"You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” - Buddha
Think of the last time someone paid you a compliment - how did that feel? Pretty good right - (or maybe a bit uncomfortable) - but generally compliments and hearing nice things makes us feel good. Now imagine instead that you were to receive a criticism or an insult - you are likely to feel pretty awful right? - Then think about how you speak to yourself on a daily basis - take a moment to consider that inner voice that you use to talk to yourself and whether that voice is kind or harsh, compassionate or mean. If just one compliment can make us feel good and just one criticism can make us feel bad...just think how are you making yourself feel on a daily basis if you are telling yourself “you are too fat” “you are a failure” “you are not good enough at your job” etc..
Many people are incredibly critical of themselves. In fact they would never say out aloud to another person, the words that they use to speak to themselves. Yet - so much of our life experience is dictated by the words that we use to speak to ourselves. Out internal world almost matters more than the things going on in the world around us. It allows us to turn a negative situation into an opportunity, to see the good in others (when they have lost hope in themselves) - and to change how we are feeling on a daily basis ...think good thoughts and you will feel good - but think bad thoughts and you will feel bad.
A powerful question you can ask yourself is what kind of a relationship have you built with yourself? Are you quick to judge yourself, criticise yourself - do you set a higher standard for yourself than you ever would for others? Or are you king to yourself and forgiving of your mistakes. Are you treating yourself more poorly than you would other people in your life - maybe even than strangers or enemies? Or are you patient with yourself and understanding?
It is not your fault if you find that you are beating yourself up on a daily basis - often this is the result of having high standards, or of having had negative experiences in your past ...but it would be wrong to assume that you always have to be so critical - or that you have to settle for a life of beating-yourself-up and feeling awful every day. Most of your thoughts are just patterns of behaviour that you have learnt over a period of time, or due to things that happened to you in our childhood/early-adulthood. However, you can start noticing and then changing those patterns of thinking. You can decide today - to stop being so cruel to yourself and to start being more kind. It will take some work and some effort - and you may slip into those negative thinking patterns every now and again - but will time you can gently encourage that compassionate inner voice to speak more loudly and clearly (and that mean inner-voice to quieten down).
I at times notice myself slipping into a pattern of negative thinking - where I will beat myself up over something small - but then I stop and ask myself, if my best friend or someone close to me was sat opposite me with the same problem what would I say to them? This encourages me to be kind, to be compassionate, to be forgiving, to be loving - and when I am this way with myself - it makes it so much easier to treat those around me in that way too. So give it a try - because you, as much as anyone else in the world, (if not more than anyone else in the world) - deserve your own love, kindness and compassion.
The Food Psychology Clinic can help you to change the way you talk to yourself and enable you to be much more compassionate - contact email@example.com to book in a free 20 minute phone consultation.
“Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” – Parker Palmer