Hard, rejecting and demanding to yourself, but caring to others. Not allowing yourself to make mistakes, but when others are in the same situation you comfort and encourage them. Does this sound familiar?
Perhaps it’s time be more friendly to yourself. Because sometimes you also need comfort and someone who says: “It’s ok, I’m there for you.” That person could be you. That may feel a bit odd, especially if you’re used to degrade yourself if something goes wrong. However, you can develop your comforting side, if you are aware of it and give this side enough attention.
You may have never learned to speak to yourself in this way, because you missed someone to learn from. Your younger version has developed or acquired protective patterns that were needed at that time to survive psychologically, but at the moment it may only block your development. Try to find out what the child in you, who maintains this behavior, actually asks for. What do you need?
Break the spiral of negativity
Let the negative thoughts about yourself boil up from your mind and write them down. By giving them attention, you already made a connection with where they came from. Do a reality check and ask yourself the following three things:
- Is this thought true?
- Does this thought make me feel good?
- Does this thought help me achieve my goals?
These questions help you break the spiral of negativity.
The next step is to write a positive alternative that makes your negative thought harmless.
- For example, replace the thought: ‘I can’t handle this’ by: ‘I can handle this. It’s a great opportunity to grow. I am a valuable person and have enough power to handle this, but I also understand where this tension comes from. Let it be, it’s okay.‘
- Try to feel these alternative thoughts too, instead of just thinking. Imagine how you would comfort a child, and try to send those feelings of security and affirmation to yourself. Imagine embracing yourself, and replace: ‘I’m powerless and vulnerable’ with: ‘I have control over my safety and well-being.’
Something that’s so deeply rooted does not change in an instance. The more often you can express yourself as a loving parent, the faster it will become an automatism. So practice as often as possible!