The last time I ran a race with my husband, a photographer took our photo near the finish line.
Months later, we sat in our living room checking out this picture of the two of us huffing and puffing.
Our reactions were immediate, intense, and dramatically different.
On the one hand, I hated looking at the photo. It took three seconds to note all of the places on my body that looked unattractive or heavy. “How unflattering,” I thought.
On the other hand, my husband immediately noted that his arms looked more toned, and his legs stronger. He appreciated his running form.
Now, here’s the thing. We were almost the same in our level of fitness.
So, who had the better reaction?
Him, of course.
Where I criticized, he praised. And his self-confidence was better for it.
But it was a good thing. The contrast in our reactions forced me to pause and evaluate how I spoke to myself, and what I could do to starve that horrible inner critic.
It’s a journey, obviously. The way you think doesn’t change in a day. But these five ways WILL drastically improve the way you treat yourself.
1. Compliment Yourself in the Mirror
To change the relationship I had with my body, I began giving it compliments and praise every day instead.
Perhaps most importantly, I’ve also spent a lot more time thanking it for the incredible things it has allowed me to do.
2. Try Affirmations
Next, our thoughts are a product of our habits and our input.
I found this out first hand. After trying a challenge that included saying affirmations in front of a camera for 30 days, I found myself saying these amazing things to myself in REAL LIFE.
It was shocking to realize how well they worked, and how much easier it was to drown out the critic.
Read these beautiful self love affirmations for ideas!
3. Forgive Yourself
We all make mistakes. Yet some of us are able to move on from them faster than others. This is a huge advantage!
So, the next time you make an error, cut yourself some slack. Learn from it, but let it go.
4. Strive to Be More of a Friend
Consider this phrase…
“Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a friend.”
The idea has merit. If you find yourself belittling a mistake, your body, or your feelings, check yourself.
Would you let someone else speak to you in this way?
If the answer is no, it’s time to turn that negativity around and usher in the compassion instead.
5. Find Joy NOW
Some of us, (myself included), get so busy chasing dreams and striving for better that we forget to fully enjoy the process. We think it’s better to be tough on ourselves.
But life IS the process. There will always be another goal. Another dream.
If we can’t stop to live fully NOW, love our bodies NOW, and respect ourselves NOW, then we’re never going to find the joy and love we desire.
So, don’t forget to stop, be grateful, and experience joy right this second.
I hope these ideas help you on your path to silencing your inner critic.
Like everything, it gets easier with practice, and your results are most effective if you make them a regular occurrence.
I now have a kinder side that’s a lot louder than it used to be. And I’ll give my husband all the credit for this one.
“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”Louise L. Hay