Many of us where raised with guilt and shame as tactics for getting us to give adults the behavior they wanted from us.
No wonder I see so many people who speak so harshly to themselves in an effort to motivate themselves to change!
This is the thing: Shame and guilt don’t work.
Shame and guilt cause us to feel unsafe and when we feel unsafe we go into defensive states, like fight, flight, or freeze. In fight/flight/freeze, we “batten down the hatches” and try to protect ourselves. Hardly a state for expansive growth, learning, and healing.
We don’t have to talk to ourselves using the same ineffective and hurtful strategies of our childhoods. We can be to ourselves the parents we needed, right now, today.
Here are some effective ways to kindly motivate yourself:
- Decide to see yourself with compassion and patience.
- Validate the “Ungh, I don’t wanna” feeling.
- Show yourself an image of how you will feel after you do the thing.
- Speak kindly to yourself inside.
Here are some examples:
“Oh, I know you want to keep scrolling. Of course you do. We worked hard all day and these videos are funny. And, you deserve to get good sleep and take a break from the phone. Let’s put on a sleep meditation instead.”
“Oop! We just blew off taking our medication/supplements this morning. Come on, let’s go back and get that done. We will feel better knowing we did that.”
“Of course you don’t feel like getting up to brush our teeth. We are tired. And, remember that we committed to taking care of our teeth. It will build our self-trust if we do this. Come on, you can do it.”
It may feel uncomfortable or even really silly at first, but there is a part of all of us that just wants kindness and compassion rather than the emotional abuse that our inner critic likes to dole out.
In time, it will feel natural, you will trust yourself more, and you might even find that you are feeling more patient and compassionate with others.
Don’t try to argue with your inner critic, or try to get her to change her tune.
It’s not her job.
She’s just trying to protect you in the way that she knows how.
Instead, let her know, “hey, I’ve heard what you have to say. Thank you for trying to help. Just for a moment, I’d like to hear from this other voice.”
Then, see if you get a little reprieve from the harsh criticism.