Like parenting, Leadership brings many responsibilities, to the family which is your team. I’m not suggesting you activate the Parent-Child dynamic of being in the workplace. What I am suggesting is that your job is to bring out the best in your people. You are not in a position to bring out the best in others unless you give to yourself first what others need from you. To that end, and to be the best leader you can be, you need to love yourself more.
Without the ability to love yourself, be kind to yourself, forgive yourself or accept yourself, you are never able to give those gifts to others. It may be that when you feel good about yourself, your team thrives, but it will not last if you, like most of us veer between good states of being and not-so-good states of being. In other words, usually, the way we feel is dictated by events outside of ourselves and when we don’t love ourselves sufficiently, we are easily swayed by these external influences.
In this article, I’m suggesting some practical exercises which can help you to get under the skin of how you can love yourself more.
Using mirror work
There are a number of techniques which can help. The first is doing mirror work. “Mirrorwork” is a feature of the work of Louise Hay of Hay House. It entails looking at yourself in the mirror and giving yourself positive affirmations. It is very powerful and can accelerate your understanding of what it means to love yourself.
Our brain is not programmed to automatically give ourselves positive feedback, or empathy. The reason we can often be kinder and more empathetic with others, than with ourselves is that when we look at others the mirror neurons in our brain fire and prompt us into action. Unless we consciously observe ourselves, then we are more likely to stay mired in our misery and negative feedback. When we observe ourselves, we are able to give ourselves that best friend, loving regard and feedback we so dearly need.
The second technique is transactional analysis. There are a number of practices which can help you grow and develop self-awareness. The most pertinent here is the notion of I’m ok/You’re ok. This practice develops an awareness of the importance of acceptance of self and others: the ability to forgive oneself and others and to practice non-judgment of self and others.
Breaking down limiting or self-defeating beliefs
The third technique is about breaking down limiting or self-defeating beliefs. A belief is just a thought or idea about yourself to which you have attached yourself to. To do this you have to challenge these unhelpful beliefs and replace them with those which nurture you. You know you have likely acquired a limiting belief when you are either prevented from achieving something you really want to do, or life just isn’t working or flowing for you.
YOUR emotional guidance system
The final technique I want to mention is the use of our emotional guidance system. Our emotions are a complete and efficient way of telling us if we are thinking and believing in a way which nurtures us or sabotages us. It is a difficult concept to put into practice, but in essence, it is very simple. If you are feeling negative you are aligned with the nonloving part of you. If you are feeling positive then you are aligned with the love within you. Therefore if you are feeling prolonged negativity, you need to think again. The way to love yourself more is to practice getting out of negativity. Often this is achieved by reframing your perceptions or idea about a person or situation.
All of these practices will help to bring you back to the love which is always inside of you. Practising them will engender greater self-confidence. They will imbibe a positive affirmation of yourself as an individual.
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I help leaders develop self- mastery, helping them to become confident in their own inner guidance.
I collaborate with leadership experts, managers and HR professionals to help them get their own message and unique services and products to a wide audience.