Self-love is the main cure for low self-esteem as well as depression issues. I like to gather together other writers’ ideas about a theme or idea. Often these suggestions will seem repetitive but I have found that in recovery I often have to consider the same idea many times before I adopt it
From Lori Deschene: “5 Ways to Validate Yourself: Be Part of Your Support System”:
If you’re also looking to increase your capacity for self-soothing to depend less on validation from others, you may find these ideas helpful:
1. Make a “you” section in your daily gratitude journal.
Of course this assumes you already keep a gratitude journal to recognize and celebrate all the good things in your day. If you don’t, you can still take a few minutes every day to give yourself some credit.
Note down the things you’ve done well, the choices you’ve made that you’re proud of, the progress you’ve made, and even the things that required no action at all—for example, the time you gave yourself to simply be.
When you regularly praise yourself, self-validation becomes a habit you can depend on when you need it the most.
2. Before seeking external validation, ask yourself, “What do I hope that person tells me?” Then tell it to yourself.
Odds are you aren’t always looking for someone’s advice or opinion when you come to them with a painful story. You’re looking for them to confirm you didn’t do anything wrong—or that, if you did, you’re not a bad person for it.
Essentially, you’re looking for someone else to see the best in you and believe in you. Give yourself what you’re seeking from them before making that call. Then by all means, make it if you want to.
The goal isn’t to stop reaching out to others. It’s to also be there for yourself. Do that first.
The words you want to hear from someone else will be far more powerful if you fully believe what they’re saying.
3. Recognize when you’re judging your feelings.
If you’re in the habit of feeling bad about feeling down, or feeling bad about feeling insecure—or generally having emotional reactions to emotions—you will inevitably end up feeling stuck and helpless.
Get in the habit of telling yourself, “I have a right to feel how I feel.” This will help you understand your feelings and work through them much more easily, because you won’t be so deeply embedded in negativity about yourself.
Once you’ve accepted your feelings, you’ll then be free to seek support for the actual problem—not your self-judgment about having to deal with it.
4. See yourself as the parent to the child version of you.
I know this one might sound odd—bear with me! Many of us didn’t receive the type of love, support, and kindness we needed growing up, and this may have taught us to treat ourselves harshly and critically.
When you’re looking for that warm, fuzzy feeling that emerges when someone you trust tells you, “Everything is going to be okay,” imagine yourself saying it to your younger self.
Picture that little kid who tried so hard, meant no harm, and just wanted to be loved and cherished. This will likely help in deflating your self-criticism and fill you a genuine sense of compassion for yourself.
Once again, this doesn’t need to be an alternative to seeking compassion from others; it just provides a secure foundation from which you’ll be better able to receive that.
5. Get in the habit of ask yourself, “What do I need right now?”
Oftentimes when we’re feeling down on ourselves, we feel a (sometimes subconscious) desire to punish ourselves. When we reject or deprive ourselves in this way, we exacerbate our feelings because we then feel bad about two things: the original incident and the pain we’re causing ourselves.
From Lee Sumner Irwin: “Stop Overextending Yourself to Please Others: 6 Simple Tips”:
Six simple secrets for embracing imperfection and honoring your needs:
1. Now thyself.
Follow these simple steps and, in one minute, you can get a tiny break from the pushy, critical voice in your head:
- Find a place of solitude.
- Sit down.
- Place your legs in a relaxed but fixed position.
- Sit up.
- Set your alarm for exactly one minute.
- Place your hands in a relaxed but fixed position.
- Close your eyes.
- Focus all your attention on your breathing.
- When the alarm sounds, stop.
2. Stop ‘shoulding’ on yourself.
How often do you hear yourself saying the “S” word throughout the day? This is a clue to places you may be unconsciously putting demands for perfection on yourself or others.
3. Know the payoff.
Even the most damaging behaviors have a payoff. If you did not believe the behavior delivered some value to you, you would not do it. If you want to stop behaving in a certain way, you’ve got to stop “paying yourself off” for doing it.
4. Enlighten up.
You can play life full out and at the same time not take it, or yourself, too seriously.
5. Take your turn.
Be bold enough to reach for what will truly fill you up, without being unrealistic. Once you develop the resources and resolve to believe that you deserve what you want, you will be able to step up and claim it.
6. Get off the psycho path and onto the scenic path.
Most of us are conditioned to think things have to be hard to be worthwhile. We habitually choose the hardest method, the most difficult path. How would your life be different if you let yourself off the hook and chose the way that felt easier?