We feel hurt when others treat us badly but at times we are our own worst enemy.
Self-criticism is a bugbear that the majority of us deal with daily. Juggling negative thoughts about our efforts, our looks, and our general ability, along with a continuous feeling that we must do more, we are forever positioning ourselves as a work in progress. (One that will never be complete.)
If we cannot accept ourselves as we are right now in the present moment, we never will – regardless of how much we tick off our to-do list – there will always be more improvements to make, more tasks to complete and better things to be happening for us before we allow ourselves to be happy.
Here are six ways to stop criticising your life and become your own best friend.
1. Take Responsibility for Your Own Happiness
As humans we sometimes have a tendency to hold other people responsible for our own happiness. Of course this is a flawed and ineffective approach. If we leave our happiness in the hands of someone else, we can’t be sure what they’ll do with it. In a similar vein, if we blame others for our lives not being the way we want, we shift accountability, which only holds us back further.
We can spend our lives blaming our childhood, outside circumstances, or other people, for our unhappiness but it won’t change the situation. As I explain in, ‘This one Thing Will Give you Everything You’ve Ever Wanted,’ we are in control of our own lives and we always have a choice over how to move forward, no one else can do that for us.
Of course our patience, strength and endurance will be tested from time-to-time but it’s how we react that matters. Once we take ourselves out of a victim role and into a role of accountability, big changes happen almost immediately.
2. There is an Inner Solution to Every Problem
If I could offer one piece of advice to my younger self, it would be this: there is an inner solution to every external problem (so stop looking outside).
I look back at my younger years with bemusement; I wasted a lot of time agonising over situations on the outside world that would have been solved quite easily with my inner attention. To give you an example, conflict can be resolved very easily with a little love and compassion, just as worry can be resolved with inner peace.
3. Uplift. Don’t Tear Yourself Down
There’s no doubt that self-improvement is a positive step forward but it’s very different from self-criticism; when we put ourselves down for not being good enough as we are, negative beliefs are formed in the mind, which can leave lasting impact.
The more we criticise our own ability, the more we feel incapable of making ourselves happy – you could call it tearing ourselves down.
Whereas when we show ourselves the same level of kindness and compassion that we give and expect from others, we blossom in all areas of our lives. Call it a cliché, if you like but it’s true, we need to build ourselves up instead of tearing ourselves down.
Loving ourselves means putting an end to those self-depleting thoughts that cause havoc in our mind. The ones that disrupt our inner peace. The extend of which we are affected by the thoughts we think, especially when they are of a negative nature, is astonishing.
When we switch from self-criticism to self-improvement, we build confidence in our weak areas, and it all starts in the mind – we can completely transform our lives by changing our thoughts. Soul Analyse has created a free eBook containing 28 self-love affirmations, which will help change any negative self beliefs you may have, enabling you to achieve whatever you set your mind to – (get your copy here.)
4. Create the Life You Want
How much of your life is spent in auto pilot mode, just getting on with it instead of considering if what you are doing is really making you happy? Lots of people glide through life almost oblivious to the fact that they can have any life that they desire. But either through fear of change, or a lack of drive, they settle for a life that offers little satisfaction in return for all their effort.
If doing what makes you happy means stepping out of your comfort zone and stretching the boundaries, you can do it. If being happy means altering your self beliefs, so that you have more self-love, there are ways to do that too (you can get the free eBook mentioned above). There are plenty of ways to create the life you want, none of which cost a penny – it all begins and ends in the mind.
And let us not deny that being happy also means taking into account our burning desires – we all have them but how many of us even consider chasing our dreams, let alone put our plans into action? Once you work on your self beliefs, you will feel confident to achieve anything.
Your life can be any way that you want it to be and it all rests with you in how you shape it.
5. Put Yourself First
Sometimes it’s necessary to put ourselves first. Is it selfish? No. As noted previously, every person is responsible for him/herself, so we each need to care for our own needs – it’s an important part of self-love.
As I explain in ‘You Can’t Love Until You Love Yourself,’ I always encourage kindness but there’s a fine line between helping others and not caring for ourselves (because we are giving too much.)
Do you find it difficult saying no? Are you afraid of not being liked? Do you agree with doing things for others, knowing that you don’t really want to? Do you go out of your way to please people, with little appreciation in return? These are all indications that you could be lacking healthy boundaries.
It’s important that we set boundaries for what we allow into our lives and how we allow ourselves to be treated by others, and sometimes saying no and putting ourselves first is essential.
6. Spend Time Alone
Times of solitude are important for self-reflection and renewing our energy, which can be drained by the day-to-day running of life. Spending time alone is very different from loneliness, however. When we feel good about our lives and we have a healthy state of mind – i.e. we don’t criticise ourselves – we enjoy our own company and alone time is rewarding.
In ‘Fall in Love With Your Own Company,’ I talk about how the refusal to spend time alone can often be the cause of loneliness; being around other people too much can make us feel distant to ourselves once we are alone.
Take time out for yourself and learn to love the person you are alone with.