Since Colton was born I’ve experienced the internal rollercoaster of motherhood. When things go according to plan, I feel like Superwoman. Seriously, give me a red leotard and I could fly. But as soon as our day (or night) turns south, I’ve plummeted. In zero seconds flat the wave of self-doubt sweeps over me. I question my capacities, our parenting methods, or enter a comparison game between myself and other moms. In different stages of life I’ve certainly had these feelings to a degree. Whether that’s failing in a friendship, bungling a work task, or being the sub-par spouse, there’s no shortage of opportunities for our inner critic to emerge. But now that I’ve seen how my internal ‘conversations’ directly affect another little human, I’m more determined than ever to kick the habit. So here are three things I’m doing to stay focused, be accountable, and ride that positivity pony.
While self-talk sounds like it should be an intuitive thing, I’ve discovered it’s a skill that requires development. This style of dialogue isn’t a pep talk. It’s not about merely telling yourself, “I’m the greatest,” so you can momentarily feel good. Rather, self-talk should be about truths. It should be you reminding yourself of the strong traits within. This doesn’t have to come from a prideful heart; instead, it’s from a place of clarity and realism. Where are you competent? In what ways are you strong or gifted? How have your life experiences shaped both your character and integrity?
The second part of this self-talk skill is to be cognizant of what’s not true. So often anxieties or insecurities come out of what we perceive versus what’s real. We assume the worst of a situation or conversation and let our minds run wild. Disparaging thoughts then seep in and fester. Therefore it’s equally important to keep our imagination in check and rely on facts instead.
At this point in time you’re likely sick of #SquadGoals. Me too. So I’ll steer clear of that term but run with the idea. In periods where your inner critic is yelling negativity, it’s tremendously important to be surrounded by solid people. Once again, I want to make the point that this isn’t about just having a fan club. You don’t need fluff compliments or unfounded praise. You need people who know you well to reiterate and reinforce the self-talk truths. When they’ve seen the good, bad, and ugly, there’s no need to save face or put up a front.
During particularly challenging weeks in the past few months, I’ve had a couple of people whom I simply text, “Not a good day,” and they know that ‘code.’ Without sharing some long, drawn out explanation, I’d get quick encouraging messages or notes that would set my mind straight. That became an essential part of my emotional well-being and a way to maintain honest communication.
If I’m in a blog rut, motherhood slump, or dumpy internal day, I read. I seek out resources where other bloggers, moms, etc., share their experiences. It’s not so much about misery loving company; rather, it’s a reminder that the bad times come and go. I glean both encouragement and motivation from their words. This practice helps kick my inner critic when I realize even the most successful people have similar days. I can learn from their methods and perseverance.
If you’re wanting a place to start reading, here are a few:
- Anna, In Honor of Design: the woman I see as an amazing motherhood mentor (even though we’ve never met)
- Emily, Cupcakes & Cashmere: an OG blogger who has paved the way for so many tremendous advances in the industry (yet still keeps it real)
- Darling Magazine: the publication that always has something I need to hear
Are there any ways in your life that you’ve worked to kick the inner critic? I’d love to know!