Let’s face it – there are times when the criticisms and opinions of others can lower the opinion we have of ourselves. I think even the most confident among us will agree that somethings, not everything, will touch a nerve in us. But what happens when we are forced to endure extended periods of negativity? Speaking from my personal experience, I can honestly say that it can creep my consciousness and lower the image and perception I have of myself. Perhaps it’s the same way with you.
In the last couple of years I’ve become a fan of the concept of pruning. To me, pruning is the process of shedding the things, relationships, thoughts and attitudes that fail to serve a higher purpose in my life. When faced with negativity, I get into pruning mode and disengage from the source of negativity. As I get older, I realize my first responsibility is to myself. My desire to live authentically, intentionally and wholeheartedly demands that I find ways to extract myself from negative people, situations, attitudes and even thinking.
As women we need to recognize that we deserve to give ourselves the very best and that may involve distancing from family, friends and other sources from which negativity may stem. We must do so because we recognize that to stay engaged with the source of negativity is detrimental to us. We don’t need to spend time with people that aren’t going to help us become our brightest and highest. Additionally we must realize that to live and be our best self, we don’t need to entertain thoughts or harbor attitudes that don’t help or serve us.
Many of us have mastered dealing with external negativity by simply choosing to ignore them or cut ties with people who thrust negativity upon us. However, dealing with the internal critic isn’t that easy. We can’t run from our thoughts and the things that float through our mind. Those thoughts that tell us we are not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, educated enough, we can’t do, we can’t be.
As I work with women in workshops or in coaching sessions, I’m often baffled as to why we we carry low opinion of ourselves. We can see beauty, goodness and great things in others, but we can’t see them in ourselves. We compare and measure ourselves based on the success and perceptions of others and often engage in negative self talk and criticism. Here are 3 tips for dealing with the internal critics. Don’t just read them, give them a go.
Embrace your imperfections
There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty. – Steve Maraboli
There is beauty in imperfection and it is important that you recognize this. Striving for perfection can be destructive and very frustrating. The things I’ve found broken and flawed in myself have made me vulnerable, relatable and approachable to others. My story of surviving and thriving after an abusive marriage has touched many women and opened up opportunities to speak, teach and share. My story is not perfect but it has impact. Stop holding yourself to ridiculous standards and just do and be your best, every day. Know that you may fail and stumble along the way because that’s just the way life is, but be kind to yourself, embrace your imperfections and just keep moving forward.
Consider your thoughts and how you speak to yourself
If you celebrate your differentness, the world will, too. It believes exactly what you tell it—through the words you use to describe yourself, the actions you take to care for yourself, and the choices you make to express yourself. Tell the world you are one-of-a-kind creation who came here to experience wonder and spread joy. Expect to be accommodated. ― Victoria Moran
We’re so accustomed trying to drown out the narrations we have with ourselves that we don’t pay attention to what we’re thinking about. If we paused to consider the thoughts that were running through our head we’d realize the truth, lies, biases, exaggerations and condemnations. Once we recognize them, then we can address those that need addressing and hold on to those that aren’t harmful to us.
Get over it
The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward. ― Steve Maraboli
Hey, don’t think because I’m writing this I’ve mastered it all. I still struggle with things and have to keep reminding myself to just get over it. It’s easy to replay situations where you felt less, hurt, used, abandoned, embarrassed or even shame but what does it really help other than to reinforce and strengthen those feelings? What’s done is done, what’s gone is gone. Grab any lessons from those situations or experience and just let it go.
Remember, your inner critic can be your ally or your enemy. Use it to help you with areas where you want to improve. Additionally, counter external negativity with truths, the things you know to be true about yourself. Happy Thursday!
Carlana Charles is the visionary and editor-in-chief of FemmePowered. She is a womanist, writer, speaker, story midwife and facilitator of meaningful and engaging conversations. When she is not working in or on FemmePowered, she can be found resting, baking, reading or scribbling furiously in her journal whilst sipping wine or coffee, sometimes both at the same time. She is currently working on her first book and hopes to release it in September 2017.