It doesn’t matter what anyone else says. It matters what you say. To yourself.
When you have finished reading this article I want you to do something but hopefully you will want to do it anyway. I want you to be nicer to yourself.
A little while ago during an NLP Coaching session I agreed with my unconscious mind that I would be nicer to myself. If you are new to NLP I promise we are not all wacky lunatics, think of your unconscious mind as where you get those ‘gut feelings’ from (that ‘there is something just not right about it, I can’t quite put my finger on it but there is something…’). My unconscious mind had been trying to draw my attention to the fact that I was really hard on myself all the time and as such, I agreed to be nicer. I, like everyone else, am on a journey to achieve new goals and live new experiences and sometimes we do not recognise all the progress/good things we are doing and focus only on the bad things. Being my harshest critic was not conducive to moving forward and making progress so I agreed that I would pay more attention to my ‘self-talk’.
I started straight away and my goal was to recognise every single time I said something unkind or judgemental to myself.
Now, I have always considered myself to be a nice person but as it turns out, when it comes to myself I am a bit of a b*tch! I had absolutely no idea how mean I was all the time – I was thinking really unkind things about myself more than several times a day. It was truly amazing to become aware of this and when I did I immediately thought ‘You would never, in a million years, judge someone else so harshly or ever say anything so unkind and hurtful – so why is it OK to do it to yourself?’ I also realised that I must have been doing it for a long, long time. Imagine someone had been saying unkind, hurtful things to you several times a day for years – how would you feel? Would you believe them after a while? Of course you would. It would be completely normal. The thing is, no one would ever do that to you, just like you would never do that to someone else – but why not? You wouldn’t do it because when you look at your family and friends you see all the great things and that is how we need to look at ourselves.
Something had to be done about this negative talk and here is what I did: I decided that every single time I was unkind to myself I would stop, I would ask myself if I could be sure that it was 100% true (internally depending on who else was around although I am a fan of talking to myself most of the time)and then I would always get a resounding no as my answer. Then I would change the previous, mean statement to a positive one. Let me give you an example:
The other day I caught myself in the mirror and thought ‘oh, you work out so much and look at your arms they look fat and they should look muscly’.
I asked myself if it was 100% true. It was not.
Then I looked at myself and smiled (I promise I am not insane!) and said to myself ‘your arms are really strong and they are getting stronger all the time. Good progress! Keep it up!’ I also then complimented myself on my nice outfit – what can I say, I got carried away!
Once I had done it I felt good, I felt happy and went about my day feeling positive. The effect that how you view yourself and how you talk to yourself has on you is immense. If you start recognising when you are unkind to yourself, stop and change that behaviour, eventually it will become more common for you to be kind to yourself than to be mean. And if you would always prefer to be nice to other people you really ought to treat yourself that way too.
So here is your homework – try it. Do it for a week and see how much better you feel. I guarantee you will want to keep the new behaviour.
PS. You look really nice today. And so do I.