In my one-to-one coaching work, people ask me to help them with all sorts of problems, and particularly over the last few months, I’ve started to notice something they all have in common.
Here are some of the issues:
- depression, stress and anxiety
- distraction/lack of focus
- inability to switch off after work
- dissatisfaction in their work
- poor sleep
- poor health
- lack of confidence
- conflict with colleagues or family
The commonality is the root cause, which is almost always a lack of self-love. I think in the business world people sometimes feel a bit squeamish about using the word ‘happiness’, but ‘love’? Is that relevant in the boardroom? Well, I think it’s at the heart of the matter (excuse the pun).
Problems caused by a lack of self-love:
- Being frantically busy and working too much, in an attempt to prove your worth to others, which is exhausting.
- Taking things personally, which might lead to conflict with your colleagues, or anxiety.
- Rejecting or resisting your own emotions because you think ‘I shouldn’t feel like this’. This makes you feel worse: more stressed, anxious, sad or unhappy.
- Being very self-critical, which causes repetitive negative thoughts that might distract you at work or keep you up at night.
- Not prioritising your own health and happiness because you see it as selfish, which makes you unhealthy and unhappy.
- Not thinking you deserve to do a job you find satisfying, which convinces you to keep doing work you don’t like.
In fact, self-love is really just ‘love’. People who really love and accept themselves are able to see that they’re not separate from other people and from the planet, so they’re more loving to everyone and everything. They treat their colleagues better, they behave more ethically and are nicer humans.
‘It’s surprising how many persons go through life without ever recognising that their feelings toward other people are largely determined by their feelings toward themselves, and if you’re not comfortable within yourself, you can’t be comfortable with others.’
– Sidney J. Harris
These words, attributed to Charlie Chaplin on his 70th birthday, say it very well:
As I Began To Love Myself
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health — food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!