Do you hear voices in your head? Mean, cruel voices that criticise you and make you feel bad about yourself? Voices that tell you that you are a failure, that you aren’t doing something the right way, that you aren’t good enough. That voice, my friend, is your inner critic and it needs dealing with pronto.
You would never speak to another person the way you allow your inner critic to speak to you. You need to learn how to stop the voice you hear on repeat like a broken record. You need to learn that it’s okay to make mistakes, after all, you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t let your emotions get the better of you now and then. You need to be kinder to yourself and learn how to practise self-compassion. But what is it?
Self-compassion is the art of showing yourself the same kindness and support that you would another person when they are struggling or having a bad time. We can all be guilty of showing the world a stiff upper lip as we put a brave face on things and bottle up our feelings and emotions. Instead, we should be telling ourselves that it’s okay to not be okay right now – nobody is perfect, no matter what they portray in person or online.
By practising self-compassion, we can become less judgemental of ourselves, embrace our imperfections and let go of the negativity that is dragging us down. Self-compassion is not about blame, self pity or making excuses. It’s about learning to care more about ourselves, banishing those feelings of shame and inadequacy. It’s about taming that inner critic and feeling better about ourselves. Sounds so simple when we put it like that, but ‘how do we do it?’, we hear you ask. Read on and we’ll share some tips.
Make friends with yourself
Treat yourself with the same care and compassion that you have for the people you care about. You already know that you can’t fix all your friend’s issues or take away their pain, but you know how to be kind to them and support them. That is exactly how you need to be with yourself.
Stop beating yourself up
Your inner critic has conditioned you to remind yourself that you are a horrible person, when in fact you know very well that you aren’t. It’s okay to feel upset, or sad or even angry and it certainly does not mean you are a bad person or a failure. Learn to live with the things that you aren’t so good at, just as you happily accept that you are good at things. Accept who you are.
We all have to do things we don’t enjoy from time to time. Remember to treat yourself and make time for the things you enjoy doing. Happy experiences that bring you joy release those happy hormones and we all deserve some of them. Banish the shame and do something you love.
Accept yourself, warts and all
You don’t have to like something to accept it. I’ve reached a stage in my life, for example, where perimenopause has damaged both my confidence and my stamina. I’m not happy about that at all, but I am learning to live with the fact that I’m now too old to burn the candle at both ends these days. My singing voice is never going to get me a recording a contract, but when I sing out loud my dog will always wag his tail. I am what I am (now there’s a song I’m happy to belt out at the top of my lungs!). Accept your limitations and instead focus on the positives.
We hope these tips will help you be kinder to yourself. The way you treat you will have an impact on everything you do, so stop being so hard on yourself and tame that inner critic of yours. Life’s hard enough sometimes as it is. Show yourself some compassion – you deserve it!