How’s your self-love level? If you’ve struggled to love and approve of yourself, chances are you’ve created a list of personal qualities you like, love or approve of. They may be physical: eyes, smile, height, weight, physical conditioning. Or, perhaps they’re spiritual or emotional qualities that influence the way you move through the world. It’s easy to love your loyalty, your compassion, or your enthusiasm, but what about the rest of you?
Sometimes making (or reading) those lists can make us cringe, bringing up concerns about being “stuck up,” selfish, or self-centered. Those thoughts can make it difficult to stay enthusiastic about your list.
What is healthy self-love? I think it requires a level of honesty and humility that allows us to see and accept our positive traits and the ones we don’t enjoy so much. We’ve learned that some of our yuckier traits can be an invitation to grow and change, an idea that works pretty well… until we bump into that critical voice inside. You know, the one that tells us we’re somehow less than others? The Inner Critic. The Inner Editor. The Bully in Your Brain. Yeah. That one.
That’s when we start zooming around the web, reading up on the most popular Inner Critic management techniques. You find coach after coach, author after author offering tips and tactics to silence that inner voice. Get rid of it, once and for all.
And, if you’ve followed that advice, you’ve probably had yet another interesting discovery: the problem with most those strategies is, if they work at all, it’s not for long, is it? Efforts to silence the Inner Critic simply bring it back, stronger than it was before.
So what’s the answer? What does it take to get that voice to behave? Love. Unconditional love and radical self-acceptance. It’s true. As much as that naggy voice doesn’t feel good? It’s an important part of us, an inner warning system. To get to a comfortable level of self-love and self-acceptance means we’ve got to find a way to love that voice, too. #imagineselflove
Andrea Patten is the author of The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head a little book full of big ideas about how — and why — you can learn to love “that voice.” The Inner Critic Advantage is now available on Amazon.