Last week, Lynne and I met an AMAZING friend for coffee.
Invariably, as often happens with a group of women, the talk turned to our “perceived” flaws.
I say “perceived” flaws because that’s exactly what they are – perceived.
The older I get and with 40 years of wisdom to my name, the more I realize that…
We’re TOO GOD DAMN HARD on ourselves
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve sat across the table from beautiful, strong and successful women bemoaning the shape of their left butt che
Why do we focus so much on these “perceived” flaws? Why do we naturally entertain negative self-talk and criticism? And isn’t it CRAZY that we afford friends and family so much more compassion and objectivity than we do ourselves?
Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy
We’re our own worst enemy – you’ve heard this a million times but it’s true.
Our natural negative bias, which is that instinct present in us all that makes negative experiences seem more significant than they really are.
In other words - We give more weight to our flaws, mistakes and shortcomings than our successes.
Continual self-criticism is destructive both to your body and mind. Depression, anxiety, stress, fear, decreased motivation and productivity are all side effects of self-criticism. Negative self-talk often leads to self-medicating which exacerbates the downward spiral of negativity and self-loathing.
Being A Women And Self-Criticism Go Hand In Hand
It’s like self-criticism has become part of the manifesto of being woman. Society (Hello Facebook and Instagram – I mean you) subtly and often times, not so subtly, highlight our flaws, our shortcomings, our imperfections.
And we allow that to happen EVERY SINGLE DAY. We continually compare ourselves to this version of societal perfection. We put stupid amounts of pressure on ourselves to obtain this fake photoshopped, filtered ideal. And when we fall short, the self-criticism and negative self-talk take over - too fat, too old, too broke, too single, too ill, too lazy, too tired— the list goes on and on.
It’s time to change the god damn record and stop the self-criticism.
We need to commit to treating ourselves more kindly, with less judgement and more compassion.
It’s time to stop being so mean to ourselves.
Stop The Self-Criticism
I certainly don’t get it right all the time but with a little effort, these helpful tips keep me focused on self-love and compassion:
- Learn from your past. Accept your mistakes, learn from them and grow. Your past isn’t your identity and doesn’t define you or your future.
- Don't compare yourself to others EVER. You are unique, one of a kind so don’t waste your precious time trying to be someone else.
- Accept yourself, flaws, weakness and all. There is no one perfect and no one brilliant at everything. Accept your limitations and work your strengths.
- Ditch the negativity. Life is too precious and short to entertain negativity and gossip. Choose positivity EVERY DAY and watch your life improve.
- Love Yourself. Genuinely love yourself. Make time for yourself. Offer yourself the same compassion you do to a friend.
- There is no right way to do anything.
Thereis only done. It doesn’t matter what way you get there – getting there is the objective. Confidently blaze your own trail.
- Don’t listen to the doubters. Don't let criticism get you down or hold you back. Let it be your inspiration to show the world what you can do.
- Surround yourself with happy people who want you to succeed. Align yourself with joyous, positive and happy people who delight in your achievements and cheer you on the more challenging days.
- Trade negative self-talk for positive self-talk. Every day, compliment yourself. Acknowledge all the good things about yourself. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your child – with encouragement, with love and with kindness.
I See You, Not Your Flaws
When I look at someone I’m not looking for their flaws. If I give a compliment – I give it genuinely and because I mean it. And my natural instinct isn’t to talk negatively or load criticism on others.
I’m affording myself the same privileges.
And to the beautiful lady that sat opposite us last week, I see you. I see your internal struggles. And I know the pressure you put on yourself. You are strong, probably stronger than most. Trust yourself, believe in yourself, be kind to yourself. You are enough.
Co-Founder Pepper Hustle
P.S. Are you kind to yourself when you are struggling? What do you do to stop the self-criticism?