"Remember, you’ve been criticising yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens." Louise Hay
Don’t show off, don’t brag, don’t be so pushy. You’re too fat/thin, you’re hair is too curly/too straight/too dark/too blonde. You are so rude and selfish! All things that many of us have heard from the lips of those we should’ve been able to trust the most to have our best interests at heart – our parents. You may not readily think of your parents as abusive; after all it sounds like such a harsh word. Nevertheless, if they gave criticism without the care and nurture that necessarily goes with it in helping a child to learn and grow well, then their words and actions were, by any reasonable definition, abusive. It’s even worse when a parent spits vitriol at a child to vent a pain that they themselves are carrying that has nothing to do with the child. Children who live with this kind of parenting are changed negatively by the experience. They lack trust in themselves, proper regard for their own well being and have poor personal boundaries. All because they have been taught to criticise rather than love themselves. Now, self love is not about the self-satisfied conceit of the arrogant or narcissistic, it’s the essential foundation of a contented life in which the natural human tendency to hear the voice of an inner critic is balanced by a healthy and confident self-regard. I have worked with women from their twenties to their eighties to help unravel this awful knot that binds them fast in a deep and damaging self-loathing. Here some things I’ve learned. 1. Parents mostly do the best they can with what they’ve got, but you don’t deserve to be
fed on the poison they might be carrying. Being honest about parental behaviour does
not mean being disloyal, it just means that you start telling the truth to yourself.
2. Recovery begins when those who criticised us and put us down become a PART of our
story, but don’t DEFINE our story. Everyone can find at least one person whom they
have helped and encouraged in some way. In that action, you broke the cycle of
abusive behaviour. If you can’t think of anyone from your past, find someone you can
help and encourage now. It’s never too late!
3. It’s deeply liberating to make the mirror your best friend. Every time you have the
opportunity, gaze at yourself in the mirror. Look into your own eyes. When the critical
voice starts picking holes in your appearance, imagine you are looking into the eyes of
your best friend and use as much force and anger as you like to defend your friend from
4. Write this down and repeat it daily, hourly if necessary: SELF LOVE IS NOT SELFISH.
If you cannot love yourself, then you can never love others in a way that is healthy,
authentic and life-giving for both parties. To fix a free initial consultation to discuss working with me to learn how to love yourself better, just drop me an email.