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Transform Self-Criticism into Self-Acceptance

By Bailey Miller
August 11, 2021

Self-judgment is an easy trap to fall into, especially in the age of carefully-curated Instagram accounts. But focusing too much on the false images portrayed by others on social media can turn a moment of self-criticism into a negative cycle that can keep you from living your own full, authentic life.

In a Twill webinar, Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher Liza Colpa guided participants through a one-hour session of breath work, gentle yoga, and guided meditation to help them develop the tools to break through their self-judgment and find “enoughness” within themselves. Here are Colpa's three best tips for overcoming your inner critic to lead a life that is more aligned with our most authentic self.

Study Yourself

Allowing yourself to take a step back and analyze what’s contributing to your feelings of insecurity can help to break the false belief that you are somehow lacking. “It’s so hard to be yourself in a world that is built upon the illusion that you are not enough,” says Colpa. And recognizing how you may be contributing to that false illusion can be eye-opening and life-changing.

The first step in the journey of finding your authentic self is to observe the critical, negative thoughts that drain our happiness and question them. “Asking yourself the big question, ‘Why does this trigger me?’ and taking a moment to stop and simply observe, that is the greatest tool when it comes to self-study,” she says. “Observing your thinking and noticing your feelings is the beginning of recognizing how you judge yourself.”

Find Your North Star

“Your second tool is recognizing where you’re at when you’re at your happiest," explains Colpa. "That is your vision of love.” Creating this vision of pure happiness can lead you to feeling more at peace with yourself and your life, stop you from comparing yourself to others, and inspire you to develop a more positive self-image. Focusing on this North Star—what Colpa calls the vision of your "highest self at your highest potential," can help distract you from negative self-appraisal.

Choose to Live Authentically

This third step, which takes our observations and visions and turns them into actions, is where mantras and affirmations come in, Colpa notes. “It’s important to ask ourselves, ‘What are the mantras that most resonate with me?’” she says, explaining that we can use our self-study and North Star to our advantage. Some examples of mantras to use in times like these include: “I am enough,” “I am worthy,” “I’m exactly where I need to be,” and “I create my own magic.” But you can use any mantra or affirmation that resonates with you and your most authentic self.

But, she cautions, we shouldn't force mantras and affirmations with which we do not feel aligned. "It’s most important to use these mantras when you start to feel fear, when you feel judged, or when you start to judge others," says Colpa. "That’s the moment to say ‘OK, breathe, self-observation, why is this triggering me?’, and return to your mantra.”

Although it may be difficult at first, leaning into these three practices and focusing on who you want to be can make all the difference in transforming self-judgment into personal growth. With these tools, Liza says, we can “break away from…the illusions that sometimes feed into our everyday world, and recognize that vision of happiness is indeed our truth.”

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