Five Steps to Stop Beating Yourself Up

We sabotage ourselves in so many ways that we feel the barriers between us and true self love. And the biggest way we sabotage ourselves is through our thoughts. 
There’s a story I heard about the Dalai Lama and the idea of self-hatred. At a conference, an attendee asked His Holiness about the concept of self-hatred and how it plagues people who live in the West. The Dalai Lama was so confused by the concept that he went back and forth with his translator several times, trying to understand. He asked questions to the audience such as does everyone understand this and why would you do that? Eventually he concluded that he thought he understood the mind and now this concept was so foreign that he felt ignorant. 
My takeaway is that the concept of hating the self is conditioned, we are not born this way as a human. If we were, each human would be able to relate to it as a universal feeling. Universal feelings are those such as love, sadness, fear. If self-hatred was universal the Dalai Lama would know what it is.
Self-hatred takes many forms. Last week, I encouraged you to look at your self-talk and track your positive and negative comments to yourself. Negative self- talk is one of the most common ways we express dislike for ourselves. We beat ourselves up for making mistakes or not being enough. Anything that is learned can be unlearned. There is hope
Today I want to show you how to stop beating yourself up. Let’s take it step by step. Let’s say that you accidentally hit another car in the parking lot. 
Your self-talk might sound something like this, “I am such an idiot. I’m a terrible driver. I am such a mess-up. I’ve ruined my car, their car, and my entire day. This is just awful. How could I be such a garbage person?” 
The first step to stop beating yourself up is to:
1.Notice you’re doing it.
You can’t stop something if you don’t even know you’re doing it. You have to be aware enough of your thoughts to know what the soundtrack is. What thoughts are running around in your brain? (This is why I had you do the homework last week!) Take note of what they are. 
Your first reaction might be to beat yourself up for negative thoughts. This is just going to be a downward spiral. Instead of labeling the thoughts as bad, wrong, or even negative, I would encourage you to just notice. It looks like this: “I’m thinking the thought that…”
By labeling your thought as a thought, you create some distance. The next step is: 
2.Tell someone.
The power of your negative thinking lessens when you say it out loud to a compassionate witness. The key here is that is must be a compassionate witness. They are NOT going to solve the problem. Instruct this person that their only responsibility is to say something like “I hear you.” And it must be someone you trust and feel comfortable with. You’re going to tell the person that you’re beating yourself up and share the thoughts you’re thinking. If they can help you laugh at yourself, even better. 
You can do the next step with the person or you can do it alone. 
3.Find proof of the opposite. 
If you are thinking you’re a terrible person, how could the opposite be true? If you’re a terrible person, how could it be true that you’re not a terrible person? Is there one place in your life where you’re not terrible? All you need is one example to get yourself started and soon you will find two, then three, and more examples. By giving yourself examples of how the opposite is true, you begin to believe your thoughts less and they carry less weight. 
Next, you’re going to set your thinking for something more positive and you’re going to: 
4.Express gratitude.
I know gratitude has been the buzz word for a little while now, and it is because it works. Gratitude shifts your thinking. Maybe you are simply grateful that at least you have a car to be driving to and from your errands, even if you did make a mistake. Maybe you’re grateful for your capable body or eyesight that is able to drive. You’re grateful no one got hurt. Let yourself really feel the gratitude. It doesn’t count if you’re saying it from gritted teeth and you’re only doing it because I say so. Really feel thankful. 
And after gratitude we are going to alter your thinking a little bit with the final step.
5.Give yourself a replacement phrase and an anchor. 
What can you be thinking instead of your self-hatred thoughts? “I’m glad no one got hurt.” Find a new thought that is not going to make you feel awful. And I encourage you to give yourself a physical anchor so that it can trigger thinking the new thought. An anchor is something physical that you can see or touch that will be a physical reminder. The old way of thinking is a habit, and it takes some focused energy to replace a habit. It could be a piece of jewelry or something in your car that you see and touch like the gear shift. Whenever you see or touch your new anchor, say your new replacement thought. If you catch yourself beating yourself up, touch the anchor and say your new thought. 
This is a process, especially if you’ve been practicing some self hatred for a period of time. Just like we learned this, it can be unlearned. With practice, consciousness and discipline, it can change.