I spent last weekend with a group of teen girls at an empowerment camp, where I lead a workshop on “Being Your Own Best Friend”. Of all the topics I could have shared with the teens, I felt this was the most important. Why?
Wouldn’t you agree, that we, especially women, tend to be so darned hard on ourselves?
- When we get out of bed in the morning, we expect to resemble a model stepping out of Vogue magazine.
- When we make a mistake, we suffer from our own internal beatings for hours, days, even weeks.
- When do we really celebrate our awesomeness and successes? We don’t very often, because we tend to be too busy dwelling on our perceived weaknesses and failings.
Well, this sounds dire doesn’t it, and I do hope it doesn’t describe you, but sadly, it described me in the past.
Thank goodness I had great coaches who helped me get over this misdirected, automatic habit and here are 3 Tips to help you do the same:
1. Become aware of your Self-talk
Before we can change anything, we need to first become aware of what we are doing – often unconsciously – and what effect this may be having on us and our lives. Observe yourself during one day and write down the thoughts that arise when things are not going according to plan, when you are not at your best. What do you say to yourself in those moments? This can be a fascinating and perhaps shocking experiment. It was for me. It is amazing to discover the number of disempowering beliefs and thoughts that hide just below the surface, impacting your confidence and well-being. Check it out.
2. Practice Compassion rather than Judgement
With new awareness of what your self-talk really is, you will find many opportunities each day to make new choices. Instead of automatically beating yourself up you can now give yourselves compassion, instead of tearing yourself down, you can build yourself up. Instead of telling myself “I am such an idiot”, I could say things like, “I’m allowed to make mistakes”, instead of “I never amount to anything” – “I still believe in myself”, instead of “I can’t handle this”, “I will be ok, I’ll get through this.” Repeat and affirm thoughts that give you courage and confidence. Practice saying to yourself, what you’d say to a good friend and notice how relaxed and supported you’ll feel as a result. Relaxation makes for more resourcefulness, creativity and better problem solving.
3. Celebrate your Successes
Unnoticed by yourself, there may be many times during the day where you excel at something, attempt a new challenge, come up with a great solution to a problem, use your willpower to do something even though you may not feel like it (for example, exercise or stop yourself from eating the second muffin), make a difference to a friend, your company, a stranger, and on and on. What if you started to notice your wins and achievements and gave yourself a pat on the back? We all have a need to be validated and often we look to the outside for someone to validate us. What if that someone was you? Here’s a challenge for you. I invite you to write down and give yourself kudos for at least 5 positive efforts every day for the next 14 days, counting the small as well as the big feats. I’d love to hear from you, and how this simple exercise impacts your sense of self.
Let’s become empowered role models for our teens so they learn from us a new way of being – to be kind to ourselves and to own our innate worth and greatness.
Let’s be our own best friends!