A while back I wrote a blog about learning to accept criticism from others with open arms. Now when I say criticism, I specifically mean constructive criticism, the kind someone who cares about you will give not the mean, nasty and humiliating kind. Often times we focus on accepting other’s criticism, but never think about how we, ourselves, are often our biggest critic. It cant often be hard to silence your inner critic, but in order to fully love ourselves we must.
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” ~ Louise L. Hay
So how does one stop harshly criticizing and start loving oneself?? Well this isn’t something that can be done overnight, nor is it done by just changing one thing – it is a working progress. One way of trying to reframe your negative thoughts into positive ones is through the use of affirmations. Positive affirmations replace negative thoughts with a more helpful positive one. They have a ton of benefits including
- Trains your brain to think in a positive way
- Changes how you think and feel about any situation and yourself.
- Improves education, health, and relationship outcomes.
- Produces pleasant feelings including an increase of self-worth and rational thinking.
Some examples include “I accept myself for who I am.” “I am on my own journey.” “I have value.” “I am worthy of love.” Simply put, when you are having a negative thought or feeling about yourself, try to flip it around and change it into something positive and start repeating that every morning, every day.
“Take care how you speak with yourself because… you are listening” ~ Unknown
I also found an article by Chloe Brotheridge called “4 Tips to Start Loving Yourself and Stop Criticizing Yourself.” These 4 tips she includes in her article help you refocus your mindset on happy and positive things about yourself, your abilities and your life. I have included her 4 tips below, and hope that you can start to implement them in your daily life and start increasing your self-love.
1. Speak to yourself as you’d speak to someone you love and want to encourage.
Would you tell them that they’re no good? Would you give them a hard time? I don’t think so.
Tune into how you’re speaking to yourself throughout the day. Once you become aware of a harsh tone, work on changing this to a tone that is patient, compassionate, and accepting.
Giving yourself a hard time isn’t effective at helping you to do your best. I like to remind myself that I’m doing my best, that every experience is a learning experience, and that I’m already good enough.
2. See yourself as your loved ones see you.
When I first met my boyfriend I didn’t believe him when he told me he loved me. I wasn’t able to see past my own self-criticism to see what he could see.
By imagining how he saw me, I was able to perceive myself in the way that he did—all the good points, the strengths, the sense of humor, the quirks, the vulnerability, and yes, the flaws, but on the whole, I could see a worthwhile and lovable person.
Imagine a person that loves you and picture them sitting in front of you now. Notice the way they look at you in way that lets you know that they love and accept you completely.
Now imagine you can step into their shoes and see yourself through their eyes, with love, care, and kindness. Notice all your amazing qualities and even all of your flaws, and send yourself a lot of acceptance for all of it. Now step back into your own shoes but bring with you this new perspective.
3. Make a daily list of the things you appreciate about yourself.
It could be that you’re a good friend, or maybe you always remain calm in a crisis. So often we’re programmed to notice our deficiencies and the things we lack. Challenge this instinct by noticing the things you appreciate instead.
Recently, I’ve appreciated myself for being a good listener, for making great cakes for my friend’s birthdays, for my willingness to work on myself, and for the fact that I can now do twenty whole pushups!
4. Remember that you are a human being and are therefore fallible.
You and everyone else on the planet are a work in progress. You don’t need to be perfect; you are always learning, always changing, and getting better every day.
Aim for progress rather than perfection. We are all doing our best with the tools and abilities that we have at our disposal. So give yourself a break and remember that you’re doing just fine.
I’d love to hear about the ways that learning to love yourself has helped you, or could help you. What strategies do you have for loving yourself more?
To read my previous blog, “Criticism: learning to accept with open arms,” click on the title of the blog to follow the link.
If you have a hard time positively thinking, feeling and viewing yourself know that you are not alone. If you are having trouble dealing with self-judgments, or self-doubt, give us a call to set up a free phone consultation at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378. Our Orlando therapists and Orlando Life Coach are experienced in helping you work through improving your self-love and reducing self criticism.