“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…”

I’ve encountered this saying at one time or another and it couldn’t be more wrong. Words are powerful and they have a huge impact on how we see ourselves, others and the world around us.

I was deeply disturbed while staying at a nice hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona. I normally get a good night’s rest while I’m traveling for work, however this trip in particular took a turn for the worse. It all started routinely similar to my past work trips – filled with successful client meetings and dinner. After a long, productive day, I was excited to get to bed early. I fell asleep around 10:30pm, but about an hour later, I was abruptly woken up by a couple next door yelling and screaming at each other.

I immediately thought to myself,  “oh great a couple’s spat! :-/” It was wishful thinking, that it would be a quick argument and they would soon make up and fall asleep. Instead they aggressively screamed and argued for over five hours that night. I should have wanted to pick up the phone and call the front desk, however I was paralyzed from exhaustion.

Instead I just laid there still, listening to the WHYwhy were they arguing? What was such a BIG deal this couple needed to raise their voices so loud that everyone on the floor could hear? I got the whole low down…It was an engaged couple and the woman felt unimportant at a dinner they attended that evening. The guy’s friends or colleagues didn’t acknowledge her and she wanted her fiance to stick up for her and he didn’t. But just like every story, there was more to it than just a lover’s quarrel that night…

“I f**king hate my life, I hate myself” – she said

This women shouted at the top of her lungs how she hated herself, her life, the fact that she was engaged to this man, and that’s when I became authentically curious and compassionate. Talking bad about oneself and sending HATE internally is the worst possible thing anyone can do to themselves. THE WORST. It eats at the soul, tears apart dreams, keeps people stuck, and takes people down a path they really don’t want to go.

Her words triggered me to familiar territory, I was in a relationship years ago and there was a night where we were in conflict and I blurted  cried out how I didn’t love myself. My boyfriend at the time gently responded by saying,

“Kalani, you have to love yourself before you can love me.”  

He was right and I knew I could no longer keep seeking outside acceptance and validation when who I really needed it from was myself.

IT WAS THAT MOMENT where my emotional journey began and I realized that I needed to shift my mindset. Loving oneself is the key to being able to love others and creating dreams. At first it was hard to understand what the hell “loving myself” really meant. I worked out, I ate healthy (minus the Mexican food I love so much), I didn’t do drugs or drink too much, I was educated, and successful. My previous thought was that people who hated themselves were drug users, addicts and needed serious 12 step programs to “help” themselves. I was wrong.

Loving yourself is about being emotionally and energetically connected.  Below are the top ways to tell if you’re being loving (or NOT) to yourself:

1. Awareness of how you speak internally to yourself

Thoughts go in and out of the brain all day long. Do you catch yourself mind chattering internally words like idiot, stupid, or loser when you mess up? Do you say disrespectful things to yourself and you’re not even aware?
Start paying attention to the inner dialogue, especially during challenging times. If you are giving yourself positive pep talks (you got this, I will do, I’m fully capable) saying words of kindness (like you would to a friend you love) internally, then that is a good sign you give yourself love when needed. 

2. Saying sorry when you shouldn’t

If you find yourself apologizing to friends, co-workers, classmates, teachers for the sake of feeling bad or guilty and it wasn’t a situation for truly taking accountability, STOP saying sorry. For example, you ask a question and the person responds but it’s not in a way you would expect it so YOU say sorry for asking that question… don’t do it. What you’re doing is diminishing your energetic self and telling yourself internally it was a stupid question when no question is a stupid one. Loving yourself is validating all questions you may have and speaking your voice to ask them.

3. Getting upset when

People either don’t respond to you right away or respond in a way that you don’t like. Seeking approval from others is a key sign you’re NOT being loving to yourself. It’s one thing to feel loved and appreciated by others, but if it changes your entire mood or day because the guy you liked didn’t text you back in minutes, or a family member doesn’t respond the way YOU want them to, look deeper and ask the question… WHY?… am I getting upset and write your thoughts down. Loving yourself means you are able to emotionally care for your mood and are accountable for what kind of day you want to create – no one has that type of control over you, but YOU.

4. Emotional inventory

How well do you know your triggers? It’s great to feel happy, joy, anger, sadness… having a human experience with all type of feelings is the journey. Take emotionally inventory inside your own body and what comes up for you while in a state of stress or being excited, FEELING how it impacts your body is the key to being connected to yourself. If you are continuously saying to yourself “I don’t know, I don’t know what to do, I have no idea…” You do have all the answers inside you. Change the words to “I do know what to do or I have ideas” even if you FEEL like you don’t quite know… saying you do until you start to feel a change in your emotional state will guide you to the answers you need. 

There are many more ways to identify if you are being loving to yourself, the above methods are a great place to start. If you want the best career opportunities and life possible, loving yourself and being open to receiving and maximizing your gifts are all important elements to making it happen.

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