The old adage that your own inner critic is the harshest you’ll ever know has been said perhaps enough times that it has become a cliché.
But it really is true.
When you stop to examine the way you critique yourself, the way you measure yourself up against the media and the rest of the world, the way you tell yourself you’re not good enough too many times, you’ll realise that there is likely no one else who holds you up to such high standards.
You want yourself to be the best you can be. And the easiest way to push yourself in the right direction is to convince yourself that you’re not doing enough. Even if everyone else says you’re doing amazingly well, sometimes the motivation to push as hard as you have to is to believe that you’re not.
But, as valuable as that extra push can be, it can also be debilitating. It can cripple your self-esteem and hold you back from doing the things you love. It can break you down until you lose all the motivation you were supposed to have and end up not wanting to do anything at all.
Sometimes, getting over that feeling of overwhelming self-doubt can be a seriously difficult mental battle.
While it doesn’t have the same kind of visibly noticeable effects of other mental conditions, it can ruin lives with just as much severity as anxiety or depression. It can be the reason people never follow their dream, the reason people don’t make the most of every moment of their lives.
You have to stop letting that inner voice talk to you the way it does.
You have to allow yourself a little bit of self-love. You have to care for your own self the way you care for friends, your family, your children.
Treat yourself as if you are your own baby.
Think about the things that you are doing. Think about the decisions you are making.
Would you let your child make that decision?
Would you let them spend time with those people?
Would you be happy if they stayed in that dead end job?
Would you watch them give up on their hopes and dreams because they think they’re not good enough? Or because they feel like they don’t deserve to achieve them?
Would you be comfortable letting them starve themselves to look more like supermodels?
Would you let them eat that much junk food all the time?
Would you sit aside and do nothing when the inner voice got so harsh they ended up hurting themselves?
So why do you let it happen to you?
We all have parents who love us this much, who took care of all of this stuff at one point in our lives, when we were young enough to need them there at all times.
But some people aren’t lucky enough to have those parents around now. Others, once they reach adulthood, have trouble going to them for help, because of their pride, because of their fear, because of their insecurities and their vulnerabilities.
For whatever reason, sometimes the people who are supposed to protect us in this way, can’t be there when we need them.
That’s when you need to love yourself the way they do. To be the arms that hold you and the shoulder you cry on. To see everything that is beautiful and brave about you.
To use your imagination until you’re ready to wholeheartedly believe that you are exactly that precious a creature, one that deserves respect, deserves love and deserves the opportunity to go after everything you’ve ever dreamed of.
Author Bio – Kirstie Summers is journalist whose day job takes her to all the most interesting places and events in South London. She also freelances for a number of sites and publications, from gaming and literature reviews to creative fiction. She lives in London and spends as much of her free time as possible making the most of being in such a diverse city. She keeps one day a week to herself to swim, relax and keep the stress of the world at bay.