Do you speak to yourself with the same grace and kindness you show others? Or are you your own bully?
I was brought to tears recently when I saw a video on this topic from speaker and comedian Kristina Kuzmic. Watch it here:
The video is so brutally honest. The messages we tell ourselves can be harsh and hurtful. And it’s tough to confront those messages and realize just how damaging they really are.
If you struggle with self-love, if you’re your own worst critic, you are not alone. But it’s time to flip the script. Let’s start giving ourselves the same love and compassion we give those around us.
Don’t Be Your Own Bully
The world is tough enough already: financial stress, relationship troubles, health issues, and a world that sometimes feels like it’s on the brink of chaos.
The last thing you need is a bully. But somehow, that’s precisely what we find in the mirror. Our inner dialogue is filled with criticism, condescension, and disappointment. We say things to ourselves that we would never say to anyone else.
Think about how you feel when a child comes home in tears because they’ve been bullied at school. You’re probably furious, ready to contact the teachers, call the bully’s parents, demand an apology, and stare down that bully with all the rage you can muster.
Yet, the same rules don’t apply when you are your own bully. Instead of getting angry over the hateful and hurtful messages you tell yourself, you believe them. You believe you’re an idiot. You believe you are a terrible parent. You believe you are an unworthy, disorganized, lazy failure.
Can you imagine a child coming home from school, saying, “Bobby says I’m a lazy, unorganized failure,” and your response was, “well, Bobby is right”?
There are enough bullies in the world. Don’t be your own worst critic.
Talking to Your Inner Child
Perhaps the most powerful part of Kuzmic’s video is when she presents each woman with a childhood photo of themselves. Those pictures show smiling little girls, eyes full of fire and passion and hope. Girls who still believe in themselves and are ready to take on the world.
Girls who haven’t yet met their biggest bully: their adult selves.
When presented with these photos, Kuzmic asks each woman if she would say those hurtful self-deprecating things to these little girls. Of course, the women are brought to tears, unable to look at that smiling child and tell her that she’s anything other than extraordinary.
Maybe that’s the trick to self-love: remembering the innocent child within and speaking to her in an encouraging and uplifting way.
How would your life be different if you spoke words of support and affirmation instead of criticizing yourself every time you look in the mirror? If your inner dialogue was one of self-love rather than self-loathing?
The next time you catch yourself being your own bully, stop and remember that little girl you once were. She’s still inside you. Speak to her instead with kindness, compassion, and love.
5 Ways to Practice Self-Love
Changing that inner dialogue doesn’t happen overnight. It’s called “practicing self-love” for a reason: it takes intentional practice. But it’s worth the effort.
Here are five ways to show yourself more love and compassion.
1. Speak Positive Affirmations
Each day, look in the mirror and say something positive to yourself (yes, out loud.) Examples of positive affirmations include:
- I am strong.
- I deserve love and respect.
- I am resilient.
- I can do hard things.
- My ideas are powerful.
- I am proud of myself.
2. Meditate or Practice Mindfulness
Create intentional space where you can sit with your emotions and thoughts, and then focus on self-kindness. There are plenty of guided self-love meditations available online for free!
3. Practice Self-Care
Being kind to yourself starts with self-care. As women, we’ve been conditioned to believe that taking time for ourselves is selfish. But that’s a downright lie. Click here to learn more about self-care.
4. Stop Comparing
Too often, we determine our self-worth by comparing ourselves to other people. Social media has only magnified this problem, making us feel like we aren’t successful enough, that other people are healthier or more beautiful, or that we don’t have our lives together as much as the person on the other side of the screen. But comparing yourself to others is a surefire way to make yourself miserable.
Instead, practice gratitude for what you have accomplished and praise yourself for what you’ve overcome. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
5. Speak to Your Inner Child
In her video, Kuzmic says she’s going to hang the picture of herself somewhere where she sees it every day, to remind her to speak kindly to that little girl. What a great idea.
Perhaps the best way to practice self-love is to intentionally speak to ourselves with the same love, compassion, and encouragement we would give the little girl in that photo. Or the same way we would talk to our own children, friends, and loved ones.
When you notice that you’re being self-critical, pause and ask, “is this how I would talk to my younger self? Is this the way I would talk to a loved one?” If not, reframe your thinking, speak to yourself with compassion and kindness, and make your inner child feel loved and accepted.
Self-love is a process. It can be difficult to rid yourself of the bully within, but it’s worth the effort. Because you are incredible – and you deserve to think so, too.