Stop Being So Hard on Yourself! 8 Ways to Handle Self-Diminishing Thoughts
Have you ever wondered why you are so hard on yourself at times? Have you wanted to explore something new, like joining a new group you’re interested in?
It starts out with worry. You worry that you won’t be perfect; that your dress is wrinkled. What if you say the “wrong” thing and people don’t like you? You start perspiring… and it goes on and on.
Then, if that’s not enough, after the event you may do a “post mortem” personal evaluation. It usually includes an emotional kick to yourself because you didn’t do something “perfectly” or everyone was prettier, smarter, etc. So, you end up feeling lousy. We have all been there.
As women, we hold a great capacity to have compassion for others, yet it is hard to be compassionate with ourselves. We become our own worst enemy.
Through the years, we have been told that no one will like us if we hold our inner self with compassion, love and strength. And if you do, you are identified as “conceited” – a girl with a “big head.”
When building self-compassion, love and strength, it’s important to believe in yourself. Believe that you have the power to change. Believe that protecting your heart doesn’t mean diminishing yourself.
So what do you do about those self-diminishing thoughts?
Inner Awareness is Everything
When you realize you are on the rugged path to self-diminishment, take notice of the messages you are telling yourself. Awareness alone can neutralize the sting of your thoughts and feelings.
Don’t Judge the Messages
Judgment prevents us from seeing the bigger picture. You want to be able to step back and reflect. Be curious. Ask yourself why your thoughts are so negative.
Creating some distance without judgment will help you get a handle on what is happening and help you stay in charge of your well-being.
Make a “Place” Inside for Your Thoughts and Feelings
You can’t erase the messages because they hold a historic place in your life experience. You can, however, set them aside, and shift your focus to the present.
By focusing on something else, you don’t have to give these messages power over you. Remember, this takes lots of practice, and you can do it!
Normalize Your Feelings
Tell yourself that many people feel the same way. You are not alone. It’s true!
Be Compassionate with Yourself
Self-compassion is important because it allows you to heal the feelings of judgment and inadequacy you picked up along life’s journey. This time in your life is a great time to write new chapters. You are compassionate with everyone else, why not with yourself?
Stay Present in the Moment
Where your awareness goes, so does your attention. By using your senses, you shift your awareness to something in the here and now. For example, it is hard to focus on how terrible you are when you are listening to beautiful music or tasting and smelling a delicious hand-made piece of Swiss chocolate.
Have a Sense of Humor
Sometimes laughter lightens our heavy load of life. When the self-diminishing messages arise, counter them with a smile on your face. You can say something like, “Here we go again…”
Give yourself affirmation of love and acceptance daily. Do something good for yourself. Remember to celebrate the amazing woman that you are!
What do you do to handle self-diminishing thoughts? Do you think that you are sometimes a little hard on yourself? Please join the conversation below!
Ellen Bachmeyer, LCSW, helps women in their 50s 60s and 70s as they move through life transitions to create new meaning and emerge with an inspired life. She has been a practicing psychotherapist for over 35 years and has supported women with many transitions from divorce, to caretaking and grieving to remarriage, grandparenting and encore careers. Her website is Windhorse Center.