Why Loving Yourself Is Better Than Criticizing Yourself (& How To Do It)
Get Happier & Healthier (Lose Weight!) without self-sabotage
Dare I recommend self-love as a cure-all for all self-critical perfectionists out there?
Well, at least it works if you want to get happier, healthier and lose weight — so that’s a start!
Don’t get me wrong — I am not a yoga-pants wearing, meditation-chanting, self-love woo-woo guru.
Quite the opposite in fact!
I’ve always self-motivated by being a bitch to myself — always expecting to do better, pushing myself by being critical of my attempts at achieving my goals and never recognizing any little signs of progress. After all, if it wasn’t perfect, it was nothing, right?
Turns out this was the attitude that made me go from a a very well-adjusted teenager to a yo-yo dieting adult who finally developed a compulsive eating phase that made me feel like my life was completely out of control.
Why Self-Love Works Better Than Self-Criticism
Sounds counter-intuitive but self-love inspires us to keep trying even when we fail — especially when our goals are lifestyle-based changes like getting healthier, having better relationships, eating better or dealing with stress.
How Self-Criticism Works
SELF-CRITICISM makes us feel worse than we are already feeling.
In the case of trying to lose weight, this meant I ate more to feel better because I was even more depressed after criticizing myself than before the negative self-talk. Talk about self-sabotage!
SELF-CRITICISM makes us want to progress only to avoid the negative feelings.
We are not chasing positive outcomes, so there’s nothing to look forward to. We are just trying to escape the criticism, which means we are not as motivated unlike chasing something awesome which inspires us.
SELF-CRITICISM leads to even more self-criticism because somehow it’s cathartic. We feel proud at having the courage to criticize ourselves. It makes us feel that we are honest and are not hiding behind excuses.
In the beginning, it feels cathartic. If it goes on, we begin to feel hopeless.
Essentially we’ve pushed ourselves deeper into the rabbit hole.
How Self-Love Works
On the other hand……
SELF-LOVE makes us feel more motivated to pursue our goals even though we might not be seeing obvious success yet.
For example, in the case of getting healthier, I didn’t see my cravings stop or weight drop off instantly. But I needed to keep trying even when I had no results to motivate myself with. This was much easier when I appreciated myself for trying my best rather than criticizing myself for not doing enough.
SELF-LOVE helps us stay patient through the tough times.
When we are motivated by the daily act of being kind to ourselves, we are likely to be more patient, more forgiving of our misses and ultimately more successful at achieving our goals.
- Want to build better relationships? It’s important too see what we’ve done well and then we can also see what our partner is doing well.
- Want to get healthier? It’s important to forgive a night of binge eating and get right back on track than putting ourselves on an even more restrictive diet the next day.
SELF-LOVE helps us avoid perfectionist-syndrome.
When we are motivated and patient, we give ourselves space and time to succeed. It doesn’t have to be “all or nothing” each time, it doesn’t have to be “now or never” and it definitely doesn’t have to be absolute declarations like “Ugh, I can’t even stop myself eating a cookie. I have NO self-control”.
All of these negative mindsets only serve to reinforce why we cannot do something — we take two steps back for every step forward and don’t make progress on our goals.
SELF-LOVE makes us less likely to eat our feelings, feel angry or act disruptive, i.e., self-love makes us happier.
When we are happy with ourselves, we are less likely to turn to food for comfort, soothing or distraction.
- We are more likely to go for a walk than flop down on the couch and binge-watch Netlfix while eating a pack of chips.
- We are more likely to grab a cup of hot tea and call a friend than sit down all alone and reflect over our failures.
- We are more likely to have relationship — building conversations with our partner than hangry accusations at the end of the day.
We end up leading happier & more satisfied lives, enjoying all the small moments instead of stewing over our failures.
We can finally be that person who laughs often instead of the sad soul wandering around with tired eyes, bulging eye-bags and a fierce look.
We feel rested, vibrant and full of life. We sleep and move better. Life just has more to look forward to, and we can deal with any obstacles that come our way more effectively.
How You Can Use More Self-Love Starting Now
Changing lifelong mindsets is no doubt difficult but we can start seeing little improvements quickly by:
- Trying to find the positive in every experience instead of the negative
- When in doubt,
Don’t say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to others
- When trying to make lifestyle changes like getting healthier, wealthier or wiser — find a system / program / mentor you trust and patiently follow their method without letting impatience or perfectionism take over.
- Look in the mirror and say “I love me” — cheesy but it works! 😄