Many of us believe that we need to be hard on ourselves to succeed. There is a mistaken belief that if we just push ourselves harder, criticize our actions, or just pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, we will be motivated to do better. In our view, the reverse is true. We can improve ourselves most through self-compassion and loving ourselves. Here we will show you a few things you can do to create a more positive relationship with yourself.
Rethink Those Negative Thoughts
When we start to think negative thoughts about ourselves, it can be easy to spiral into a negative thought vortex where negative thoughts breed more negative thoughts and ultimately, a depressed mood.
There are many different types of negative thinking patterns we might use. Some common ones include:
- Black and white thinking– where we see everything as one way or another, with no in-between
- Personalizing– where we assume that we are to blame for anything that goes wrong (this doesn’t take into account other factors that don’t have to do with us)
- Filter thinking– where we choose to only see the negative side of things
- Catastrophizing– assuming the worst possible outcome will happen
When we can recognize these negative thinking patterns, we can then replace them with more helpful thinking patterns. If you are having a hard time getting away from your negative thinking, it may be a good idea to get out, literally. Take a walk, participate in a hobby, do something you enjoy! By physically working on something positive, you can minimize the negative thoughts.
Engage In Self-Compassion
Self-compassion is a little bit more than just being nice to ourselves, it also means that we accept that we are not perfect and that we make mistakes. We can’t have a good relationship with ourselves if we are overly critical of ourselves. Oftentimes we are quite forgiving to others in our lives, and understand that other people can make mistakes, but when it comes to our own shortcomings, we are much harsher than we would be to anyone else in our lives.
When we are kind and accepting of ourselves we can find better ways to manage our stressors and build more resilience. There are many ways to practice self-compassion. Much of it has to do with the inner dialogue we have with ourselves. One useful way to become more in tune with ourselves and foster self-compassion is through mindfulness.
Label Your Emotions
Sometimes when we are upset, it can be easy to slip into an “I’m fine” loop and try to reassure ourselves it’s ok, it might not feel that way. Or we may admit something is wrong, but still, attach vague descriptors such as “I’m not doing great”.
Emotional labeling can help us better understand what we are feeling, and why we might be feeling the way we do. There is quite a difference between anxiety and guilt, or anger and irritation. By taking a step back and naming our emotions, we can have better clarity on what exactly we are feeling, and from there we can work out the reason behind the feelings. Doing this will ensure we have the best relationship with ourselves possible.
Talk To Those Who Appreciate You
Social circles play an important role in our mental health. If we are around people who are judgemental of us, it can be hard to stop ourselves from joining in on the judgment. When you feel like you are in a considerable negative slump, talking to someone who appreciates you and your achievements, can help you feel better about yourself.
Make A List Of Your Good Qualities
Making a list of all the things we are good at is another useful tip. Keeping these things for later reading can be a powerful reminder of all our abilities. You may also ask that person who appreciates you to help! To have a good relationship with ourselves, it is important to remember our strengths and how far we’ve come to grow our sense of self-confidence.