Reflection Vs. Self-criticism
Self-care can include taking time to sit down and reflect on the different aspects of your life. I personally enjoy journaling and I'll often go back and re-read my entries at a later date and think on how that current situation is going now. It's important for me to write down what's happening in my life, how I feel about it and what i'm doing. Reflection is a way for me to appreciate things, or take a step back and re-evaluate something.
Sometimes it's just a good way for me to lift something heavy off my mind and let it go. Not everyone practices reflection through journaling, but I think whatever method someone chooses, taking time to reflect, especially as mothers, is important to keep perspective.
However, there are moments when reflection can turn into something negative and counter productive. Many times we don't even realize it's happening. It creeps up slowly, innocently and often one tiny thought begins it. You see, there are moments when reflection turns into harsh self-criticism. Not everything you reflect on will be positive but this isn't a moment to nit pick on everything that you've done wrong.
When reflection becomes a judgment session on all the reasons you could be better, it's no longer productive and it's time to change tunes.
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One way to make sure your time of reflection doesn't turn into self-criticism is to see if your thoughts are leading to positive change. Even if it's about something that might not exactly bring you joy. For example, if you're thinking about why you felt so impatient with your little one today- instead of beating yourself up about being so impatient, focus on what might have caused this and list out the opportunities you'll have tomorrow to show your child some extra tenderness. If you're feeling guilty about a lack of self-discipline to stick to your workout routine, instead of beating yourself up about it, seek out things that will motivate you for the next day.
You don't want to shy away from the things you feel like you could improve if that's what you're reflecting on, but you certainly don't want to drown yourself in criticism. A good rule of thumb? Talk to yourself the same way you would talk to your kids!
Imagine they were telling you about their day and how they wish they could have done better on their art project; picture how you would respond to them then apply it to yourself. If it sounds too harsh to say to a 12 year old, you probably shouldn't say it to yourself either.