“Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.” – G.K. Chesterton
I write this post today for a girl that is just like me. One that tries really hard because in her mind everything needs to come out perfect. She doesn’t want to let down anyone in her life, so she walks on eggshells making sure she does everything everyone else wants her to do. She faces failure, becomes discouraged, and quits. There is a constant voice in her head telling her she is no good. All her fears derive from that need to be perfect. She wants to unleash her fullest potential but she is weighed down by her own self-criticism and heaviness. She is unable to fly. But, despite all this, there is a force within her screaming– its time for lightness and change.
My journey from Self- Criticism to Self-Compassion
I spent all of last year practicing being a good friend to myself. The process was great, I did many meditation practices, stated positive affirmations. A lot of great things happened to me last year so I was in a role… I was telling myself how powerful I was, how great it was to be me, how to stay true to me, all was smooth talkin’ and sailin’.
But, just when I thought I was getting good at being kind to myself, I woke up one day towards the end of the year and this cloud of negative self-talk cast over me. Just when I was on a winning streak, just when I believed in my power, my ego butted right in. The “you’re not good enough” voice was pretty strong that day and I remember being so angry with myself because I couldn’t believe a year’s work was all wasted. I was back to feeling mentally weak and heavy.
What I learned though…..
As I felt this heaviness rush over me I ran to my meditation space and pulled myself together. As I sat there, letting my thoughts flow in and out without judging them, It dawned on me that this self-kindness thing was daily work. Work that must be practiced even more on those cloudy days. The truth is we have to stay on our toes when we truly want to change things within us, things that are so engraved in our core.
I felt very compelled to eliminate self-criticism from my life because I knew how much it was getting in my way. Instead of working hard I was being extremely hard on myself which got in the way of accomplishing my goals. There is this amazing article I came across called, “Don’t Beat Yourself Up” which talks about the importance of self-compassion and how it makes people more successful. I highly recommend it if self-kindness is something you are working towards. It really changed the way I looked at everything I do.
How to Replace Self-Criticism with Self-Compassion
One of the things that have helped me with self-criticism is laughing at all the negative voices. For instance, next time you hear, “I am not good enough” laugh it off and either get back into whatever you were doing or state positive affirmations. Another very important idea to keep in mind is that you are here to grow! Growing comes with ups and downs. Somedays you will do great, other days you will fall on your butt and learn something new. I began to look at every experience as a learning experience rather than a “must be perfect or else” one. More importantly, I used a whole lot of guided meditations that helped me become more loving towards myself, softer, lighter. You can find these on YouTube, This is one that I like.