I speak a lot to my clients about being kind to yourself. I think in our eagerness to be liked and to please others we often forget that we are people too and that we can hurt ourselves way more than we realise.
Do you criticise yourself incessantly in your own mind? Do you think unkind thoughts about your appearance, abilities or behaviour? Do you set yourself unrealistic targets and then feel frustrated with yourself when you don’t achieve them? Do you hold yourself to higher standards than you would anyone else?
If you answered yes to any of these questions you’ve probably got an active inner critic. Your inner critic is like a bully living inside your head, telling you you’re never good enough and making you feel inferior to everyone else around you. Listening to the inner critic can be tiring and frustrating in the short term and in the long term it can wear us down and completely obliterate our confidence and self worth. It’s a lonely and scary place to be.
Here are some of my best tools for silencing the inner critic and learning to be kind to yourself:
- Therapy. Our inner critic is part of a construct in our minds known as conditioning. It is an obscured version of things we have learned through our experiences. Through therapy we can uncover some of our subconscious beliefs and learn to relate to ourselves with more kindness and compassion.
- Affirmation. Using positive language when talking about ourselves (out loud as well as in our thoughts) is really important when it comes to changing our inner dialogue. Training the mind to replace harsh words with kindness can feel strange and uncomfortable at first, but if you persist you will eventually become your own cheerleader rather than bully. Try thinking things like: “I believe in myself” or “I am doing my best” and see how different it feels to your usual inner chat.
- Nourish yourself. Treat yourself as you would treat someone you love. Not just with kind words but with action and gestures as well. Buy yourself flowers, give yourself time to relax, treat yourself to something you love or take yourself on a day out. We are all busy, but when we don’t prioritise ourselves and our own needs we are basically telling ourselves that we’re not worthy of being treated well.
- Set boundaries. Many of us are people pleasers and think that kindness means putting other people first. This is not the case. You respect others by respecting yourself. If you are constantly compromising yourself to please other people, not only is it depleting you, it is affecting your relationships as well and you may become resentful over time.
If you are suffering from “internal bullying” and would like to learn to be kinder to yourself, contact me to book a consultation appointment: