Updated: Apr 14, 2020
I was just thinking about how exhausting it was when I wouldn't be kind to myself. I would think that if I told myself it was okay when I made a mistake that I would end up being even worse than I am right now. And that would mean that I would become lazy, unmotivated, more prone to making mistakes and the list goes on. What I didn't realize is that practicing instilling fear, criticism and belittling wasn't helping either. If anything it would be discouraging me to engage in that behavior again to prevent myself from self berating.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because I feel we are all or have been accustomed to this type of thinking. Where if I tell myself,
"I am so stupid for screwing up the speech. I have to better prepare the next time." or "I can't believe I forgot her name. I have to stop being so forgetful." or "I can't ever do anything right. I am such a failure."
These messages that we are instilling in our minds as situations come across start to really embed in our minds and become beliefs. What we are feeding ourselves through our thoughts are really powerful and it transforms us as people because we believe what we are telling ourselves and that influences our behaviors and lifestyle.
By being your own worst self-critic, you are actually hindering your own success, not helping it. Let me explain.
Let's say you failed an exam, you would probably be saying things like, "you are so stupid. I can't believe that I failed. If only I wasn't so lazy or stupid I wouldn't have failed it." And the list can go on. You are now ruminating on your negative traits and then feel bad and then when you can you just try to stop thinking about all of it. To be able to maintain some sanity and leave the beating up on yourself party, you don't think about that exam again.
That is what would happen if you were to be "hard" on yourself. You didn't give any thought to the actual exam itself and what steps you can take to do better next time. If you were to be more self-compassionate you would see the failed exam and say, "okay, I didn't do my best and that is okay. I know that it doesn't feel good and I want to say some harsh things to myself. But I won't because I don't deserve that. I will learn from my mistakes on this exam and aim to do better on the next."
In the second scenario, you were able to allow yourself to feel the negative emotions, accept them, and move forward. You then took the steps to analyze what you have done wrong to be able to do better next time.
Do you see how you have more means of success when you are self-compassionate?
Challenging those negative thoughts won't be easy at first, because you will be retraining what your mind has been doing for your whole life. Check out my post on developing self-compassion to give you an idea of where to begin!
BUT before you leave, take this moment to say one kind thing to yourself. Here I'll help you out:
I am kind.
I am strong.
I am enough.
I am brave.
I am good to others.
I am a good person.
Please comment below with how your journey to self-compassion began. And share this with those that would benefit from being more compassionate to themselves.