Think about the last time you looked in the mirror. How did you speak to yourself? Did you tell yourself you look beautiful, radiant and strong? Or were your thoughts a little bit harsher.
Would you talk to a friend, colleague or even a stranger the way you talk to yourself? Or better yet, would you allow anyone else to speak to you that way? So why is it okay to abuse yourself in a way you would never tolerate from someone else? The short answer, it’s not.
Look at the attributes you believe makes someone a good friend. Maybe it’s loyalty, affection or a sense of humor. Usually it’s someone who supports us with kindness when times are tough. The list could go on and on, but a friend is someone who would never beat us up emotionally or kick us when we are down.
Try talking to yourself as a friend would. Be patient and use a gentler voice. No one will ever be perfect, but you can support yourself as you work through change and give yourself praise when you make progress. Listen to your inner critic, but learn to re-frame what it’s saying. Instead of letting it beat you up because you ate a burger and fries for lunch, let it congratulate you on your healthy meal choices the other days of the week.
Our inner critic is not our conscious, but it does have the potential to be a kind of commentator on our behavior. It offers us observations on how we are conducting ourselves. While we may feel that negative self-talk is giving us a sense of control over our lives and motivating us to change, it’s actually doing quite the opposite. When we talk down to ourselves, we can start to feel anxious and ashamed which makes us want to crawl right back into bed or dive head first into a pint of ice cream.
Next time you look in the mirror, focus on something you like about yourself and praise yourself for your attributes. Whether it’s the great presentation you made at work, your smile, or your strong body, positive thought equals confidence.
Instead of approaching ourselves as a problem to be sorted out, self-kindness encourages us to see ourselves as worthy of care and support…the basis of any good friendship.