We love to beat ourselves up over the tiniest details. You make one misstep, and your world is suddenly turned upside down.

If productivity matters to you, then you can relate to this.

You set goals, but something doesn’t go as planned and you end up degrading yourself. Your identity becomes connected with what you do wrong instead of right.

I’ve been there. It’s something we deal with when we care a lot about our work. But having the awareness to see that you still have room for improvement is one thing. Constantly beating yourself over the head because of something you did yesterday is another.

What we tend to look past is the fact that our work — our creativeness — is heavily impacted by how we treat ourselves.

The effectiveness of what flows from us will inevitably reveal how well we manage the deepest parts of ourselves. Even the people around us will be affected by our self-care.

At the heart of our productivity and everyday routines, there has to be a point when we take a look at our current disposition and ask, “How am I doing?”

The external remedies we reach for aren’t what we think they are. They’re more like temporary distractions that only last so long.

The process of growth can only be enabled internally.

Chisel Away the Old Habits

You should know that there’s a pattern in your life by now. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, there are habits we carry with us. It’s easy to ignore them when we don’t know what they are.

Something is either building us up or tearing us down. And the best way to grow is to know what needs watering and what needs grooming.

The grooming part hurts.

It requires us to cut off areas of our lives that don’t belong. But because we’ve held onto them for so long, it’s not easy to let them go. We become attached to what we’ve always known without realizing there will always be a better, more efficient way. There will always be room for improvement.

I’m not saying you should spend all your time in your own head. Nothing incites more anxiety than a perpetual state of worrying about where you went wrong.

But you need to address your missteps, especially if you’re repeating them.

Perhaps we avoid doing so because we don’t want to think about our shortcomings. We don’t want to come to terms with areas of development that need our attention. So we move on, trying to find some quick fix for our mental instability.

It’s not out there.

It’s nowhere to be found outside of yourself.

We stand as malleable beings, capable of the most incredible feats. But we would rather throw away the chisel that rests in our own hands than use it.

We wonder why our work doesn’t “connect” with others when, the truth is, we haven’t connected with ourselves.

Do you really think you’ll be able to show unconditional love to others when you haven’t shown it to yourself?

You must open up to the dirt resting inside of you to reach higher levels of growth. Leaving the mess won’t solve anything, besides making you more depressed than ever.

You Pour Out What You Pour In

We generally associate kindness with showing affection to other people. While that may be true, kindness is also showing affection towards ourselves. It’s hard to genuinely care for other people when you’ve relegated yourself worthless.

You work hard. You put a ton of effort into what brings you joy. You shouldn’t hate yourself because you aren’t on par with someone else.

What you pour out is effected by what you pour in.

If you pour self-hatred, dissatisfaction, and negativity onto your identity, that’s what you’ll produce. People will identify you with those qualities not because it’s how they feel about you, but because it’s how you feel about yourself.

So how can you change that? By changing your habits. And that could look something like this:

  • Meditation— Moments of chaos resolved in an awakening of inner peace, relaxation, and being present. This is a time for stepping away from the busyness to take a deep breath and regather yourself.
  • Affirmations— You look at yourself in the mirror a lot, but what do you see? What you’ll find is your eyes are heavily impacted by how you think. If you view yourself in positive ways, your steps will land with confidence.
  • Smiling— Not only does smiling make your look more attractive, but it also helps your brain and body fight off stress. Including more comedy in your life is a great idea.

Everyone’s process looks different. Yet, the process is still necessary. The only one who can choose how to respond to circumstances is you.

Forget about yesterday’s mistakes. Forge new breakthroughs by appreciating the abilities you have at this moment.

You Are Not Selfish for Wanting to Heal

We all have scars from the past. For many of us, they’re more like wounds that haven’t completely healed yet. Sometimes we don’t give them the attention and care they need, though.

It’s not selfish to want to heal.

We tell ourselves the opposite most of the time.

Your efforts to improve your life doesn’t mean you don’t care about anyone else. It simply means you understand the cycle of effectiveness:

A better you results in a better us.

They can’t always see where your bruises and cuts are. Maybe you aren’t comfortable enough to show them. That’s okay. You can still take time to disinfect what has caused so much pain.

That means paying more attention to yourself, your habits, your thought patterns, and your attitudes toward who you are and where you see yourself in the future.

If you want to improve your life in all aspects, start by chiseling away at habits holding you back from improvement.

If you want to establish strong relationships that last, start by being kind to yourself.

And if you want to make work you love, start by loving yourself.

You can’t force effectiveness. It’s something that flows from the deepest parts of who you are. That’s why strengthening what you produce begins and ends with changing the way you treat yourself.

Kevin Horton is a 24-year-old photographer, student, modest bookworm, and wanna-be web developer with a new-found love for writing. He writes helpful words about creativity, productivity, and the enjoyably simple life.





Image courtesy of Bela cheers.