Regardless of whether or not you’re experiencing a state of depression or in a crisis or feeling pretty positive, it can be hard to love yourself and practice self-compassion. A lot of times, I hear other people who live with bipolar disorder and other mental health problems say that they hate themselves or feel ashamed of the things they feel (My Irrational Bipolar Brain Makes Me Hate Myself). For me, personally, I can tell myself, cognitively, that my feelings aren’t my fault, but it’s very hard to believe that emotionally.
Self-Talk and Your Ability to Love Yourself
I recently learned about Dr. Kristin Neff and her life’s work in the study of self-compassion. She offers a test on her website to help determine where you are in your ability to love yourself and to treat yourself with respect.
Even though it can be very hard to implement in your daily life, be patient with yourself. You can’t help what you feel, and feelings pass. You won’t feel bad forever.
I tend to overreact and turn every negative occurrence into something much worse than it actually is and it’s hard for me to identify when I do this. When in doubt, keep track of all of your negative thinking and critical self-talk.
If you’re stuck in repetitive personal criticism, write down what your dilemma is. Below it, write down all of the possible outcomes to your problem, regardless of how ridiculous it may be. Does your problem mean the end of the world for you? Is it as devastating as you originally thought? (Path to Positive Thinking) From here, you can…
Close your eyes and take in a deep breath. Is your heart pounding? Does it feel like something is pressing on your chest? Is your head aching? Continue to breathe deeply and stretch all of your muscles. Take note of all of your physical and emotional feelings (Increase Focus With This One Minute Meditation).
What do you do to manage and change your negative self-talk and personal criticism? What do you find helpful and unhelpful?