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If You Really Love Yourself, You Won’t Do These 7 Things

If You Really Love Yourself, You Won’t Do These 7 Things

Most people, if asked, would probably say that they love themselves. But when you start to look at how they treat themselves, a different answer begins to emerge. It’s easy to get caught up in the pressure to look, be and act a certain way; so easy in fact that we may act more lovingly towards others than we do to ourselves. I’m talking about societal, religious, family or peer group beliefs or pressure to behave a certain way, do a certain job or make yourself believe you should “be” in the world that might not align with who you really are.

The more time you spend trying to conform to everyone else’s expectations, the more lost and less loving towards yourself you may become.

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Here are 7 things you won’t do if you really love yourself – how do you stack up?

1. You won’t over commit.

People who love themselves know how to say no to a lot of things so they can say yes to the things that are really important to them. While people may try to guilt or pressure you into a yes from time to time, setting boundaries with time and energy is a great sign of self-love.

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2. You won’t be afraid to ask for help.

You know how to put down your cape. You know you don’t have to be all things to all people and you don’t have to do everything yourself. You love yourself enough to know when you need help or when you will be honoring and helping another by letting them get involved.

3. You won’t rely on others to make you happy.

Happiness is an inside job. If you wait for the perfect job, the perfect friend, a romantic outing planned by someone else – you may find yourself waiting to be happy. If you really love yourself, you will know what makes you happy and have things to turn to when other things are going as planned. I have a “Happy List” – a written list of things I like to do, from reading to going for a walk to my dream vacation. When I’m feeling less than happy, I grab my list and do something from the list. It’s up to ME to bring as much happiness into my life as possible, I can’t put that on someone else.

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4. You won’t compare yourself to others.

They say “comparison is the thief of joy” and I couldn’t agree more. Comparing your life, your job, your success to someone else is a recipe for disaster. Because you really love yourself, you know that what you see on social media is the edited, often glamorous version of someone’s life. You don’t have all the information and know that it’s best to focus on yourself and stop the comparison game.

5. You won’t second guess your decisions.

While some people can make decisions quickly and others deliberate a long time, people who love themselves don’t second guess the decisions they make that can’t be undone. If you chose to go skiing and wish you were on a sandy beach, you know that second guessing the choice will just make you feel bad about yourself. You learn from decisions and might make different ones the next time, but you don’t spend time and energy second guessing yourself.

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6. You won’t feel guilty for taking “me time”.

When you fly, they always remind you that “in the case of an emergency, put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others.” People who love themselves realize that that applies to everyday life as well. Taking some “me time” to do things you enjoy and that renew you isn’t selfish, it’s vital. You know that you are at your best when self-care is a priority.

7. You won’t beat yourself up for making a mistake.

You forgive yourself, just as you forgive others, for making mistakes. Many people put so much pressure on themselves to be perfect and then beat themselves up when they aren’t – not you! Because you love yourself, you know that you are human and that you can learn from your mistakes. You find the silver lining or the lesson and move on, forgiving yourself and focusing on the future instead of beating yourself up for something that happened in the past.

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Because you love yourself, you also know that you will actually do some of these things from time to time – and you will remember #7 and not beat yourself up. The best form of self love is self-awareness, seeing when you are being unloving towards yourself and changing course. Loving yourself doesn’t mean you are perfect, it means you take care of yourself, are kind to yourself and show up in the world as best way you can every day.

Featured photo credit: Marcy Kellar via flickr.com

More by this author

Tara Reed

Tara is the founder of Pivot To Happy, a site with resources for families dealing with a dementia or Alzheimer's diagnosis.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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