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Why you need to stop being mean to yourself (why self-criticism is not the way to self-love)

Here's something I've noticed that we do that isn't all that useful, and that is to believe that our inner critic, your self-criticism, the voice that is very happy to tell you all of the things that you've done wrong, all the things you're likely to get wrong and remind you of all of the other times that you've made mistakes... I've noticed that we believe that that voice is the authentic barometer of reason. These insults and criticisms and the general meanness that falls into our brain, if you're anything like me... on the regular, like most of us on the common, that this stuff is like some sort of metric of our value, of our worth and this is some sort of scientific insight about us as a person. These voices tell us that we are not getting things right and stack up all of our mistakes as evidence that we are deeply flawed as a being, that this is somehow the most honest version of any story that anyone has ever told about us.

And with all the love in my heart, I want to call bullshit on your brain. I'd essential to remember that all of the stuff that we tell ourselves and what we do is learnt. These are learnt behaviours; these are known voices. This is known messaging.

You don't pop out of the womb thinking that you don't have the capacity to finish a task, you're just the kind of person who is late, or you can't handle long-term relationships, or commitment is something you're afraid of. This stuff is taught to us from experiences around us, people around us, different voices and messaging, and society, and it is just one story and just one perspective.

And sometimes taking a step back and just pausing and using what I like to use call as a calculated use of commas, maybe your brain might tell you that you're a complete and utter failure, but just adding a little comma of. "what else could be true, what else could be possible?" "Is that always true?" "Is that factual?" Anything you can add as a little suffix to just slide in an element of curiosity into some of these little brain demons out to get us can help cause a little pause. And it is in that pause of interest, sometimes we can crack things open enough to allow a little more kindness.

The number of people I hear say things like, "Oh, I'd never speak to somebody else the way that I speak to myself". And it's such a sort of throwaway phrase, but how many of us have stopped to go, okay, "so I'd never speak to someone else like that, and therefore I'm going to try and stop speaking to myself like this" or even on a bigger world view stage of going: The amount of cruelty that we can quite often speak to ourselves with infinitely adds to the cruelty in the world. And we don't need any more of that. The world needs more kindness. And if we are not willing to do this internally, how will we sort out some of these more significant world problems? How can you go into a situation where you're looking at a war zone and asking someone to forgive someone for taking their land, harming their family, or stealing their heritage when you can't even work out how just to pause and be kind to yourself?

It is our well-being, and how we speak to ourselves is united with how we make a more peaceful world and society and create a bigger picture of more kindness for all of us.

And that phrase "it all starts at home" or "you need to clear your doorstep first" comes down to how we speak to ourselves in our heads, and it sounds like a vast, pressured thing. "I just want to be kind to myself", "People are always telling me I should be kinder to myself", and "I need to speak to myself with more kindness", But just taking it down to that pause of a comma, "I said something which wasn't gracious about myself, my actions and outcome of something that I did. And what else could also be true? What else could also be possible here? What else could be allowed here?"

You can do that. It is all within your power to create more kindness in the world.

And it starts in your head with how you speak to yourself. This has been this week's lesson. I've been doing a lot of hand gestures. I'm sure you can hear them. If you can't, you can see how I look at you right now.

Be kinder. It's important, and we all need it. And it starts with the way that you speak to yourself.

That also means you're not allowed to be a dick to yourself because you're not being kind enough, yeah? You need to watch out for that one too.

Want any tips and tricks with this stuff? Come along to one of the courses. I hope this has been useful. See you next week.


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