Do you ever find yourself scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, feeling like all the people you know have perfect lives and you’re falling woefully behind? It’s easier than ever to compare ourselves to those around us (or at least to the edited versions of themselves they present on social media), and to feel like we’re doing things all wrong.
But that kind of self-criticism only holds us back. And in fact, it’s counterproductive, as it makes it more difficult for us to initiate positive changes in our lives. Here are eight things you can stop beating yourself up about, starting today!
Of course it’s beneficial to have a certain degree of awareness around what you eat. And making the upgrade from processed foods to whole foods is always a good thing. But if you’re having cronut cravings and you “slip up,” don’t criticize yourself for it! Treating yourself every once in a while will ease the transition as you try to make dietary changes. Achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a continual journey, and you are exactly where you need to be on yours.
Let’s just say it — the idea of body mass index is far too simplistic to really be helpful. Many of us have in mind an “ideal” weight that we think we should reach. But everyone’s body is different! Just because you haven’t lost quite as much weight as you think you should doesn’t mean your body isn’t perfectly healthy. Focus on wellness instead of the number on the scale. Upgrade your diet and find forms of exercise that you truly enjoy. Once you do that, your body will most likely settle at its healthy weight. So if you can’t seem to lose the stubborn last five or 10 pounds, maybe it’s because you’ve already reached the weight that’s truly “ideal” and healthy for your body.
Your “bad” habits
Some of us are perfectionists. Some of us are procrastinators. Some of us just forget to put the cap back on the toothpaste. Whatever your “bad” habit is, don’t get down on yourself about it. Yes, it will likely benefit you to be more mindful of those habits and try to do what you can to make constructive changes. But know that it takes time to change a deeply ingrained habit, so don’t judge yourself if you don’t completely change your behavior overnight.
Taking time for yourself
Many of us have very full plates these days — we have important responsibilities to our coworkers and families. And with so much going on, it’s easy to feel guilty for taking time for yourself. But the truth is, allowing yourself the chance to recharge is crucial — you can’t be your best for others if you don’t take care of yourself first. And what’s more, you deserve to have your self-care be a priority. So get a massage or meet up with friends for dinner — whatever helps you to feel relaxed and rejuvenated. And allow yourself to truly enjoy it. Ditch the guilt!
Not being “perfect”
Many of us are inclined to apply a laser focus to the one or two minor “mistakes” we may have made during a work project or other endeavor, and the result is that we blind ourselves to all that we’ve accomplished. You often hear actors say, for example, that the few negative reviews of their movies stand out in their minds far more than the larger number of positive ones. While this is probably just human nature to some extent, try not to become too preoccupied with the little things you may not have done perfectly. Do your best, learn from your mistakes, and move on.
Most of us would probably report feeling stressed to one degree or another on a daily basis. And a lot of us think that must mean we’re doing something wrong. But that’s not true! Today’s contemporary lifestyle is stressful! Everyone is busy, everyone is constantly being bombarded with information — it’s a recipe for stress. So if you’re feeling like you’re having trouble holding it all together, know that you’re not alone. It doesn’t mean you’re failing. Instead of wasting time beating yourself up, assess whether there’s anything in your life you can delegate, or anything you’d like more of in your life. You may even consider making an appointment with a life coach.
When a coworker asks you for help on a project or a friend invites you to an event, your first inclination may very well be to immediately say yes. But you don’t have to say yes every time. If you’re feeling like you already have a full plate, it’s okay to say no to a request or invitation. It doesn’t mean you’re uncaring; it just means you’re upholding your boundaries. Saying yes to everything will only result in burnout.
Many of us go through our days wanting to fit in, win approval or avoid rocking the boat. So we refrain from saying what we really think or behaving with authenticity. Of course, it’s important to be tactful when it comes to your interactions, and “authenticity” is not just an excuse to ditch your mental filter and say the first careless thing that comes to mind. But you don’t have to hide who you truly are or suppress your genuine emotions or ideas. Be mindful of others, but also be true to yourself.
Life is messy — and it is a process. You don’t have to be perfect. In fact, perfection is a myth. So do your best, remember that you’re precisely where you need to be on your path and stop giving yourself such a hard time!
—The Alternative Daily