It sometimes amazes and exhausts me how self-critical we have become. I say 'we' because I do not distinguish myself from this statement. I too critique myself, put myself down and pick on my imperfections. Is this healthy? No. Do I do it even though I know it is unhealthy? Yes. The answer we all need to ask ourselves is why do we do it?
I find that I often put myself down or criticise myself and others when I am stressed, scared, threatened or insecure. In a sense, it becomes a fight or flight reaction. We are reacting to something negatively to protect ourselves.
For instance, in every single one of these photos I look happy, energetic and lively. Little do you know that I am showcasing one of my biggest insecurities - my stomach. Am I fat? Nope. Do I have a chiselled six pack, most definitely not. I have a flat, very pale little belly and this little belly has caused me many tears and upsets of the years.
I uploaded a photo to my Instagram and in the caption I made a joke about my stomach, making fun of myself before others could get in first. Why? Well I have come to realise that whenever something is going wrong in my life - stress at work, lack of motivation, a fight with a partner - I take it out on myself. There have been days where I have focused so much on the negatives that I have not left the house, cut out my friends and family all to make myself feel worse. I guess I am so used to it now that I get in there and self-critique before others can. A form of self-punishment and preservation all at the same time.
Where did this get me? Absolutely nowhere.
Sadly, only through experience have I learnt that this kind of reaction, self-critique and self-punishment never works. It has never made me feel better about myself or lead me to combat what is truly bothering me.
Time, multiple tears and a few Bridget Jones movie nights later have I come to realise that right now is the best possible version of myself that I can be. Beating myself up and not accepting me for who I am leads to a sad, lonely and unhealthy life.
Don't get me wrong, I am sure I will still have moments where I am extremely self-critical but my focus now is to remember that I am doing the best that I can do. To make sure I actually do this I am going to focus on daily mantras that will trigger positive thoughts. I will leave you now with my mantra for the day, I hope it triggers beautiful thoughts for you too.
~ Be gentle with yourself you're doing the best you can ~
A little shoutout to my photographer and general happiness maker Mr Hickey (check out his bearded magic on Insta, I dare you). Thank you for being you and taking photos of me in front of giant blue walls.