Yesterday, Polly Campbell guided us in a powerful lesson in being more kind to ourselves by not labeling everything we see or feel with judgment. Today, we are taking that lesson a step further.
Sit with a group of women long enough and you’ll notice an interesting thing. No one is singing her own praises. Instead, each woman around any given table is likely doing just the opposite, dissing herself, her looks, her abilities. And then there is an even more interesting observation to make. That one comment begins a tidal wave. One woman takes herself down and the defeat doesn’t stop there. The woman right next to her adds to the chorus until the roar of self-criticism is just too loud to redirect.
And, yet, deep inside we must know this isn’t helpful. We must know it doesn’t heal or motivate us. It simply limits us, places us in a box, takes us out of the game, keeps us from powerfully being able to live our purpose, prohibits us from being able to heal the world in the way we were meant to because we aren’t healed.
Self-criticism has no point other than to bind, defeat, upend us. There is no way to make way in “I am a mess”. That’s just muck, not information of use. The only way to move away from the defeat of self-criticism is to deliberately move towards the place of self-awareness and self-acceptance. And you do that by consciously making the choice to do so.
Today, gather three small jars or bowls and line them up next to one another. Fill the center vessel with change or dollars. Now, every time that you catch yourself making (or thinking) a negative comment about yourself, pay a fine (from the center vessel) and put it in the left hand vessel. This first part of the exercise is meant to raise your awareness about how often you engage in defeating self-talk and in the kind of self-defeat you embrace. Now, every time you think or say something positive about yourself, move money from the left hand bowl to the right hand bowl. Aim to empty your left hand bowl completely into your right hand bowl (and to then keep it empty) and then to fill your right hand bowl from the center vessel.
1. How did it go today? What did you notice you criticize about yourself? What are you beginning to celebrate by claiming it with your observations?
2. Can you continue to monitor your thoughts to move them away from criticism and towards acceptance and appreciation?
Remember your comment about your experience with this challenge enters you in the giveaways!
Excited about this journey? Want more? Pick up Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance for a year long plan and guidance.