Self -care is about valuing the person you are, not just on the outside but on the inside too.
This might sound indulgent and might even feel like a selfish act but it is not. How can we help others if we do not take care of ourselves?
We sometimes think of self -care as the physical things we do like taking exercise and eating well and, of course, they do matter. We sometimes neglect, however, to look at how we talk to ourselves in our minds, to look at our “self-talk”.
When you make a mistake how do you talk to yourself in your head? Does your critical voice step in and tell you that you are an “idiot” or “clumsy” or make some other negative comment? If so, you are not alone.
When this happens, your negative self -talk contributes to your limiting beliefs about yourself and you begin to believe the negative thoughts and this begins to erode your self-esteem. Sound familiar?
A good way to look at your self-talk is to ask yourself the following question,
"Would I speak to my closest friend in the same terms that I speak to myself?"
You would not call your friend an “idiot” if she/he made a mistake, why would you speak to yourself in that way?
Noticing and replacing negative self talk as part of your day-to- day self-care takes time and practice. Our negative talk or self-blaming might be ingrained from childhood and/or from experiences at school or on social media, so at first, it is enough just to notice how we talk to ourselves. Are we kind and compassionate or harsh and judgmental?
Once you notice your self-talk you can begin to gain control over it. At first you notice it, then you stop yourself and replace the negative talk with compassionate self-talk. You might even start to notice when you do something well or a kind act for another person.
Take time to reflect on your kindness and compassion. This might sound indulgent but it is a tiny step to counter balance the negativity and high expectations that are around us everyday.
Why not celebrate your successes, however small? Why not be in the moment and notice the good about you? You are a human being and you matter. How you talk to yourself matters because if you can be compassionate towards yourself you can be compassionate towards others and the world needs more compassion right now!
Notice your self-talk. Are you kind or critical? This is the first step to making a change and of being kind to you.
Wear and elastic band and ping it when you catch yourself talking critically about yourself either out loud or in your self-talk.
Replace negative self-talk with kinder words about yourself.
Notice what you do well, how you help others,
Keep a journal and notice 3 positive things that you have done in your day. They might include small acts of kindness. The very act of writing positive affirmations reinforces the positive thoughts about you.