You are probably familiar with the method of reciting positive affirmations in front of a mirror to try and improve your life. You simply stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself good things.
The mental critic is often the dominant voice in people’s inner world. “You’re wrong”, “You’re inadequate”, “Remember that bad day at work?”, etc. The critic always has something unpleasant to say, but as the saying goes, “Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time.”
It turns out that self-compassion is a much more effective approach to ensure we can improve and achieve what we set out to do. Another bonus is that when we are kinder to ourselves we are also kinder to others, win-win!
One way to start the practice of self-compassion is to calm the ever-present critic that tells you only mean things about yourself. Instead of thinking how many bad traits you have, maybe its possible to look at them from a more positive point of view.
Even if in some way the critic is right that doesn’t mean you can’t improve. As we said it’s easier to change yourself if you accept who you are, rather than when you are at war with yourself.
Another way to help transform the inner critic is through positive affirmations in front of a mirror. You start by saying nice things about yourself, ones that you truly believe.
In the beginning this could be awkward, but over time it will get easier. With patience and consistency this method can give you more confidence and help you to create a kinder inner world.
Maybe with time your mornings will look like Jessica’s, who likes just about everything in her life – “My whole house is great.”, “I like my school”, “I like anything”, “I can do anything good.” Now that is a power with which anyone would want to start their day!
This little girl is incredible, and we would all do well to take a page from her book on this habit.