Have you ever stopped to think about all the cruel things you say to yourself?
We call ourselves fat, ugly, stupid, or lazy. We tell ourselves we’ll never make it or that we failed for eating a slice of cake. We say we had better go for a run today, or else. Now think about your best friend- would you say that out loud to her? No, of course you wouldn’t! So why are you mean to yourself?
A big part is that we don’t hear what we are saying.
It’s a reflex “ugh, look how fat you are” when you look in the mirror, not words you hear yourself say out loud. We also tend to believe what we are afraid is true. These judgments inside our heads, therefore, are often expressions of fear.
The first step to self-compassion is noticing when you are saying these cruel things to yourself.
For a week, try writing down everything you notice yourself think. Do you notice any patterns? How did you feel before and after? Writing or saying these comments can help you see how destructive they are.
One important thing to remember is NOT to beat yourself up about saying mean things to yourself!
This just continues the self-hate. What I have found works best for me is to treat the voice in my head as I would a friend- yes, this can make you feel crazy! When she tells you that you are going to get in trouble because you made a mistake at work, don’t just take it and become a victim. Stand up for yourself in a firm but kind way, just as you would to a friend who is being rather bitchy. You don’t want to continue the bitchiness, but you want to make it clear that you’re not going to stand for that kind of talk. When you hear that voice berate you, say something like, “Thanks for your concern. I did make a mistake, but I’m learning from it, and I would appreciate some support right now.” (More on making mistakes in a future post!)
I guarantee this will be hard, especially at first.
It’s something that I have to work on every day. And at first, you will hear that voice just as frequently as you always have. But standing up for yourself, and affirming yourself, will stop the cycle of self-hate. It means you say one mean thing instead of continuing on for the rest of the day- which is a HUGE difference. Eventually, you may notice that you hear these doubts less and less, but they are also a normal part of life.