If you’re like me, you probably have some tendency to be really hard on yourself. And, if you have any children, they may have picked up on this habit as well. It is really common to be overly hard on yourself, and not treat yourself anywhere near as kindly as you deserve and need during your most difficult times.
In difficult times (and when things are going well), it is very important to practice self-compassion. An important aspect of this is trying to talk more positively to yourself.
When we judge and criticize ourselves for feeling the way we feel, dealing with things the way we do, or for not meeting an expectation we have put on ourselves, then it can significantly impact our mental health.
One tool you can use to help prevent this from happening is to replace self-criticism with self-compassion.
Easier said than done, right?
Well, for starters, the next time you have a self-critical thought, try replacing it with something more neutral. For example, if you’re telling yourself “I’m a failure,” instead try replacing the self-criticism with “I’m learning, I’m growing, and I’m allowed to make mistakes.”
Of course, it feels less natural to tell ourselves neutral or positive things, and we are more likely to question these thoughts than the negative thoughts, but remember that it’s ok if you don’t believe what you are saying at first. However, if you keep trying to engage in neutral or positive self-talk, then over time you’ll be more likely to believe it.
Just like the mind can internalize negative things about ourselves over time, it can also internalize positive things over time as well.
Give this strategy a try, and encourage your children to do the same. You owe it to yourself and your mental health.