I was talking with a client about a place that many of us dread going: the fitting room. It’s not really my happy place. I have been at my ideal weight for many years, and as a yoga teacher and health coach, my life revolves around wellness and fitness. And yet, I still don’t love trying on clothing and staring at myself under the glare of fitting room lights. And I am notorious for being photo-phobic because I tend to spot something in each photo that I want to change. (This one here? Read below!) The truth is, it’s still sometimes easier for me to point out what I think I can improve about myself versus acknowledging what’s already pretty great.
Self-criticism was one of my early skills. Some kids are rambunctious from a young age. I was self-critical. Initially, I saw that as a plus, something that motivated me to work harder. You look at yourself, you see the fault, you fix it, and you do better. I suppose in theory that sounds good. The problem is that for a very long time, I didn’t stop looking for the faults, to the exclusion of anything else. That became a deeply ingrained habit, one that I’ve had to work very hard to break. And I still work daily on it. How?
A tool for tackling your inner critic:
Look in the mirror and tell yourself one thing you love about yourself. Out loud. Yeah, you may feel really silly or uncomfortable doing this. Do it anyway. I recommend practicing this affirmation for at least seven days in a row to seal in some self-love, which helps to push self-criticism aside.
The next time you are in a fitting room and you start to pick yourself apart, pause. Look yourself in the eye and tell yourself one thing you love about yourself. You don’t have to shout it out loud. That might scare the salespeople. But you get the idea.
I will always seek self-improvement and evolution, but it doesn’t have to be under an umbrella of self-criticism. Let’s kick that to the curb and soak up some self-love. That’s what’s on the road ahead, limited faults in sight.
P.S. About the photo in this blog? Initial reaction: why didn’t I suck in my belly? Pause and rethink: body looks strong and I love my curly hair.