Sometimes, we can be hard on ourselves, always pointing out our mistakes and feeling bad about them. This is especially the case when we are engaged in difficult conversations or negotiations and when we have to give negative feedback. Self-doubt and self-analysis creep in. It is tough to completely stop this self-criticism, but we can try to make it quieter and be kinder to ourselves. Dr. Karola Belton, a psychologist, suggests some ways to be kinder to ourselves and tone down negative self-criticism. Here are 4 ways.
1. Pay Attention to Your Thoughts
The first step is to notice when you’re being hard on yourself. Try to ask yourself:
- When do those mean thoughts start in my head?
- What are they saying to me?
- Do they keep talking about the same thing?
- What makes these thoughts come up? Is it certain situations or particular people?
- Remember, your thoughts are like clouds passing by. You’re not your thoughts; they’re just things that come and go in your mind.
2. Be Kind to Yourself
Being kind to yourself is like giving yourself a hug when needed. Understand that everyone makes mistakes; it’s part of being human. When you’re kinder to yourself, you can see yourself more clearly and not be so mean to yourself when things go wrong. Being kind to yourself can also make you feel better about yourself, and that can make others like you more, too.
3. Say Nice Things to Yourself
Start noticing and celebrating the good things you do, no matter how small they are. When you do something well, say, “Hey, I did a good job!” This helps you focus on the good stuff and can stop the mean thoughts from getting louder. We all know there are benefits to celebrating wins and successes.
4. Try New Things
Doing things on your own, like going on an adventure or trying a new hobby, can help you trust yourself more. It’s like getting to know a new friend – yourself! When you experience new things, it makes you feel more confident.
Extra Tips to Be Your own Best Friend
Along with these 4 main ideas, here are some extra tips to help you be kinder to yourself and stop being too critical:
- Write in a Journal: Write down your thoughts and feelings. It can help you see what’s going on in your mind and change those mean thoughts into nicer ones.
- Change Your Routine: Doing the same things every day can get boring. Trying something different can make life more exciting and help you learn about yourself.
- Learn About Yourself: Spend time figuring out what you like, what’s important to you, and what makes you happy. This helps you understand yourself better.
- Ask for Help: Talk to people you trust about how you feel. They might see things you don’t see about yourself, and their advice can be helpful.
- Be Honest with Yourself: Be truthful about your strengths and what you need to work on. Knowing yourself better is a great way to grow.
- Set Small Goals: Instead of setting big, hard-to-reach goals, start with small ones. You’ll feel proud of yourself when you achieve them, which can quiet down the mean thoughts.
Ultimately, being kind to yourself and quietening those harsh thoughts is a journey. It’s like making a new friend – yourself! Remember, you deserve kindness and love, not just from others but also from yourself.