I read a source which stated that ‘the average woman criticises herself 8 times a day.’ That’s more than you would ever drink tea over a few days.
Which, actually (unfortunately) isn’t that surprising. I do it. I know many others find themselves doing it too. It’s become a norm of some sorts. Embedded within our nature to be harsh on ourselves – more than we ever would to our nearest/dearest.
My question is, Would you speak to your younger self, as you do to yourself today? If you spoke to your friends how you spoke to yourself, would you have any friends left?
The answer is probably no. We’re incredibly self-critical and judgmental on almost everything we do. How we look; is our skin clear enough, does our hair look healthy, do we need to lose some extra pounds. How we speak; are we saying the right things, did we say it in the right way, do I look stupid. And how we work/operate; is our work good enough, am I progressing, why am I not. Criticising. At every opportunity. There’s always room for improvement. Change. Which is valid. But at what point does it become unhealthy/unhelpful?
Occasionally having asked yourself these questions (and I’m sure you will have) the response is no. Or rather that it’s not good enough. Neglecting the practice of self-esteem/confidence we as once young girls were taught to have. Which now, we happen to have so little of.
When you talk to yourself about something you need change, take some notice towards your choice of words. Is it loving and encouraging? Or harsh and critical?.
IMO, the words usually echo “Should” “Must” “Have to”.
Years ago, I recall finding myself sitting in an interview telling a suited stranger all these brilliant skills, talents and achievements I had under my belt. I work hard at what I want, I’m rather confident, I’ve attained one of the highest marks for English at A level, I occasionally go running which shows I’m healthy etc etc.. Which were all true. But how much of that did I believe?
Yes, I work hard but it doesn’t always feel good enough.
I may seem pretty confident at times but would you believe I can fake it.
I did get one of the highest marks for English, but maybe that was luck.
(Do you see the point I’m trying to make?)
As someone who’s fast approaching her 20s, who’s stood in front of a mirror and not liked the way the dress fit or stared hopelessly at a grade back in school wondering how on earth I can do better. To look better. To be better. I know that feeling, sometimes all too often.
To see yourself and not see all that you are/can do but all that you “should”, “must” and “have to” do. The words continue to echo.
Perhaps we’ll never learn to stop criticising ourselves. Like I said previously, it seems to be in our nature. But we can learn to turn down the volume. Adjust the frequency. Drown out the noise with words which encourage us. And teach those young girls, somewhere far away reading this or somewhere deep within; that she/(he)/they is/are doing fine and right now, that’s all that matters.
The question now is, whether you still give a sh-t about the young girl still inside you. The one that was once taught/encouraged self-esteem-worth/confidence.
There are times where I am my own worst enemy. I don’t intend for the worst but I certainly don’t treat myself with the same patience/kindness as I would do if it was a loved one/friend/child I was talking to. In those moments, I judge – that I will remind myself that none of it is necessarily important. That how I present myself now, and in the future is perfect so as long I am well and trying. If I’m working as hard as I can and doing what’s best for me, surely the only person to approve/disapprove of that, is myself.
Whether I find myself being self-critical isn’t the question, it’s how/when I do. And while there may not be much (or anything) soft-spoken to say to myself at that moment, I will remind myself that I am all I can expect of/from myself. Like I would do to a younger self. To a child. To a loved one. To a friend.