You stupid idiot, I can’t believe you did that? What did you do that for, twat? You should’ve known better, idiot?
They aren’t nice things to say to someone are they? But these aren’t things someone said to me, these are the phrases I said to myself, multiple times a day for 20 years. Sometimes I said them jokingly, sometimes I screamed them inside my head. I’m a peaceful person and have never really gone for violence, but woe betide the person who ever speaks to my husband or children like that.
So why do we think it is okay to bully ourselves like this? We know there are enough people outside our heads to do that for us, but still we continue to use hurtful, shameful, bullying language toward ourselves every day.
Just like a child who is bullied externally, these hurtful words wear us down. We say them so often we start to believe them because our minds don’t know care if what we tell it is true, false, helpful or unkind, it just lets it in. We repeat them over and over when even the slightest thing goes wrong until it is the loudest voice in our heads, the nagging self-doubt that says we can’t do that, we are useless.
As I mentioned, I spent 20 years tearing myself down. I never reached for anything outside of my comfort zone. When I started implementing the techniques below to change how I talk to myself, I changed my life – I never thought I would be able to practice therapy or start a blog but here I am and I can show you how to change how you feel about yourself by just changing the words you tell yourself everyday.
Today is National Compliments Day for my American cousins, and what more amazing way is there to celebrate, than starting the habit of complimenting ourselves every day. Us English as a rule could definitely use some more practice accepting compliments and the more you give and accept compliments with yourself, the more you will find you are giving and accepting compliments of those around you.
No one is going to stand on the side-lines of your life in a skimpy dress cheering your name for you (and would you want that when you are putting on your socks…..yay, go you!). But we can do this for ourselves. We can be our own cheerleaders.
When you make a mistake, catch yourself telling yourself off like some evil dictator and think, “if my best friend had done that, what would I say to them?” Show yourself some compassion when things don’t go to plan and soon you will find it easier. It will feel strange at first, but every time you notice yourself being unkind, stop, apologise, and reframe what you were saying into something you wouldn’t be ashamed to say out loud. The more you practice compassion towards yourself, the more you will feel compassion for those around you. You will have greater self-esteem and self-worth.
Now put on some Fat Boy Slim and go and Praise you like you should!