Think for a moment: How do you feel when others judge you? Does it make you feel good? Does it boost your confidence? Would you let someone treat your best friend that way?
Of course, you wouldn’t! It’s painful and downright mean.
So, why then, do you think it’s alright for you to treat yourself that way? Why do you let that incessant negative self-talk bully you and beat you down until you feel utterly defeated? Why do you let that nagging critic in your head strip you of all dignity? Do you enjoy it? Surely, you don’t.
The Difference Between Self-Critique and Self-Criticism
Healthy doses of self-critique can help you improve yourself and your life. As long as it stays objective, it can propel you forward and open your eyes to areas where you need to improve. It can be a force for good in your life. Harsh self-criticism, on the other hand, is counter-productive and erodes your peace of mind. Instead of helping you to move forward, negative self-talk robs you of all energy for improvement and slows any progress down to a crawl.
The sad part is, that negative voice has probably existed within you since childhood. For one reason or another, you’ve set standards for yourself that cause you to think you have to be perfect in order to be loved and appreciated. But what you really did is set yourself up for a constant beating. It’s time to stop. Quit being the victim and fight back!
5 Ways to Fight Against Negative Self-Talk
1. Bind up your wounds
If you come across a person who had literally been beaten up by someone, what would you do? Sooth them and gently bind up their wounds? So, why not do the same with yourself? Be your best friend and understand that being kind to yourself is just as important as being kind to others. Commit to doing something positive for yourself each day.
2. Take off the blinders
Looking at those who are the best at what they do is useless. There’s no way to win! Instead, broaden your view and get a new perspective, seeing your strengths and your weaknesses. And rather than always comparing yourself with others, focus on being the best version of yourself.
3. Stand up to the inner bully
Don’t let your negative self-talk blow your flaws and mistakes out of proportion. They are what your mind makes them. So, separate yourself from that inner bully, that nag, that perfectionist. Putting distance between the two of you will help you to be more objective toward what it says and shake off the emotional hold it has on you. Challenge your negative thoughts. Is what you’re thinking really true? Decide to look at what that voice is telling you as a fictional story, not valid feedback.
4. Change the tone of your self-talk
Try to minimize the negative and tip the scales toward the positive. That doesn’t mean you should lie to yourself, but you should make an effort to praise yourself for the things you do well and acknowledge your achievements, no matter how large or small they are. Each day, list five things that you’re grateful for, that made you happy, and that you did well and are proud of. And put consistent focus on positive self-talk – thoughts that describe how you feel, not who you are.
5. Embrace your flaws
You’ll only feel terrible if you keep dwelling on all the mistakes you make. Success doesn’t come from being a perfectionist. It comes from being willing to make mistakes. So, stop holding yourself to impossibly high standards. Accept your imperfections and your mistakes and see them as an opportunity to learn. Life is a continuous process of self-improvement. Your shortcomings can show you the right way to go.