN! If you want to feel better, you must realize that your thoughts, self-perception and attitudes - not external events – determine the way you feel and how you respond. This means that the quality of your thoughts antecede the way you feel and act.
While everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, some people tend to feel it more often and deeply. They even tend to identify with their moods and feelings, and call themselves “depressed or bipolar” without an actual diagnosis. These labels become part of their identity and perpetuate a cycle that can be difficult to break because the words “I AM” hold a lot of power. If I believe “I am damaged goods”, I will feel unworthy and sad. If I say “I am determined, loving, kind.” I’ll surely embrace those personal qualities. I will be whatever I chose to say I am.
All of us hold different views about ourselves based on our personal story. I also know that all of us at times succumb to feelings of self-doubt and despair. These vulnerabilities are universal and will pass if we don’t feed into them and make them grow with additional negative self-talk, unnecessary judgement, and fixation.
Self-acceptance and self-compassion are the goals of personal grow. These traits can be developed by committing to different practices such as insight mediation, affectionate breathing, taking a self-compassion break, practicing loving-kindness and mindfulness. Learning how to change our internal dialogue helps to defeat negative self-talk and prompts a radically new way of relating to ourselves. Research shows that the more we practice being kind and compassionate with ourselves, the more we’ll increase the habit of self-compassion and a sense of joy and well-being.
With self-acceptance and self-compassion we mindfully accept our reality as it is and over identify with our thoughts and feelings. We don’t try to change it or resist that reality but cultivate a sense of openness to whatever comes our way. We embrace the moment, others, and ourselves with kindness and take the time to respond in a way that is connected to our values. We set the conditions for growth and transformation which ultimately will allow to change our core beliefs and choose who we want to become.
If you want to explore more in depth the concepts self-acceptance and self-compassion, I highly recommend you to explore Kristin Neff, PhD’s work at http://self-compassion.org/. You can also click on the image below to test how self-compassionate you are: http://self-compassion.org/test-how-self-compassionate-you-are/.