Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend who was beating herself up after a botched job interview. She was pretty upset with her performance and I cringed inside as I listened to her say things like, “I’m such an idiot. I should have been better prepared. I sounded like a fool when I talked about my 5-year plan and I’m sure they thought I was crazy. I’ll never get a new job with my lame experience.”
Ouch! On and on she went about how horrible she was and, as I listened, I thought about where she learned to be so hard on herself at a time when she needed comfort and encouragement the most.
Most of us have adopted the critical voices of past authority figures as our own. When we need a patient, friendly reminder to get back on track with an exercise program, for instance, we tell ourselves we’re lazy and unmotivated instead. Or, when we need encouragement to grieve and heal after a failed relationship, we berate ourselves instead for making a bad choice or not “getting over it” quick enough.
The authority figures who influenced us were simply repeating the same pattern from their elders. For generations most of us have been duped into believing that berating ourselves with harsh words will actually instigate positive change.
But they don’t.
They incite self-hatred, guilt, shame, fear, and paralysis. I don’t know many people who are inspired to make positive changes at the hands of these critical voices.
Here’s the thing to remember:
You will be with you longer than anyone else on the planet so why not make it a great relationship?
Louise Hay said this to me one day while we were writing You Can Create an Exceptional Life. To this day, her words serve as a loving reminder to put energy into new, internal voices – voices that encourage growth, that comfort us during tough times, and that nurture healthy, new behaviors.
Love is a far more powerful force for change.
This week, I invite you to adopt Louise’s reminder. Become a safe haven for your sweet self. You’ll be amazed at what happens.
Take Action Challenge
Catch yourself when you start using harsh words that undermine your success and turn them around. Tell yourself things like, “That’s okay, you’ll do better next time,” or “We all have tough days, let’s be kind and gentle.” You might even print out the statement from Louise above and keep it in view as a reminder to nurture the most important relationship of your life – the one you have with you!
This week’s video is another great one from “dancing Matt.” Be sure to watch the outtakes, too! He’s a riot . You can view it here. Thanks, Alexandra!