Is judging yourself working?

Try self-compassion instead.

How does our self-compassion motivate us differently than our self-judgment?

Most of us are used to judging or punishing ourselves into action. This might sound like: 

“I’m so fat, I need to workout extra hard today.” 

“I’m such a loser, I have to figure out how to make more money.” 

“My life sucks, I need to find a partner.” 

“I’m a mess, I have to get this right.”

Whatever it is, we think mean things about ourselves in order to “motivate” us to do what we think we need to do in order to feel better about ourselves. “If I stop beating myself up, if I accept myself the way I am, I’ll get complacent and lazy, and never change.” 

We think we need to beat ourselves up in order to take helpful actions. We might be in a rush to get “over there” because we think that’s when we’ll feel better about ourselves. Beating ourselves up may have gotten us results in the past, but at what cost to our relationship with ourselves?

When we have a self-judging narrative, everything we do can feel punishing:

  • Instead of seeing a healthy plate of food that will nourish our body, we see a restrictive, limited diet
  • Instead of doing a workout and celebrating what our body can do, we see it as a way to punish ourselves for “not eating right”
  • Instead of staying happy in a new relationship, we find ways to prove that we’re not worthy of happiness
  • Instead of celebrating our awareness of how we negatively talk to ourselves, we beat ourselves up for beating ourselves up!

Kindness, love, and respect for ourselves doesn’t start when we hit a certain goal of ours. 

In fact, when we do hit that goal without doing the work of self-compassion and acceptance, the reward will likely be temporary and we might still not like ourselves the way we thought we would when we finally get “over there” by hitting that goal. It’s because achieving goals doesn’t create our feelings. Our thoughts create our feelings. 

Kindness, love, and respect for ourselves can start right now, exactly as we are. 

Decide that that’s possible. 

When we have compassion and acceptance for ourselves exactly as we are at this time, we can start making the changes we want to see in our lives from a place of care, love, and patience. 

It’s about our relationship with ourselves. So that in the long-run, we are where we want to be with ourselves and in our lives, loving and accepting ourselves along the way. No matter what.

Your turn: Are you open to feeling accepting of yourself as you are? If not, what’s getting in the way? What are some of the self-judging thoughts you’re aware of? What are some self-compassionate thoughts you can have about yourself instead? What would happen today if you found some self-compassion for yourself in a situation where you usually beat yourself up?

Feeling challenged by finding more self-compassionate thoughts? Book an exploratory session here to build your self-compassion practice.

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Work with me: Want to see how self-care is transformative and can help create a more meaningful life in which you start committing to yourself and show up the way you want? I can show you how. I offer first-time seekers a complimentary 60-minute exploratory session. Sign up here.

What’s on your mind? It can be powerful to learn from each other and our common struggles when it comes to our practice of self-care–or just being a human being. If you have something you’re struggling with and would like some perspective, share it here. Your issue may be chosen and addressed in the next post–it’ll be totally anonymous.

Not having it all together

No need to hide.

In the past, I wanted to portray myself in a way where others would think I had it all together. That I knew what I was doing. That I had everything I wanted. That I was “fine” and living a “fine” life the way I wanted to.

But I was hiding. I wasn’t allowing myself to be open and vulnerable. To be real and tell the truth. Why?

Patriarchal concepts, especially within my private equity job, played into my perception of myself. I used to armor myself, metaphorically, to put forward a competent, self-sufficient, capable version of myself who wasn’t emotional or sensitive. Who was there and could do the job no matter what, pick up the pieces for others–even at the expense of myself sometimes. 

I didn’t give myself space to be authentic, partly because I didn’t know what that even meant for me. Who was I? What did I want? What brought me joy? I didn’t know the answers internally–I based what I wanted on external, societal, patriarchal values of what I “should” want or have for myself as a “successful” person. 

I didn’t allow myself to be known because there were parts of myself that seemed unacceptable to me, because I thought they were weak. And I didn’t want other people to know about those parts. 

It wasn’t until I started therapy after going through emergency open-heart surgery that I had a chance to look more closely at how I was living my life, by questioning beliefs I held that weren’t actually serving me, to redefine what success looked like and meant for me, to understand why I had armored and hid myself. 

Through therapy, coaching, and deep self-care practices, I learned how to accept more parts of me, to start telling myself the truth about what I needed and wanted, about who I am. I learned how I can share myself with others in a more authentic way, to hold space for myself and for them to show up in real ways, not in people-pleasing ways. 

I continue on this journey and I get to learn even more about myself and others along the way. I’m passionate about sharing how self-care can shift us to a place of self-acceptance and eventually to self-love

Self-care is not just about bubble baths and massages–it goes beyond that, if we’re willing to see how powerful it can be. 

Your turn: What parts of yourself have you been hiding and why? How would your life be different if you learned to accept those parts of yourself? How might practicing powerful self-care help you show up differently in the world, for yourself and for others?

Go beyond bubble baths. Find out more here. 

Subscribe if you want to receive this content directly in your inbox.

Work with me: Want to see how self-care is transformative and can help create a more meaningful life in which you start committing to yourself and show up the way you want? I can show you how. I offer first-time seekers a complimentary 45-minute exploratory session. Sign up here.