‘If they laugh it’s art, if they don’t laugh it’s therapy.”

– Mike Birbiglia,

Consider what comes up when I ask you the following?

  • How often do you judge yourself negatively, about what?
  • When is the last time you compared yourself to someone else and found yourself lacking?
    *keep reading to find out who I compared myself to only 3 minutes ago

Chances are that thinking about these things isn’t your favourite, that’s normal, we’re programmed to try to escape negative feelings.

But there are nuggets of gold hiding in the answers to those questions.

Watch Your Thoughts:
We tend to believe our own thoughts, whether or not they are actually true. Our self-criticism reflects how we see ourselves, and our self-image is what dictates what’s possible.

People think that judging themselves, beating themselves up, and being hard on themselves is going to give them the motivation and discipline to change, but it’s actually the opposite. When we are judging ourselves or get caught up in comparisons we are less likely to change and more likely to stay stuck and unsatisfied.

You can be kind to yourself and show self-compassion even if you are being completely honest with yourself, and without lowering your standards. It requires accepting yourself exactly as you are while remaining curious about what’s possible.

The gold is in noticing our thoughts and finding the ones that are holding us back. It’s only in understanding and accepting where we are right now that we can change.

Comedy Gold:
Not because people will laugh at you, but because we ALL get it. Every human on the planet has been self-critical and has compared themselves to others. I’m writing this from vacation and I’m at a pool…the last time I compared myself to someone was 3 minutes ago, to a woman who has definitely not let a little global pandemic get in the way of her diet and fitness goals. And she has probably compared herself to someone for something or other today (it would be weird of me to go up and ask her about that right?).

When we judge ourselves, a lot of us have tendencies towards the dramatic, black-and-white thinking, or a little bit of irrationality that we would never let a friend get away with. And the humour can be found because we’ve all been there.

So What?
If you know how to catch your self-critical thoughts and you can find what’s funny about them, it’s going to make it easier to grow. It can help you build new habits, procrastinate less, feel more self-assured as you try new things, even make it easier to connect to others.

Once you start to see what’s funny about your own thoughts, it takes away their power. It’s easier to question them, assess them, reframe them, or simply turn down the volume on those thoughts. And then, it’s going to be easier to move forward.

It might not be obvious to find what’s funny at first, and using this insight to change your habits or feel better about yourself might not be natural immediately, but it gets better with practice and we can train you.

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