We all experience negative self-talk. We tell ourselves we're not good enough, smart enough, or thin enough. We don't make enough money, we don't have the right house, the right car, or the right clothes, and even if we did, we wouldn't look as good in them as the Jones' do.
In our modern society, the media is constantly bombarding us with images of perfection, but they're not real. They're staged and filtered and digitally altered to leave out the flaws. Nevertheless, we find ourselves constantly comparing ourselves to the supermodels in the magazines and the perfect families on TV who always solve their problems neatly in the span of one episode.
Our lives are not like that and we shouldn't expect them to be. The first step towards happiness is not striving for the unattainable, it's accepting the here and now. It's accepting who we are.
That's easier said than done, but a good start is to say to ourselves, "I am enough." We should say it to ourselves all the time, especially when we're feeling down. Happiness comes when we learn to love ourselves and the best way to make that happen is by changing our inner dialogue.
This will take practice, but the next time we catch our inner critic rising to the top of our consciousness, we can choose to change the conversation. We can decide to stop and tell ourselves, "I am enough." We can say it out loud. Repeatedly. We can say it until we manage to internalize it and really believe in it because that's the first step to believing in ourselves.
Happiness is internal. No amount of external accomplishments will make us feel better about ourselves. That comes from within.
Once we've accomplished that, the rest will follow, because when we love ourselves, we take good care of ourselves. We're more likely to engage in healthy habits, such as eating right and exercising, when we recognize that we are worthy of love and care, just the way we are.
From there, we'll usually find the rest falls into place pretty quickly. We won't necessarily start making more money, but we might if we realize we have the confidence to negotiate a higher salary for ourselves. Or maybe we'll realize a higher salary in a job we hate isn't what we want at all. Just admitting that can lead us on a journey of self-discovery that takes us to our dream job, even if we never realized until now what our dream job truly was.
Our personal lives will fall in line, too. Confident, happy people are drawn to confident, happy people. When we make the effort put those positive vibes out into the world, we'll find they have a way of finding their way back to us in all sorts of surprising ways.