Most of us have an overactive inner critic. This can make it challenging to give our self credit for what we are doing right, and instead have us focus on all the ways we feel we fall short. Even recognizing our admirable traits and characteristics makes some of us nervous, like our ego is too big. Appreciation and compliments can make us uncomfortable, and we often minimize or downplay our efforts.
So, how can you quiet your inner critic and embrace and honor your great traits? One of the ways is to learn to appreciate yourself, which includes not only accepting our faults but also acknowledging our strengths.
According to LifeHack, “To love yourself is to experience freedom – freedom from doubt, self-hate, and oppression created by you. To love yourself is no longer holding yourself back from what you deserve. To love yourself is to grow and enjoy your life. Self-love is a necessity if you want to live a comfortable life. Self-love is a choice, a commitment to yourself that you will love yourself, despite all the social and biological obstacles in your path. It is not found in a place, person, or item.”
Appreciating yourself and all that you are is one of the greatest forms of self-love.
5 Ways To Appreciate Yourself More
1. Make A Decision to Give Yourself Credit and Accept Compliments Gracefully
It sounds simple but if you are in the habit of not acknowledging your accomplishments, no matter how small, it takes mindfulness and self awareness to stop and say “Good Job” to yourself once in a while. Self appreciation is a decision you have to make yourself; and it doesn’t come naturally, it is like building a new skill or muscle, it takes effort.
It also takes a moment to pause and accept compliments with just a simple “Thank-you” especially if you are used to minimizing your successes. So take a breath and just take it in. Even if you convince yourself otherwise, you deserve more appreciation, this is a part of learning self-love.
2. Check Your Negative Beliefs
Start to interrupt patterns of negative self talk. Thoughts that are solely focused on failures and defects stop us from letting in the appreciative thoughts, or even just the neutral thoughts about doing a job good enough. If may take owning successes and accomplishments before becoming your own cheerleader. That’s okay, one step at a time. Remember that this is a process, we are trying to challenge years of habitual thinking patterns, so patience is key.
When it comes to self-esteem, our subconscious is not always our friend. It would be best if you decided to let go of toxic thinking, after years of self-deprecating ways of thinking for not being enough maybe it is time to lighten up on yourself. Start saying NO to all of your internal negative self-talk, and tell yourself that you are willing to see things differently and have some self compassion.
It takes time and effort to change your thoughts and create a healthier way of seeing yourself; recognizing and challenging unhelpful thinking is a good place to start.
● Recognize that feeling like a loser does not mean you are a loser, it is just a thought in this moment, not a fact.
● Is there any factual evidence to support your findings. Are you making assumptions, or trying to mind read. For instance just because a friend does not reply to your text right away it doesn’t mean they don’t like you.
● Don’t allow one negative comment to deter you from appreciating positive feedback. Take it in and recognize it is just one person’s opinion.
3. Have some self-compassion when you mess up
You don’t have to berate yourself if you make a mistake. Research shows that reacting to your own mistakes with self-compassion boosts your self-esteem and makes you a more competent and resourceful individual.
Quiet the inner critic who catastrophizes a slip-up:
● Few things in life are “all or nothing,” even if something doesn’t go according to plan. Even if we need to start over or it takes a little longer to do something it is not the end of the world. Sometimes we actually learn more through our mistakes.
● One setback does not define you for the rest of your life.
● Catch the negative spiral, just because things did not go well this time does not mean they will continually go wrong. Try not to jump to conclusions or fortune tell.
4. Let Go Of The Need To Be Perfect
One of the major factors in creating an active inner critic and fueling anxiety is the need to be perfect. You will never be flawless, it is not possible. Part of the human condition is that we are imperfect creatures. We will make mistakes and sometimes it is okay to do a job “good enough.” I’m not saying stop striving to do your best, but once in a while be kind to yourself and just do what needs to be done without going the extra 10 miles.
Don’t allow being human and imperfect to keep you from appreciating yourself. It’s easy to be hard on oneself for not being perfect. However, this leads to anxiety and stress and creates a myriad of other issues, like insomnia, health issues, inability to enjoy life. Allow yourself to be human.
5. Learn To Say No
The nicest way that you can learn to appreciate yourself is to make your needs a priority in your life. If you are thinking about how selfish that would be, let me tell you why this is important. In order to be there for others you need to take care of yourself so you have the energy to be there when others need you.
So once in a while say ‘No!”. Instead of over committing, prioritize your personal needs. Respect your boundaries and learn to decline obligations that aren’t worth the stress. If saying no feels really uncomfortable, start with “Let me get back to you”, or “I need to think about it”.
If you are a bit of a people pleaser this one might be difficult. Start to say no for smaller things that won’t have you spiraling with a guilty conscience. Think of it as saying ‘Yes” to you, not as saying no to them.
This might seem like a lot. So, pick one of the top 5 ideas and start working on that for 30 days. Maybe before you pick which one to start working on, you take a week and just pay attention.
- How vocal is your inner critic?
- How often do you say yes when you wish you had said no?
- How frequently do you minimize your efforts when you get a compliment?
- How often are you immobilized because you can’t get something done perfectly?
- How negative or even toxic is your self-talk?
- How many times a day are you putting other people’s needs before your own?
Once you start to check in on those questions you will have a better idea of where to start. You might even want to pull out a journal and keep track. A journal is a great way to not only determine where to start but also to track your progress.
Remember that this is a new way of being and change takes time. If there is a willingness to learn self-love, self-appreciation, quiet the inner critic, just stay the course. There will be slip ups, and maybe even full-blown relapses, but if you don’t give up on you, you will see a boost in your self-esteem and happiness.