Do you remember the last time you said negative things about yourself— to yourself? Negative self-talk can look differently for everyone, but there are usually similar general themes. Many people, especially women, talk down to themselves about their body image, their parenting styles, their romantic relationships and their work lives.
For many stepmothers, negative self-talk is all-too-common and can happen at any time. How about that one time your stepchild yelled, “You are not my mom!” Or the time you argued with your partner over expectations for his kids’ behavior toward you?
Looking around your home, you think: Is the laundry done? Are their lunches packed? Is the house clean? Did I remember to feed the dog? As you read these scenarios, you may recall saying to yourself something like, “I’m failing at step-family life. I just can’t get my stuff together. I’m a mess!
We women are characteristically harder on ourselves than men are. We struggle with the most devilish critics of all, which nothing could ever beat—ourselves. We tend to treat ourselves poorly, but will go to the ends of the Earth to console a distraught child or a stressed-out partner.
Why is it that we treat those close to us with such kindness and compassion, yet cannot do the same for ourselves? Would our lives change, if we began to treat ourselves the way we would treat a best friend who is in pain?
The answer, according to self-compassion researcher and University of Texas at Austin Associate Professor Kristin Neff, PhD, is “Yes!” …To read the rest of this article, log in to your account and download the January 2017 issue. Don’t have an account? Click here to subscribe.