The party season has come to a close and as we enter a new year the January blues can strike, weighing you down like a lead balloon. Your inner critic can pop up telling you about all the things you need to change and pointing out everything that is wrong with you. But maybe this year instead of letting that happen make 2017 a time where you practice some self care and work on that inner critic that we all have.
My inner critic used to keep me up at night constantly whispering in my ear that I wasn’t good enough. There were days I felt like a fraud in my business sitting in a room full of models and not feeling up to scratch. But no matter who we are or what we do we all have days and moments like this its simply part of being human.
What I have realized is that we all have an inner critic but how much room you allow it in your head is up to you. I allowed my critic to build extensions and manicured lawns and get far too comfortable in there. This inner harshness as I like to call it is really just a habit that you have worked hard on so now its time to create a new habit and take over his palatial palace with positive behavioral patterns that will force your inner critic to sell up and move out or at least just occupy the smallest bedroom in your house.
So how do you get good at something? Well you practice it right? Remember sports, dancing, music and all your other activities when you were young. You had to work at them and practice before you became good at them. Some people have a natural ability to be more positive and kinder to themselves just like some people are naturally sporty or musical but for the majority of us we need to work at it.
Practicing self-compassion and kindness can be difficult for a lot of people especially since as westerners we are taught that self-care is selfish. We have jumbled this message up and it has cost us dearly. Low self esteem, depression, anxiety and stress are at an all time high and they are just some of the side effects of little or no self-care. If you don’t give to yourself first how can you give to others? It’s like getting into a car that has no petrol every day and expecting it to run perfectly. This is what we do to ourselves every day and it madness. So start filling your tank with good quality fuel and help it to run to the best of its ability.
Here are my top 5 tips for stopping the madness and cultivating some kindness and compassion for yourself. Be careful though as it works and you might end up liking yourself, having more self-esteem and even loving life!
- This is a technique I developed a few years ago and its works great. (FIND IT IN MY BOOK HERE)
- The essence of this practice is to swap a negative thought for a nicer one. Becoming aware is the key so each time you catch yourself with a negative thought about yourself: stop it, catch it and change it for a new one.
- I have great fun with this even using my hands as actions to drive the message home deeper to myself.
- WRITE A LIST OF LIKES
- This can be a difficult one for a lot of people but stick with it. Write down three things you like about yourself and then about your body.
- If you are struggling then write down three things people have complemented you on. So maybe you have been told you have a nice smile, great legs, a fun personality, nice skin and so on.
- Read through this morning and evening for the next week and then write new ones and start again
- It’s the consistency of being kind to yourself and saying nice things that’s powerful.
- Try and focus on each body part and breathe into each one as you think of it
- LEARN TO STOP PEOPLE PLEASING AND SAY NO
- This can be so hard to do and I am definitely a recovering people pleaser who relapses from time to time but when people like you for YOU the energy and authenticity of the relationship changes. If you struggle with work colleagues and even family members just remember that it’s ok not to be liked by everyone and have constant approval. Once you work on your own self worth it will lessen the need for validation from others.
- Learning to say no and valuing your time is important too. Some people take advantage of a kind nature. If you feel guilty when you initially say no, that’s ok and completely normal. Its misplaced guilt because of a bad habit and it will pass.
- PROTECT YOURSELF, FORGIVE YOURSELF AND LIVE WITH INTENTION
- Protect yourself and surround yourself with friends not frenemies. As you grow you will outgrow certain friends and that’s ok
- We are so hard on ourselves so while its important to take responsibility for your actions its also important to go easy on yourself and remember you are only human
- Living with intention means living with purpose and passion. Don’t panic you don’t have to know exactly what this is but be healthy, be kind, keep trying and have fun along the way.
- MAKE CONNECTIONS
- We have some of the loneliest people living in the biggest cities in the world. We are social animals and wired for interaction and our bodies and minds instinctively know that there is something off in this digital age. Build a strong community for yourself and find your tribe.
- Also try and give back in whatever way you can. Helping others means in turn means you help yourself and is an important part of the self-love journey.