4 Tips to letting go of self-criticism can help you reach your healthy goals

Step 1: Ask yourself, “am I hungry or angry?”

Identify unresolved negative emotions and how they impact your self-esteem and eating habits. Do you have little self-respect and allow people to mistreat you because you received negative criticism as a child?

Focus on improving your confidence, standing up for yourself and setting better boundaries. Instead of automatically reaching for the Tim Tams, question your motivation.

Ask, ‘Am I hungry or angry or feeling bad about myself?’

If you’re experiencing an emotion, focus on that emotion and how it’s affecting you. When an emotion comes up that you feel uncomfortable dealing with, start to acknowledge it within 24 hours because whatever we resist persists.

Step 2: Release the emotion

Once you’ve identified the feeling, physically release it. One technique is to do exercise such as running, boxing or dancing.

If you’re angry, move, shake your body, dance around, feel and breathe, use movement as an emotional release.

Or put on some music. Listen to a song that speaks to you in relation to that emotion, breathe through that feeling and recognise what it means.

Ask, ‘Is this emotion coming from the past or present?’ It could be from prior trauma or future worries, which are usually fear-based. Give that emotion a colour, say grey, and visualise that colour moving out of your body with your breath. Then imagine a colour that makes you feel better, such as yellow, and visualise drinking that colour into your body to replace the negative emotion.

Step 3: Discard old ways

We subconsciously attract what we feel we deserve into our lives.

If deep down you’re feeling inadequate and worthless, you’ll allow people to treat you that way. Reject perfectionism and ensure making time for yourself is a daily necessity rather than a luxury.

If this feels unnatural, remember that being kind to yourself will lead to happiness.

Ask, ‘Is the way I’m treating myself working?’

“If the answer is ‘no’ then think about a person you love and treat yourself how you’d treat them.”

Try it for a week. You won’t want to return to your old habits.

Step 4: Embrace self love

How do you seize self-love after years of harsh self-criticism has become your norm? By embracing softness. Treat yourself with compassion and kindness. Create a list of healing experiences that make you feel nurtured, from meditating to catching up with a friend. Include exercise and healthy food alternatives to the comfort food you may usually turn to.

Focus on how you can change your point of view about yourself.

For example, stand in front of a mirror and look for positive rather than negative attributes. When you try to lose weight it doesn’t work, but when you focus on what wellness means in your life, and you create that lifestyle and are softer on yourself, it does.

Source: body&soul.com.au, The Secret of Life Wellness: The Essential Guide to Life’s Big Questions (Rockpool Publishing)

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