It’s hard. We aren’t set up for success as a society when it comes to embracing yourself and self compassion. In many ways, we are set up for failure. Social norms and societal expectations tell us who to be, how to act, and who not to be. We internalize those expectations and hold ourselves to a standard that is not only unrealistic, but unattainable. We set ourselves up for failure. And then self criticism and judgement follows.
As a therapist, I so often see this cycle of judgement and criticism erode self worth and compassion. It’s second nature. Find your flaws, criticize yourself for them, feel bad for yourself, think that everyone sees you for your flaws. How would your world look if you embraced who you are and lived your life authentically? I bet differently.
You can do it.
Create a life that reflects who you are, flaws and all, and living that life authentically. Embrace yourself. How can you start moving from this forced negative cycle to authenticity?
- When you start to criticize yourself for being or not being a certain way, take that statement and look at it in a nonjudgmental fashion (as you would if a friend made that statement about themselves). Often we treat ourselves worse than we would a friend. For the visual learners, envision the sky being your mind and a bird that flies through the sky as your thoughts. The bird flies through the sky without breaking the sky. It flies through and moves on. Your thoughts are the same. They don’t need to “break” your mind. They can come and go just as the bird does. If you don’t judge the thought and let it sit a moment and allow it to move on. Try it.
- Show up in your life fully. Don’t half ass it. Take the risk of being what feels right to you and notice the good feeling that comes of it.
- Perspective. Perspective can be a life saver. We often engage in faulty thinking patterns that promote the cycle of self criticism. Take a step back, outside yourself even, and take another perspective. Are you really a bad mom because you let your child watch TV all day today? Do you truly believe that there are NO good moms who have let their child watch TV all day before? Perspective can lower the intensity of your self judgement.
- Allow yourself to be proud of yourself. I know this is a hard one for many. You don’t want to be conceded or full of yourself. But conceded is different than self love.
You are worthy of self love, growing personally and living your life authentically, without apologizing for it. Being genuine and real in your life allows others to connect with you authentically and know you. We all have flaws, and we also all set high expectation and see things as flawed when they actually aren’t. Perspective helps weed this out. Everyone lives through times of feeling like a fraud, inauthentic, or disingenuous. Practicing embracing yourself is the antidote.
About the Author
Maureen Werrbach, LCPC is a therapist and the founder of Urban Wellness. Maureen sees patients at our Edison Park location. Maureen works with adults. Maureen’s specialties include EMDR, trauma, relationships, and entrepreneurs. If you are interested in working with Maureen, send an email today!