Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, MS, MPH, CSAT, LMFT #88196

Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, LMFT

You deserve a beautiful life

Sex, intimacy, and relationship therapy

How to Stop Putting Yourself Down and Be Your Own Best Friend

How many times a day do you think you "should" have done something different than what you actually did? How many times do you feel guilty about something you didn't accomplish? How may times do you simply beat yourself up? (metaphorically of course) If you're like myself, the number is about 10-20 times. That's a lot of SHAME that we take in on a daily basis! It's toxic, like drinking poison. The sad truth is, unfortunately this is a pretty common phenomenon. We tend to focus on what we didn't do, said wrong, or forgot. Why do we do this? Why can't we applaud our successes instead of punishing ourselves for what we feel was not "good enough"?

Examples: I should have worked out, I forgot to answer that email, I didn't do my best at that meeting, I should have gone to bed earlier, I wish I had pushed myself harder at the gym, I looked bad today because I didn't spend enough time getting ready, I should be a better friend, I didn't handle that client well, I wasn't there for my kid, I forgot about that meeting...The list could go one forever.

The good news is there IS a way to stop being so hard on yourself. The way to do this is to treat yourself like you would treat someone that you truly cherish. Like your child, best friend, or beloved pet. Because honestly, you should cherish yourself. You are amazing, rare, capable and unique. You have to be your own cheerleader because no one will be able to change your life besides you. Not that your life even needs to change. It may be great as it is, and that's okay too. The point is, if you cannot be kind and loving to yourself, other people won't be either. In other words, if you are too harsh on yourself, you will put up with people treating you poorly because you think you deserve mistreatment. We get sucked into believing we aren't as good as everyone else. We compare ourselves to other people; constantly. Stop doing this! It will only bring you pain and keep you stuck.

Here are 5 simple, concrete steps towards ending the daily shame and guilt cycle:
  • Tell yourself what you did well every day (take at least 1 minute to reflect on this; say when you're brushing your teeth at night)
  • When looking in the mirror, point out a feature of yours you find attractive (do this while you do you brush your hair or put on makeup in the morning)
  •  When you are struggling or about to lose patience for yourself, remember one of these four sentences: I did my best. It's not the end of the world. It will be okay. Tomorrow is another day. 
  • When you feel yourself falling short of your goals, make them smaller and more specific. Instead of, "I will go workout for 1 hour 5 times a week," try, "I will do 20 minutes of walking today." This can even work for relationships. Instead of "I will be a better father," try, "I will sit with my son tonight before he goes to bed tonight." The old 12-step adage of "One day at a time" is so well-known because it works.
  •  Smile at yourself at least once a day in the mirror. It may seem weird or forced but trust me, it honestly works to improve your self-esteem. Bonus points if you smile and give yourself a compliment. I even wink at myself! Yeah it's bit corny but it makes me feel good.
I hope everyone can read this and relate a little to feeling less-than. I know it's terrible to feel like you are stuck or keep making the same mistakes. We all are imperfect and flawed beings. We all struggle. Life is not often easy. So why make it worse by being that judgmental parent or controlling boss who always pointed out your flaws?  Why be the person who drags you down instead of lifting you up? Accept you are a changing, dynamic person who is that much wiser every time you make a mistake. Forgive yourself. Love yourself. You are more than worth it.