Today I want you to try to be nice to yourself. Yes, really. We tend to hold ourselves to higher standards than we do everyone else. We also tend to be less forgiving of our own shortcomings, mistakes, and flaws. Have you ever lost sleep over something that already happened? Ruminating on what you could have said and done differently, where you screwed up, and then continuing to beat yourself up creates a lot of anxiety. Not only does this make us more anxious, but it changes how we think about ourselves. If the dialogue inside your mind is critical and negative, this can greatly impact your self-esteem, willingness to take risks, relationships, and overall quality of life.
Our thoughts impact how we feel and behave. Our minds are powerful and can be used to encourage or destroy our confidence and growth. But you know what? Thoughts are just that- thoughts. We create them and we have the power to change them, creating new habits of thinking that are self-enhancing instead of self-defeating.
For today, here are a couple of exercises to consider doing to encourage positive self-talk!
- Write down your top ten accomplishments. These can be big or small, it does not matter. Don't judge them, just write them.
- Review that list. What did it take from you to accomplish these things? Spend some time answering honestly and taking ownership of this.
- What are your favorite physical attributes? Write them down, taking time to appreciate yourself.
- What are your favorite personality traits about yourself? Why?
- Do something nice for yourself daily, without having to earn it.
- The next time you make a mistake, practice love and acceptance as you would if a loved one had made the same mistake. Many of my patients find it helpful to write out this narrative to be able to see it in black and white.
- Start your day out with a genuine compliment to yourself.
- Practice gratitude, see this post for more on that topic.
- When someone compliments you, respond by making eye contact and saying "thank you,” instead of dismissing it.
- Answer the question, "If I loved myself more, I would ____". And take one small step toward that today.
Remember above where I said that we can create new, positive habits? A habit is something we do over and over again, eventually not even having to think about it. Positive self-talk can feel weird at first, especially if you are used to tearing yourself down. It can also take effort and work to practice. However, like anything else, the more you practice the easier it gets and these new habits will be created.