Children crave acceptance and approval. As adults, we really just want the same. But, for many of us, we are too quick to self-criticize when we make a mistake. For high achievers, we often develop this pattern of perfectionism as young children.
Here is a short, simple tool that can help soothe your critical inner voice…
Find a picture of yourself from your childhood and place it somewhere you often look. A class photo or a candid shot. It doesn’t matter. The only important thing is that it be a picture you like of yourself. A picture that makes you smile when you look at it.
When you find yourself being hyper-critical of yourself because of a mistake you made or a bad hair day, get the picture and look at it. Talk to the picture, to that younger version of you, about what you are thinking.
Chances are your tone and words will change.
Why this works…
Most of us recognize that children are innocent, sensitive souls. We are more patient with, and understanding of, an imperfect child.
Every time you shame and blame yourself as an adult, you are simultaneously shaming and blaming your inner child. And that is extremely hurtful for both of you. If you find it hard to break the pattern of self-criticism, this exercise can help take your adult self out of the equation while you practice self-soothing, nuturing techniques with your child self.
I mean, really, could you berate this face?