I’ve stopped making huge New Year’s resolutions and replaced them with small, sustainable steps. I used to be an all or nothing kind of girl and I guess I still am—mostly. But I’m learning to give myself grace. Three years of intensive work and I’m still learning.
Most of us are our own worst critics, right? We tell ourselves things we wouldn’t dream is saying even to someone we don’t like or has treated us poorly. Here’s a healthy tip: if you’re going to say something bad about yourself, don’t say it in your head. Say it out loud. Better yet say it into a mirror. You’d be surprised at how hard it is to talk bad about yourself when you’re looking into your eyes. It’s like you’re insulting a real live person. And you are! When those kinds of thoughts cross your mind, try responding to yourself in the same way you would if a bully had been mean to your child or someone you love. Because that someone you love should include yourself.
Why so much negative self-talk, especially by women? There is the obvious social media and comparison reason. There’s also the well-meaning words said by a parent, relative, teacher, etc. that ends up hurting a child who interprets them without mature knowledge. People who are natural nurturers and caretakers frequently criticize themselves because they are treated badly by a loved one or someone with a significant role in their life like parents, etc. Alternately nurturers raised by amazing parents are preyed upon by those who use them up and spit them out. Whatever the reason, negative self-talk is not easily shaken. Our brain is programmed and runs loops of imprinted thoughts continually in the background where we are frequently not aware of them. Our subconscious mind processes 20,000,000 bits of information per second while the conscious mind processes 500,000 per second (Bruce Lipton). That’s 40 times more thoughts per second!
Please consider treating yourself as well and with as much grace as you treat others. Taking care of yourself will help you take care of others because you won’t be running on empty. “Put on your own oxygen mask” first so you can help those you love. It’s not selfish, it’s entirely practical.