God I’m so stupid, how could I do that?!? I’m such an idiot.

I knew I was going to eventually screw up, I always do this.

Well, I’ve already f*cked up, so screw it. I knew I couldn’t do this.

Have you ever said these things to yourself? It makes me cringe to think that this used to be my default self-talk. It was automatic.

I wouldn’t just say it to myself once.

Oh, no. I would repeat it, and repeat it in my head.

This defeating self-talk usually was the loudest for me when I was trying to lose weight. I would look in the mirror and just be absolutely disgusted by what I saw.

It was that disgust that motivated me to lose weight and so, naturally, when I messed up, I would return to that place of self-loathing.  I would say things to myself like, “God, I guess I just enjoy being this fat,” and “you get what you deserve”.

Ugh. It makes my heart hurt to even write these words.

It makes my heart hurt to know that I think a lot of people have said these things to themselves as well.

My inner critic is one of the meanest and harshest people I know.

The things that trigger this critic are everywhere, too. Our society is filled with images of the ideal body type, none of which look like me. Despite being at a healthy weight for nearly all my life, I feel like the last 15 years have been a constant struggle against my weight. How is that possible?

We are trained from a very early age to look a certain way, and, if we don’t look that way, it means we’re not good enough.  This becomes our dominant internal talk.

So, we go on diets and workout obsessively, or we engage in self-destructive behaviors to numb the pain of not being good enough. There’s a whole industry of weight loss that, for the most part, is banking on you feeling not good enough. And I think that’s pretty messed up.

Here, drink this meal replacement shake filled with imitation sugars, caffeine, preservatives and over-processed ingredients that costs you a bagillion dollars a month. Or, here, buy this super expensive workout program to get a bikini body. Then you’ll love yourself. Pssht. That’s a load of crap.  

Loving yourself is a prerequisite for sustainable, positive change, not a byproduct.

You might be reading this and saying “Emily doesn’t need to lose weight” or “she could stand to lose a few pounds”. This just demonstrates the absurdity of it all. Everyone has a different opinion.

What I have come to realize and believe is that my opinion is the ONLY one that counts.

Even before I realized this, it was STILL a true statement. I was the one who unconsciously reaffirmed the need to chase the ideal, beating myself down when I didn’t achieve it. Whether I was being gentle with myself or harsh, my opinion was always the only opinion that made a difference.

Change and growth are messy processes; the paths are not linear, but rather zigzaged and maybe circular at times. Loving yourself is the deal maker or breaker.

How does one get to a place of self-love? Through regular doses of self-compassion. Here are eight self-compassion tips to remember when your inner critic gets going:

  1. Your worth is not dependent upon anything. Your worth is not defined by your physical appearance. Your worth is not defined by your ability to make changes in your life. Your worth is intrinsic.
  2. Cut yourself some slack. You will make mistakes! It’s part of learning, Don’t beat yourself up. Each day you wake up is a new chance to learn from yesterday.
  3. Have patience. All worthwhile changes are not made overnight.
  4. Celebrate yourself. Acknowledge each step in the right direction. Even making a mistake and learning from it is a step in the right direction.
  5. When you want to give up on changing your life, remember why you are doing it. Know that you are worth it! It is because you have worth that you deserve to make positive changes in your life, not the other way around.
  6. The only way to fail is to quit. Even if you quit, that doesn’t mean you ARE a failure. Know the difference.
  7. Tell yourself that it’s ok. SERIOUSLY. When you start to go down the self-destructive path, talk to yourself like the best friend you’ve ever had. Tell yourself that you understand how you’re feeling and that everything will be ok. Because, I promise, it will be ok.
  8. Don’t compare your journey or results to anyone else. This is hard but, oh so important. Your journey is yours, and yours alone. Take comfort that God and the Universe has planned this path especially for you and trust that your path will take you where you need to go.

Just because I know how to silence my inner critic, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Trust me, it is. But, every time I choose to practice self-compassion (and it is a choice!), that voice gets quieter and quieter.

There will always be other people with their own opinions about you, for better or worse. Haters gonna hate. But, if you love yourself, then none of that matters.

And, if all else fails, know that I believe in your worth just the way you are! I know that your inner critic is just as full of shit as mine. HA!

Did you need to hear this? Chances are, someone else does too. Please share this article! (It’s like my virtual tip jar)

Much love and gratitude,

Em