Updated: Jun 23, 2022
© Copyright 2021 Artwork by Cordi Neckermann
Turning up the voice of self-love and giving my inner critic a rest is the ultimate stress release for me. Even just a few moments of connecting to that kind and sweet inner voice can turn my day around in an instant. But I haven't always been able to listen to that voice. For a long time, the dominant attitude in my life was perfection and creating comfort for everyone else around me... except myself. Why? Because we lovely humans want to be loved and that was my way of getting other humans to like me. Unfortunately, it all backfired and a few years ago I suffered from mum burnout. The word 'burn-out' perfectly describes how I felt at the time and what happened to me. There was no 'me' left, it had all been burned away with the effort of trying to be perfect and likeable for others. Needless to say, these efforts were not my best idea and were in reality, extremely detrimental to me.
Fast forward to today. I managed to pull myself out of my dark, empty and depressed state by connecting to the voice of self-love which I now call my inner superhero. My inner perfectionist and people-pleaser had become so out of hand, that I needed protection (from myself, aka my inner critic!) and for me, a superhero was the best character I could envisage to counteract my negative self-talk. There are many different descriptions used for this positive inner voice in the self-help world, terms from angels to inner guides. They all work, but only if it feels like this is truly you. I love comics and fantasy movies and stories, so it was only natural to have an inner superhero representing my image of self-love.
Over the past ten years, I have read, listened to and watched a huge amount of self-help content and I have to admit it was not just one particular author or speaker who deserves the credit of inspiring me to change my habits. Different techniques and viewpoints from different people saying the same thing, but using other imagery and examples did the trick. You could say the fact I was consistently looking for a way to make the shift towards more positivity and out of the dark hole I found myself in was the first step in the right direction. Out of all the books, speeches and podcasts from different mental health experts I read and listened to, I picked and chose the things that really resonated with me and clearly rejected the methods that didn’t work for me.
I want to share with you a few of my favourite techniques that I use every day to boost self-love and stay connected to my inner superhero.
Slow Down I set an alarm on my phone at least once a day to remind me to slow down. When it goes off, I remind myself to take the time to have a cup of tea or enjoy a healthy snack. Very often, I find myself rushing through things, thinking I will save time. My alarm flags to me that rushing around does nothing, except making me feel stressed out. The time saved is usually used correcting mistakes. Slow and steady wins the race!
Feed my inner critic chocolate Sometimes, just listening is not enough to banish unhelpful thoughts, especially when the thoughts are specific to a project or event. When that happens, I make an effort to be extra nice to my inner critic. My inner critic likes chocolate (and happens to be male!), so I let him have a little piece when he becomes extremely annoying. I also let him know that I appreciate his feedback, but unfortunately it is not constructive enough to be implemented. That usually sends him back into his cave, grumbling until next time!
Listen to my Inner Superhero I ike to take a 10-minute break at least once a day to have a cup of tea with myself, close my eyes and listen to music. In my view, watching TV, reading or scrolling on your phone doesn’t count. Spending just 10 minutes with myself and my thoughts, just listening lovingly what is going in my mind really helps. Thoughts are just thoughts, so anything goes. I always try to meet them with lots of love, just like embracing a crying child. Welcoming in every thought, helps to let the unhelpful ones fall away and the voice of my inner superhero remains with me for the rest of the day. You can find a more detailed description on how to listen here.
Pen to paper I work through and express feelings best through writing or drawing. Sometimes it takes some time to work through things and sort out thoughts. Writing or drawing in a journal is the place for me to do that. Sometimes just looking at my journal or sketchbook and knowing that I can escape to a place where I can safely express and sort through my feelings, gives me comfort. It's very useful to find and know what works for you when it comes to sorting through and expressing feelings. I find all feelings are better out than in and should be expressed in a healthy way.
I love you I learned this exercise from Gabriella Bernstein and it is truly one of the most powerful techniques I have ever tried. Stand in front of a mirror, look into your own eyes and say I LOVE YOU out loud. This is the one exercise that drives away all unhelpful thoughts for me and brings me back to a more positive mindset. It is the equivalent to the Bat Signal for Batman in Gotham City. It allows my inner superhero to come swooping in and lift me out of any self-doubt or self-harming thoughts.
I hope some of these tips will help you to boost your own self-love power and connect with that motivating, inspiring and courageous voice inside you. Listening more to my inner superhero brought me back to dancing because it is the one of the things brings me the most joy.
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See you soon,
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