Silencing this inner critic is something I’m working on, and let me tell you, it’s not easy. I’m sure you know that. The truth is, we all have something (or things) that we beat ourselves up about. But what if instead of tearing ourselves down, we tried showing ourselves a little compassion? What if we were kind to ourselves?
I’m pretty sure we’d be a whole lot happier. Agree? We’d probably also have a ton more self-esteem (since I’m pretty sure the only person telling you you’re fat every day is the one in the mirror) and our relationships would most likely get a whole lot better. Don’t believe me? A budding field of research says psychologists are finding that self-compassion may be the most important life skill, imparting resilience, courage, energy and creativity.
Think about it: Due to our always-competitive society, researchers speculate the tendency to choose self-punishment, rather than self-compassion, is on the rise. People often believe that punishing themselves will keep them in line and ultimately keep them safe. Unfortunately, self-criticism can lead to hostility (toward oneself and others), anxiety, and depression; these are problems that can handicap people from reaching their full potential. Not to mention, self-critics also report feeling like they have lower energy levels, and often subconsciously engage in self-handicapping strategies, such as procrastination.
Turning instead to the side that will offer a mental hug may sound soft or weak. And the most common fear about becoming self-compassionate is that it will lower performance standards and encourage laziness. But researchers have found that self-compassionate people are actually less likely to sit on the couch all day eating bonbons. It begins to sound like you are indulging yourself, but researchers don’t find that. People high in self-compassion tend to have higher standards, work harder and take more personal responsibility for their actions.
So how do you stop judging yourself harshly for not being perfect? How do you put an end to comparing yourself to others? How do you accept that you really are “good enough?” Here are 9 ways to start being your own cheerleader.
1. Invest in Yourself
Take half an hour every day to do something that makes you feel good and is good for your mind. Read a book. Meditate. And make sure your laptop and phone are far away…trust me, your Facebook addiction is not helping…
2. Replace Your Inner Critic
Fire that mean girl in your head today. Anytime you feel yourself thinking a negative thought about yourself, immediately replace it with a good thought. I know this is hard. But you would never say the things you think about yourself to a friend, right? So don’t say them to yourself.
3. Workout and Eat Healthy
Being kind to yourself is not sitting around eating what you want all day. Quite the contrary: being kind to yourself means respecting your body so that you take excellent care of yourself. Being kind to yourself means you are more likely to put good food into your body, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. And remember this also works the other way too – you won’t over-exercise or under-eat because that’s also unkind.
4. Take a Break
This tip goes along with number one in that you should take some time each day to disconnect and have your alone time. Whether that’s taking a bath, reading, walking the dog, or listening to a playlist full of positive and motivating music is up to you. So long as you can be alone with your thoughts, you’re doing it right!
5. Show Compassion to Others
Even if you are still faking it in your head, start showing more kindness to others. Find time to volunteer, and if you can’t do that, make an effort to be nicer and more helpful to everyone you interact with daily. You will feel so good, it will be impossible not to start treating yourself the same way.
6. Let Go
One of the biggest struggles I have is beating myself up and obsessing over things that I’ve done wrong or things that have happened in the past. It is truly unkind thinking because there’s nothing I can do anymore to affect the situation. It’s over. These kinds of obsessive thoughts are bad for your health so let go to become more generous, empathetic and emotionally stable.
7. Take a Small Step
Sometimes all we need to feel better about ourselves is to take one small action. Sign up for a yoga class you want to try. Research a trip you want to take. Set up a dinner or a cup of coffee with a good friend. Look into how you can grow in your career. Just start!
8. Know Things Will Change
Life does not remain constant as there is always a good day after a bad day. Do not give up easily, but fight for what is right. If you have suffered from a business loss, you can always work harder, learn from your failures and succeed. For situations where there seem to be no positives like if you have suffered a personal injury due to medical malpractice, it is easy to remain lost and negative. Let medical malpractice lawyer handle the legal proceedings and bring you justice while you work on establishing inner peace and accepting what has happened is in the past to move on in life.
9. Be Your Own Mom
This relates to tip number two because inevitably you will make a mistake. We’re human! And when we’re down, we like to kick ourselves around. Be a kind and supportive friend to yourself instead. Ask yourself: How would my mom support me and help me in this situation? And then do things and talk to yourself like she would!
10. Remind Yourself Why
If you’re reading this, you’re probably sick and tired of hating on yourself. So by simply knowing the reasons why it is smart to be kinder to yourself it becomes easier and easier to be kind to yourself and to take the time for it every day.
When you are consistently kind to yourself, you don’t need others to validate your efforts and boost your confidence because you can do those things for yourself.