As ambitious people, we often think about ways we want to grow.
But can only focusing on things you want to change, do more harm than good?
That’s been a BIG question for me of late.
And here’s what I realized:
- Much of my self-judgement is not my own voice. It’s a learned habit from ways I was criticized as a kid.
- The foundation of transformation is self-compassion and acceptance
You may think you need to beat yourself up to be effective and grow as a person, but consider how you’d talk to a friend or a young child you wanted to help.
(Hopefully) you wouldn’t tell them all the ways they suck; you’d acknowledge their efforts and meet them with kindness.
So why can we be so harsh to ourselves?
Research shows, a lot of the way we parent ourself is influenced by how our caretakers treated us.
If you were often criticized, blamed, ignored, or physically punished as a kid, you’ll likely treat yourself in the same manner as an adult.
And even if your parents were encouraging, you still may have received disapproval from siblings, peers, teachers and other adults in your life.
So when you beat yourself up, it’s generally a learned behavior and not always the most helpful response to the situation.
What’s a more effective way to change behavior than making yourself feel like shit?
And the path to self-acceptance is led by self-compassion.
When we meet ourselves with compassion, we can acknowledge we’ve done the best we could with our past circumstance and better understand our behavior.
For example, I noticed there were situations when I’d say yes, but didn’t want to.
In these situations, I shifted from getting upset with myself to investigating why the pattern existed.
I noticed my need to people please stemmed from childhood experiences where I wasn’t safe to express my needs or emotions.
So as an adult, I continued this pattern to feel safe and loved.
Once I understood the pattern, it was easier to give myself love and change it.
As you give yourself compassion, it’s easier to forgive yourself, change, let go of exaggerated guilt/shame and like yourself.
Because much of liking ourselves comes down to acceptance and judging ourself less. You can’t hate yourself into a version you like.
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