How To Be Kinder To Yourself (And Calm Your Inner Critic)

springtime

More and more in my daily life, I notice people are talking about kindness.  Be kind to others. Practice kindness. Get involved in random acts of kindness.  Be kind.  You don’t need a reason to be kind. And so on.

It’s wonderful to practice kindness!  But I wonder…..do you extend that kindness to yourself?  We can be so kind to others, and yet still treat ourselves as if we are worthless.  Why is that ok?

As children, we often create certain ‘beliefs’  from various situations and people in our lives.  For instance, I learned that if I didn’t do everything perfectly and be the perfect child, I would not be safe.  I don’t even think that was a lesson that was verbally spoken to me – it was a lesson that learned from watching the world around me, I think.  As children there are so many beliefs that we form to stay safe, to please someone, to gain attention…and when we can’t live up to those perfect ways of being, we develop this inner critic that constantly reminds us that we’re stupid, or not enough, or that we’ll never get it right….and on and on…

And so, while we seem to be perfectly able to show kindness outwards, it seems sometimes impossible to afford ourselves that same courtesy.  How can change this, so that we can learn to be kind and loving to ourselves in each and every circumstance?  Here are 3 ways to change your way of being with yourself:

1.  Accept yourself, just as you are, right in this moment.  Learning to be ok with who you are, recognizing that you are trying your best, and accepting yourself, right here, right now,  is going to go a long way in helping you practice kindness – toward yourself.  Giving yourself permission to Just BE can bring a huge sense of relief to our lives, and enable us to move toward more and more self kindness.

2.  Decide.  Wake up in the morning and decide that just for today, you will treat yourself with kindness.  Then, become aware of your  thoughts.  If it helps, keep a small notebook and write them down over the day.  Whenever you catch yourself thinking a troubling thought, stop yourself – and try to change that thought into a positive.  For example – I will never be enough becomes I AM enough just as I am.  Begin to catch and change each of these thoughts.

3.    Try to view your inner critic as a frightened child.  That frightened child has formed beliefs that might have served them when they were young, but are not serving you today.  Try to catch yourself  when you have unkind thoughts toward yourself.  Ask yourself, is this really true about me?  Or is this just a frightened child, trying to keep me safe?  If you can begin to view that frightened part of yourself as a child – ask yourself – would I speak to a child the way I speak to myself?

Start on the road to self-love by practicing these 3 small steps, with consistency.  Don’t worry if you ‘don’t do it right’ – the whole secret to travelling the road to self – love is loving and accepting yourself even when mistakes happen, or you’re not doing as good as you think you ‘should’.  Erasing ‘should, ought to, supposed to, have to’ and anything similar will be important on this journey

 

 

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Have You Met Your Inner Child?

i heart me

The moment I began to heal from my dark-night-of-the-soul was the moment I met my inner child.  She had the answers I had sought for most of my life – and once she felt safe enough to give them to me, huge waves of relief poured over me, and I literally began to relax into my life.

And, too, that was the moment that I realized that, for her, for this child part of myself, I was going to have to learn to love myself.  Because, in not loving myself, and in not living my life in line with what I deep-down knew to be true, I was betraying her.  And the thought of not wanting to betray this fragile child within me is what enabled me to begin to get strong again.

Because, you see, every single time I hated on myself – I hated on her.  And did she deserve that? Absolutely not.  She had already endured years of self-loathing – and that had to stop.  Believe me, it wasn’t easy.  And it took a long time.  There’s no quick  fix for years of abuse -self abuse or any other kind of abuse, for that matter.  It took dedication, time, and literally immersing myself in positivity.  With time and practise, I healed that spiral of self abuse.  And every single time I wanted to quit, or hate on myself, or tell myself the work I was doing was stupid or not important, I envisioned that tiny girl inside me.  Was she stupid?  Was she not important?  And I had to keep going – for her.

We all have an inner child, whether or not we call it that.  That child comes out when we are tired, stressed or angry, or have been triggered by something or someone.  I believe when we feel the purest joy, that’s our magical child inside.  Meeting and having a relationship with that child has been, for me, the most profound experience in my life.

Babystep:  Take out a picture of you as a child, if you have one.  (If not, remember yourself as a young child, picture her or him in your mind).  Does he/she deserve to be hated on?  Does he/she deserve to be told they are too ugly, or too fat, or too stupid?  If you were the parent of that child, how would you parent them – the way you longed to be parented?  Then do that.  Carry that picture around with you and every time you feel the need to hate on yourself, or tell yourself you’re not good enough, look at that tiny child.  And refuse to  abandon her, ever again.  Then choose love instead.  If you begin to do this consistently, your life will change. I know that from experience.