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“You deserve your love and devotion just as much as everyone else in the whole world, and maybe more so than anyone else.” ~Buddha

Around this time two years ago, I was having a terrible time accepting who I was and where I was at in my life. I was single, battling to lose weight, unhappy in my work (and had no idea what to do about it), and generally dissatisfied in life.

I persisted in my efforts to intimidate and control myself in order to become the person I wanted to be and get the things I desired to have.

I couldn’t believe you had the audacity to speak or eat or do that. There must be something wrong with you,” and then setting very rigid restrictions for myself to adhere to, only to violate them with the same self-destructive behavior often only minutes later.

I was under the impression that the only way for me to get where I wanted to go was to force myself to go there. But it simply encouraged me to rebel even more against my own better judgment. I went back and forth between overindulging and being very frugal with myself in terms of my emotions, my body, and my finances.

I was going through some old photos when I came across one of myself when I was five years old. When I looked at that adorable young girl, I understood that no parent would ever let someone treat their child the way that I was treating myself, or let their child get away with the things that I was allowing myself to get away with.

When I took stock of the way I was living, I saw how severely damaged my connection was with myself.

At the same time that I was berating myself for “being bad,” which any parent or child knows to be the least effective form of motivation or cause for behavior change, I was allowing myself to do things that no sane parent would ever allow their child to do. I was allowing myself to do things that no sane parent would ever allow their child to do.

This led me to wonder: why do we allow our children to have good habits, but we don’t allow our own children to have the same harmful behaviors? Why is it that we find it so much simpler to set up our own rules than it is to actually observe them?

I was finally able to mend this broken connection with myself and start “parenting” myself in a manner that is beneficial to my well-being.

You will be able to overcome these self-sabotaging behaviors and put an end to the self-bashing if you hone your self-parenting skills and do this out of love and affection. This will allow you to create a loving relationship with yourself that encourages you to realize your goals and helps you realize your potential.

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1. Recognize your patterns of behavior and your routines.

Wait just a second. Pay attention to the way you talk to yourself, the way you eat, the way you take care of your hygiene, and the way you sleep. Which of your routines and behaviors are ones that you would not want your (inner) kid to engage in?

The following are some of mine:

Condescendingly addressing my own self-talk

Having ill feelings or thoughts regarding other people.

Consuming sweets instead of nutritious food

Keeping myself awake even while I’m exhausted

Poor table manners include looking at a computer or television screen while eating, which is considered rude.

Many times, the negative actions and ideas go hand in hand with one another. We label these practices and routines as “self-sabotage” and then verbally and mentally reprimand ourselves for engaging in them.

If you find yourself caught in the vicious loop of doing something that you know in your gut you shouldn’t and then mentally berating yourself for it, this is a sign that there is a significant issue going on under the surface of your awareness.

2. Determine the consequences that result from the conduct.

You will undoubtedly discover that these behaviors and habits prevent you from achieving the things that you genuinely want, such as having a physique that you love, doing a job that delights you, and having a wonderful relationship.

Every minute, we are doing actions that either get us closer to the person we want to be and the life we want to have, or they move us farther away from those things. The exact actions that you continue to give yourself permission to engage in are the ones that are preventing you from achieving what it is that you desire the most.

Get it straight in your mind that the behaviors you’re engaging in and the thoughts you’re having are in direct opposition to your state of contentment.

3. Recognize the factors that led to the formation of these routines.

Examine the behavior or thinking pattern carefully to see if it started out as a means to protect or care for you in some manner. The fact that it defies common sense or seems illogical is irrelevant to the discussion.

For instance, one of the behaviors that contributed to my downward spiral was consuming chocolate at ten in the morning. I had the impression that it was just about the sugar rush, but the overpowering compulsion to consume it on a daily basis indicated that there was something more fundamental going on.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that by the middle of the morning, the knowledge that I had an entire day ahead of me filled with work that I didn’t want to do in a location that I didn’t want to be made my heart sink with grief. When I truly looked at it, I saw that the awareness that I had an entire day ahead of me filled with work that I didn’t want to do made my heart sink.

