It’s almost impossible not to be your own worst critic. We all suffer from it, don’t we? Picture this: you’re attending a Mean Girls style workshop (if only some of my trainings could be that fun!). A girl gets up and talks about wanting to stop being so hard on herself just before she does a trust fall into a large group of smiling girls who catch her. Do you think every (or almost every) girl in the room would relate and want to open up about the same topic? As a 26-year-old girl, I think so! Enter: the importance of self love.
I feel like this topic is absolutely everywhere. In fact, I’ve read a few posts from other bloggers who’ve discussed the topic and even Jennifer Aniston spoke out about it (in a way – through a celebrity lens) earlier this summer. It seems to me that every girl is too hard on herself for something – body image, being single, getting married, being a mom, career advancement, being successful (but there are so many ways to measure success!), failing to compare or measure up, the list goes on. I hear myself be my own worst critic every day and I hear my girlfriends do the same thing.
What I find so interesting is that when I hear a girlfriend give herself grief for some perceived “failure,” I have almost 100% of the time not noticed the “failure” at all or, oftentimes, I’ve had the exact opposite reaction and thought that the “failure” was a success or non-existent. My friends will say the same thing to me. For instance, I’ll harp on myself for not completing my report cards for my students at work and then, because I’m working so hard on report cards, I’ll get behind on Rhyme & Reason, respond to emails late, and miss 3 days in a row of blog posting. I will subsequently get down on myself for not working hard enough or for not waking up an extra hour early (at 5am) to respond to emails. My girlfriends always say to me that instead of failing at my responsibilites, I’m actually suceeding – I might have gotten 2 blog posts up that week (which is better than none) and I might have gotten far enough ahead on my report cards that I can finish them the next day. There is always a positive way to look at it. On the flip side, I’m not married yet nor am I a mother yet. So, I look at my friends who are one or both and all I see are how strong, supportive, and awesome they are even though they might feel like it’s not all together at home. Or, I’ll witness a girlfriend go through a breakup or struggle with being single and all I see is how kind and positive they are even when they see the opposite. It’s human nature!
Two bloggers I read daily shared their personal struggles on their sites this summer and I suppose they probably partially inspired me to write this post. One blogger wrote about struggling to find self love after miscarrying while the other blogger wrote about struggling to find self love with her body. Both topics are so on point for women in their twenties and thirties.
I’ve found that, as corny as it sounds, self love makes a huge, massive, gargantuan difference. The importance of self love can’t be denied! At this moment in my life, I’m hardest on myself for not getting as much done as I’d like/not achieving as much as (I perceive) others achieve. So, I guess, right now, I’m a critic on myself in the success/career realm of life. I’m a huge proponent of to-do lists (more on that here) so instead of focusing on all the things I didn’t get done, I try to focus on all the things I did cross off my list or on all the ways I helped my students that day or on all the ways I worked behind the scenes to progress Rhyme & Reason or on the time in the day I got to spend with Edwin. I know this self love mindset will be increasingly important for me this year as I move to teaching a new grade level, take online classes at night to clear my teaching credential, write R&R, plan my wedding, and still maintain time for Edwin, family, and friends (my thoughts on a side-hustle here)! Edwin is my biggest fan and proponent… I feel eternally grateful to have found such a supportive guy.
There you have it… my thoughts on the importance of self love all laid out. What are you struggling with? Are you your own harshest critic? In what ways can you practice self love? These are some questions I’ve been thinking about lately. They honestly provide for great conversation with girlfriends too! Let’s face it, we could talk forever and support each other forever. That’s why, at the end of the day, it’s so so so great and powerful to be a girl (even though we tend to criticize ourselves)! Our friendships are exceptional.
Photograph: Gray Benko