There are countless ways we criticize ourselves everyday. When an idea flops at work; when we replay an embarrassing moment in our head; when we decide our thighs are too monstrous for our swimsuit; when we face rejection; when we dwell in regret; when we tell ourselves we'll never be good enough. It's easy to find reasons to beat ourselves up, but it only serves to weaken our spirit and sabotage our future. Internal compassion takes a lot more discipline but offers tremendous rewards.
Here's why we all need to give ourselves a break:
1. Perfection Is a Lie
This is a tough one and something I have to remind myself of daily. I'm nowhere near perfect but dammit I want that porcelain complexion and dimple-free butt; I want that sparkling kitchen and the willpower to never eat sugar; I want to make everyone happy and never say or do the wrong thing. But it's impossible and harmful to hold ourselves to these standards. While there are millions of advertisers who would like us to believe perfection is only one product away, it's not. Not even for Beyonce.
While we should always seek to keep growing and improving, perfection itself is a dangerous myth. In fact, it debilitates growth—it defeats us before we even start. We can't wait for everything to be perfect in order to accept and love ourselves.
2. Your "Flaws" Do Not Make You Less Lovable
In fact, they only make you more so. You are relatable, you are human, and you've got some great stories to tell. Open up, let yourself be vulnerable, there's a whole world of people who feel the same.
3. Comparison Truly Is the Thief of Joy
There's nothing like Facebook to make you feel inadequate, huh? But as we've learned over and over, we often only see the highlight reels of other people's lives. Those snapshots are merely small pieces of an intricate puzzle. While we'd all love to gallivant around the world or get that glamorous gig, would you trade your own special relationships, talents and unique life experiences for it? Never.
4. Mistakes and Failures are Required Stepping Stones, Not Tragic Pitfalls
As the Dalai Lama puts it, "All human life is some part failure and some part achievement." We learn the most when things don't go the way we planned. Don't tread lightly in life to avoid taking the wrong step. Mistakes and failures will be met whether you live bravely or not—greet them with humor, compassion and forgiveness.
5. You Deserve the Same Kindness You'd Give a Friend
When a friend tells you a weakness they have or an error they made, you do everything in your power to build them up. You put things in perspective, you make the issue feel small, easy to handle, even funny. Imagine if we could do the same for ourselves—how much quicker we'd bounce back, how much further we'd go, how much kinder of a place the world would feel.