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Next time you’re in a room full of women look around you. Chances are at least half of them are harbouring a barrage of negative thoughts right there and then. Outwardly they may look happy, smiling and confident but inwardly one of two things is happening (and possibly both at the same time):
They’re picking apart their own looks, behaviour, skills or abilities
They’re picking apart someone’s else’s looks, behaviour, skills or abilities
I’m sure most of us would love to describe ourselves as open, loving and non-judgemental.
But wake up.
smell the coffee ladies.
it’s just not true for most of us.
If you’re now drumming your fingers and thinking no way do I do this, here’s a pop quiz.
Have you ever caught yourself thinking any of the following – and be honest now:
“I’m such an idiot; I’ll never learn how to do this!”
“I’m too fat; I’ll never find anything that fits me.”
“No-one could ever love me for who I am, I’m not loveable.”
“I don’t fit in, I don’t belong here.”
“I’m not good enough for that job.”
I know right? These kinds of negative thoughts are self-judgements and they can send you into a spiral of low self-esteem, anxiety and even depression. At best they’ll stop you from doing the things you really want to do – Buy that dress! Go on that date! Go for that job! – and at worst will distance you from the people you really care about.
I get it. If I judge myself then others won’t judge me. There’s no need for you to tell me what I’m doing wrong because I already know, okay?
NOT okay. Self-judgement inevitably leads to being judgemental about others. While its human nature to hold other people’s actions up to the scrutiny of our own values, this isn’t a problem only if they’re shared. But if they differ then you are being judgemental and it’s an ingrained habit that you’re probably not even aware of.
It gets worse. I’m guessing you don’t like judgemental people. I’m guessing that you’ll cross the road to avoid someone who is self-righteous and overly critical. Well Newsflash! Other people don’t like it either. Yet you probably subconsciously communicate your judgment to other people and guess what? You are repelling them.
Why are you doing this to yourself? You have the right to lead a full, happy and successful life so whose permission are you waiting for?
Answer: No-ones but yours.
The day you decide to stop putting yourself down, start to recognise those negative thoughts and catching them before they take flight is the day you start giving yourself permission to live. The day you switch to more positive thoughts is the day you start to feel like you can do anything. Problems stop becoming crises, ideas become opportunities. You’ll accept compliments with grace instead of reacting with a “Yes, but…..”. Treat yourself like you would your best friend. After all, she’ll be with you for the rest of your life.