Be Kinder To Yourself
If you’re your own worst critic, then read on.
Mirror image of Madonna kissing herself
Have you ever listened, really listened, to how you talk to yourself? If you could record your inner dialogue and then play it back, out loud, would you smile or cringe? Odds are you might even cry. More often than not, we’re our own worst critic. When we feel anxious or annoyed, we talk to ourselves in a way that we simply wouldn’t find acceptable from anyone else. I’m an idiot. I’m useless. I don’t know what I’m doing. I can’t do anything right. It’s time to be a little kinder to ourselves.



Many of us live with the core belief that we are just ‘not enough’ but we wrongly assume that criticism will motivate us to do better. It’s what leads to crash diets, self-sabotage, unnecessary shopping splurges, punishing hours at the office, or even the unending search for the perfect red lipstick – if I can just fix/find/own, then everything, including me, will be better, right?



Well, of course it won’t. It’s like dressing a deep wound with a silk Band-Aid. What’s needed is true self-awareness, which is understanding the core story you’ve been telling yourself forever; self-compassion – treating yourself with the same sort of kindness that you would a friend; and self-love – the unconditional acceptance of yourself, despite knowing everything you are and are not.



And it all starts with self-talk. This can range from giving yourself a gentle and supportive nudge – I can do this – to reframing a trait like perfectionism – I don’t have to get everything right all the time. It’s about using a tone of kindness and giving yourself the opportunity to make the best decision you can at that very point in time. You don’t need to murmur you’re magical into the mirror every morning either. This is about finding a tone that works for you. You’re more likely to believe yourself if you use language that feels real.



Need some inspiration when it comes to compassionate self-talk? Pay attention the next time someone you admire says something that soothes or calms you. Incorporate their words into your self-talk. Really tap into your emotions so you can understand what phrases and messages help you feel better.



Don’t wait until you’ve made a mistake to have a word with yourself. You’re only rewarding negative behaviour with attention by lingering on your failure. Distract yourself and move on to something else entirely.

Instead, really stop and notice when you succeed. Spend a minute congratulating yourself. Let your good work reflect on you. Bask in your own glow. Say all the things to yourself that you’d say to a colleague or friend who scored a big contract or reached an important goal. Sure, it might feel a little weird initially, but feelings follow actions. Slowly, over time, it’ll get easier and if you’re not already there, you might just fall in love with yourself. Imagine that.


Looking for a little more inspiration? We recommend 10 Inspiring Women On What Makes Them Feel Their Most Powerful