There is something about this picture that speaks to me. I see a person who knows who she is, and can accept herself including her imperfections. What if we could all be that way? What if we could all accept ourselves and love ourselves unconditionally? What if we could quit beating ourselves up for all the mistakes we have made? What if we could stop obsessing over just one bad move we’ve made? What if we can stop judging ourselves and start treating ourselves like we treat our best friend? Can you imagine the positive difference that would make? Not only for us, but also for those around us.
ARE YOU AS KIND TO YOURSELF AS YOU ARE TO OTHERS?
More often than not, we can be exceptionally hard on ourselves. We say things to ourselves we would never say to someone we care about, or even a stranger. Yet, we don’t hesitate to tell ourselves:
- “I’m so stupid.”
- “How could I have been so dumb.”
- “I’m fat.”
- “I’m ugly.”
- “I’m a failure.”
If this sounds familiar, then maybe you need to start to re-examine how you treat yourself. If you are telling yourself things you wouldn’t say to your best friend, then it’s time to start learning self-compassion. (If you are not familiar with self-compassion, then I recommend you read my earlier blog on self-compassion here.) One of the best ways to begin learning self-compassion is to recognize your judgmental negative self-talk, and start replacing those thoughts with positive or compassionate thoughts, such as:
- “I’m not perfect, and I don’t have to be.”
- “I recognize that I am suffering right now.”
- “I accept and love myself just as I am.”
- “I make mistakes, and my mistakes don’t define me.”
If you find that you are having trouble telling yourself compassionate thoughts like in the examples above, you may be depressed or at risk of depression. When we walk around with guilt and shame, constantly beating ourselves up, we have an increased risk for depression and/or substance abuse leading to disruption in our relationships, work or school performance, and overall sense of peace and being. That’s when it is time to get help. Through self-compassion, you can learn to let go of your mistakes, learn to forgive yourself, and begin to treat yourself with the same tender kindness you give to your best friend.