See also  Does God Exist?

I wanted a quick hit of pleasure and a means to get away from the harsh truth, so I grabbed for the chocolate.

My purpose was good; I was attempting to take care of myself by providing myself with some comfort and some joy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the healthiest method to offer myself those things, and it came with the unintended repercussions of weight gain and sugar crashes, which reinforced a cycle of self-bashing and made it more likely that I would continue to berate myself.

As adults, we are aware of the repercussions that may result from indulging in a certain thinking or practice, yet we often continue to do so nonetheless. The goal is to either decrease the amount of discomfort or increase the amount of pleasure.

It is possible to be hedonistic, since many harmful activities, such as the sugar rush, the comfort, and the fulfillment, feel wonderful in the short term, but have negative implications in the long run. It’s also possible to be defiant; “breaking the rules” may be an exhilarating experience.

Finding the areas in which you take pleasure in participating in self-sabotaging behavior may be a huge step toward eradicating that behavior.

Be conscious of the fact that there is no such thing as self-sabotage; there is only self-preservation. Recognize that this behavior was intended to keep you safe, happy, and loved in some manner, even if it was done in error or if it is no longer serving its purpose for you at this time.

This was an unconscious method of parenting yourself, and now that you are aware of it, you are able to start parenting yourself consciously in a manner that is supportive of the person you want to be at this point in your life.

man wearing black crew neck shirt and black jeans
Photo by Andrew Neel on

4. Establish some “ground rules”

Rules are established by parents because they have the ability to foresee potential outcomes that their children do not yet have the maturity to comprehend.

When I think back on my upbringing, there were a number of things that were absolutely not up for discussion, which eventually led to the development of good habits.

One illustration of this would be the fact that every night, the four of us sat down together for supper. I never considered that there was another method, and as a result, the routine of eating supper while seated became second nature to me.

Think back to when you were younger and the “house rules” that your family enforced to regulate your conduct. Would it be beneficial to bring some of them back into your life at this point? Should you impose on yourself some of the “ground rules” that you teach your kids to respect?

If you have a habit that is extremely difficult to kick and that you are aware is harmful to your health, you may want to think about turning it into a “house rule.” It is a lot simpler to adhere to a plan when it is established that some aspects of it are non-negotiable. This eliminates the need for us to engage in the internal debate in which we try to haggle with ourselves.

Be sure that when you set your “rules,” you do it out of genuine care for yourself and not out of meanness or in order to punish yourself. Put a “because” in there. Even when we were younger, the explanation “because I told you to” was never acceptable.

Now that you know what the consequences of your actions were, you can better understand why the rule was established in the first place and what it is that you want to achieve in the future.

For instance, one of the “house rules” that I implemented was to avoid consuming sweets before noon. Every time I had a yearning for chocolate, I would tell myself, “You shouldn’t eat chocolate before lunch because it would make you feel nasty and it will make you feel horrible about your body.” Instead, have some chamomile tea, please.”

5. Hone your self-parenting abilities.

Consider your own upbringing, both with your own parents and with your own children, and try to isolate the aspects of their parenting style that served you most effectively. I’m willing to guess that it was a combination of being firm and consistent in the application of the “rules,” as well as being kind, patient, and understanding of the situation.

Make use of the helpful strategies you discovered in order to guarantee that you will adhere to your regulations. In addition to making them non-negotiable and include a “because” clause, you should also make it a point to praise yourself whenever you’ve managed to avoid giving in to temptation and stick to your own guidelines.

Have as much patience with yourself as you would with a little kid. Be kind and understanding. Have a talk with yourself if you mess up once; rather than giving up completely, you should talk things over with yourself first.

Gain an understanding of the motivations behind your actions. What was it that you need at that precise time? Find a way to give it to yourself, and remind yourself why it is so necessary to obey the “rules.” Figure out how to offer it to yourself.

What are the brand new “house rules” at your place? How is it possible to act as a parent to oneself in a manner that is encouraging and caring?

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