Lack of self-compassion lies at the heart of so much of our internal pain, yet many of us continue down the road of self-deprecating thoughts despite the misery it brings us. How many times have you woken up in the morning, looked in the mirror and found yourself passing negative judgment after negative judgment upon yourself? If toxic messages flood your mind as you stand there staring critically at your reflection, you lack self-compassion. “My wrinkles make me look old. My balding head looks horrible. I’m too short, too fat, too skinny, or too tall. I hate every inch of my body. ” This is a horrible way to talk to start your day. The negative messages often continue throughout the day, ripping our egos apart piece by piece. We might tell ourselves, “ I can’t do anything right, it’s all my fault, why would anyone want to spend time with boring me.” We are sometimes our harshest critic, our worst enemy, and the least supportive person in our lives.
The origin of our negative thoughts can usually be traced back to our upbringing. We are often a product of how we discovered, interpreted and made sense of the world around us during our childhood. Our negative perceptions are the result of how we made sense of other’s actions and words. If these negative thoughts are not overcome, they linger and continue to warp our perception of ourselves throughout each and every day. Knowing this and acknowledging the negative messages that you tell yourself is the first step towards creating a happier you. You may need to remind yourself that everyone deserves to be happy, and yes that does include you.
The next step is to consciously change the way you think. The difficult trick is to notice every time you tell yourself a negative message, to stop yourself and immediately replace the negative thought with a positive one. These positive thoughts about yourself may be hard to formulate on your own, so you may have to ask someone who loves you and remember things that others have told you. Write down the positive things that others say and keep that list available and growing.
The next step is to change the comments into statements to yourself. For example, lets say you could not come up with one positive statement to tell yourself so you go to your mom and ask her, “What is it that you see in me that makes me lovable?” And she states, “I love your kind nature, your laugh, your company and I love that you are so compassionate to everyone around you.” You need to record or write it down. Then go home and write it so it comes from your perspective, “I am kind natured, I have a wonderful laugh, people enjoy my company, and I am very compassionate towards others. Therefore, I am a good person.”
Now, in order to stop the negative messages from playing like a broken record, repetition is needed in a big way. You will need to repeat your positive messages each time a negative one emerges. As you do this day after day after day, you will begin to notice the positive thoughts taking over. Through months of this diligent work, you will begin to feel the benefits of taking such good care of yourself. Life will feel more manageable, you’ll feel positive and more confident with all areas of your life and best of all you will actually feel comfortable in your skin, just being your beautiful self. As you begin make progress it can be helpful to add Martin Luther King Jr.’s words to your daily mantra, “I have decided to stick to love, hate is too great a burden to bear.”