Grooming Gab
Don't Believe Everything You Hear (Or Think)
by Kathy Hosler

Can you imagine hearing constant criticism like this all day, every day? Some groomers don’t have to imagine it—they live it. And, the worst part is, all the demeaning, belittling comments and put-downs come from themselves!

Comments like these are called self-criticism and they can be psychologically devastating when a person is constantly subjected to them. Self-criticism is when you harshly evaluate yourself, focusing on the perceived flaws and shortcomings in your behavior, abilities and personality.

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For some, it begins with negative comments and criticisms they receive while they are growing up. Those childhood experiences lead to feelings of worthlessness, a poor self-image, anxiety, guilt, self-doubt and more. As adults, these individuals struggle with a continuous internalized dialog of toxic self-criticism.

Everyone has an internal dialog. It has been estimated that a person has about 60,000 thoughts per day. That’s 60,000 opportunities to build yourself up, or tear yourself down. Occasional self-critiquing can be good, as it may increase your self-awareness and help you achieve personal growth. You can also learn from your mistakes and motivate yourself to overcome unwanted habits. However, unrelenting criticism is not the way to motivate yourself. It can lead to perpetual guilt, chronic anxiety and depression. Your thoughts and internal dialog affect your health and your work performance. They can sabotage your career and your happiness.

You can’t allow a toxic inner critic to bully you and to control you and your life. Constant negativity can make you afraid to try new things such as entering a grooming contest or opening your own salon. You don’t have to be a victim of your own verbal abuse. Overcoming self-criticism is hard, but you can do it…one day, one hour or even a few minutes at a time. It won’t happen overnight, but there are ways to silence the overbearing meanie in you.

First and foremost, it’s time to be kind to yourself. Say that out loud, slowly, and let the words sink in…It’s time to be kind to yourself.

Work on cultivating an encouraging and positive inner dialog to help silence the self-reproach and disapproval you have heard for so long.
Would you ever speak to someone you love with the harsh comments and criticism you heap on yourself? Of course not. Starting today, treat yourself with the same kindness and compassion you show a friend or loved one.

Every time you find yourself having negative thoughts, stop and replace them with positive ones. Work on cultivating an encouraging and positive inner dialog to help silence the self-reproach and disapproval you have heard for so long. Don’t give up if you don’t make huge progress right away. It takes time to overcome years of browbeating. And, never hesitate to seek professional help if you are having difficulty.

Instead of tearing yourself down, focus on the things you are doing right. Recognize your strengths and explore ways to build on them. For example, to improve your grooming skills, sign up for classes and seminars, take private lessons and go to trade shows. Always keep learning and surround yourself with people who support and encourage you. As your confidence grows, you will find it easier to ignore thoughts that try to rob you of inner peace.

Keep a self-gratitude journal. It can be a very helpful and effective tool. Take a little bit of time each day to write down things you have done well. This helps solidify and verify the progress you are making. Also, cultivate new interests. Perhaps you could learn to play a musical instrument, sign up for a yoga class or learn to paint. Try to find things that will bring joy, comfort and peace to your life instead of the constant anxiety and dissatisfaction you have been living with.

Over 150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Isn’t it time to make your happiness a priority?

If self-criticism is something you struggle with, and that nasty little voice starts nagging at you, don’t believe it. Instead, believe this: You need to be kind, gentle and loving to yourself. You deserve it!