~ Brene Brown
Do you feel like no matter what you do, it’s never quite good enough? Do you feel like you are on a constant treadmill striving to improve yourself, without stopping to take breaks and relax? Do you bend over backwards to please people? Do you give and give, but find it hard to receive? Do you find it hard to accept the way you look? Do you say sorry a lot, and have a hard time handling criticism?
"How do I feel good enough?" This question comes up so frequently in therapy sessions, I thought I would share a brief list of ways to heal the inner critic that perpetuates this belief.
1. Find self-compassion. We all had to find ways to fit in as children. When you differ from your family members or people in your community you might think you are “not good enough.” This thought creates shame.
2. Forgive your forgetting. In the quest for social belonging it is easy to repress your differences until you forget who you really are. This is because differences can trigger other people's unhealed emotional wounds.
3. Summon courage. Differentiating from your family of origin is a courageous Hero/Heroine's Journey. The Hero/Heroine's Journey is a quest for self-transformation and creative rebirth that is beyond your early conditioning.
4. Create safety. How do you feel ok with not fitting in when it sets off your nervous system's alarm bell of non-belonging? To feel safe in your body, you will need to encourage yourself beyond what you have experienced from other people.
5. Encourage yourself. How can you encourage yourself when others have not? Encourage yourself by affirming your authentic nature repetitively until the safety of self-belonging takes hold in your nervous system.
6. Repetition is the key. Repeating kind, soothing words to yourself over and over eventually changes the well-worn grooves of socialized self-rejection. Find kind words that feel good in your body and repeat them until they "land."
7. No one will save you. Once you enter adulthood, you are responsible for healing the pain patterns that you acquired during the socialization process. A lack of self-love is yours to heal.
8. Always be kind to yourself. Your need for social belonging might be so strong, you will reject and criticize yourself in the same ways that you were rejected and criticized by others in the past. Decide instead to always be kind to yourself.
9. Find the antidote. To turn self-criticism and self-rejection into its opposite, create a self-love statement that honours who you really are. Enjoy how good this "antidote" feels in your body.
10. Practice good feelings. It is possible to "practice" your pain and depression by feeling it for far too long. You might not know what it means to feel good. Emotional pain needs to be acknowledged, assessed for self-limiting beliefs, and then "interrupted" with self-care, self-affirmation and self-love practices.