Stop Beating Yourself Up | Orlando Women’s Therapist Shares Tips

yourowncriticAs a counselor who specializes in working with women, I am often surprised how negatively women speak about themselves, often saying things to themselves they wouldn’t dream of saying to another person.

Women who suffer from anxiety, stress or depression often have harsh, critical self-talk that consists of a relentless, barely conscious inner dialogue that passes judgment on everything they do and say. This inner-critic criticizes your appearance and tells you that you just don’t measure up. Unhelpful and unhealthy automatic negative thoughts such as, “I can’t do anything right. I’m such a looser” or “I’m such an idiot – that interview was an absolute disaster” or “I am SO fat, just look at these disgusting thighs” are often a constant barrage. And with comments like these whirling around your head, is it any wonder that you begin to feel anxious and stressed and experience low moods?

One of the first steps to feeling better about yourself is learning to “catch” your own negative self-talk. One of the best ways to do this is to write down your thoughts every time you feel upset. I think you’ll be surprised at the things you say to yourself on a daily basis. Then ask yourself, “Would I talk that way to a friend?” I bet the answer is almost always, “No way”.

To stop beating yourself up, begin to think of yourself as your own best friend and give yourself grace for making a bad decision, working too much or not enough, being overweight, saying the wrong thing, or just not being perfect enough. Begin to challenge all of those nasty, over-the-top, unkind thoughts and replace them with kinder, more realistic thoughts and remember that nobody is perfect. Practice being kind to yourself and remember that if you wouldn’t say the things you’re saying to yourself to a friend, you shouldn’t say it to yourself, either.

And remember it takes time to correct the habit of what has likely been a lifetime of unhealthy, critical self-talk. Be patient with yourself and continue to practice until being kinder to and more compassionate with yourself comes more naturally.