Are You Your Own Worst Critic? Love Yourself Anyway.

Are you always getting down on yourself, forever focusing on where you've fallen short of the person you aspire to be, rather than celebrating how often you actually are?

Today is my birthday! Thirty nine. Again. I don't share that with you to solicit fancy gifts, though if you feel inclined, go right ahead.

Every birthday I take time out to reflect on the year just gone and reset my compass for the one to come. As I looked back on the last 12 months, one thing that came up for me is how hard I can be on myself. And I'm guessing that sometimes you can be too!

Just last week my friend Shannah told me how proud I should feel about all I've done since moving to Australia a few years ago. "I guess so," I replied, biting my tongue from listing the many things I've failed to do or could have done better. A fellow coach, I knew she'd reprimand me if I did.

Many people are overly tough on themselves; focusing far more on where they've fallen short of the person they aspire to be, rather than celebrating how often they actually are.

If you also often wrestle with an inner critic in your head, it's my birthday wish for you today to be a little kinder to yourself; to forgive yourself for the times you've slipped up or fallen down. To cut yourself slack when you've dropped a ball or lost your cool. To embrace your faults, accept your fallibility and to decide, just for today, that you will love yourself anyway (and if it feels good, you can repeat tomorrow!)

There is not a single human inhabiting this planet whose fear, pride or greed (which are really just other forms of fear) hasn't driven them act in ways they knew were wrong or unkind or hurtful. In Brave I wrote that when we act in ways that violate our own values, it's important to say sorry, ask for forgiveness and seek to make amends. However unless we can forgive ourselves, our past can hold our future hostage.

Imagine the shift it would make in your daily life if you decided to that you would only act and speak and eat and move like you loved yourself -- despite the parts of yourself you don't always love! Imagine how only acting as though you truly loved and fully valued yourself could transform your home and career and body and your relationship with yourself!

I won't pretend that I've got this mastered. Far from it. But it's my birthday gift to myself to be lighter with myself when I slip up or fall short. And I sense that by doing so, it will help me be lighter with life and easier with others. Less judgmental, more playful and, ironically, more connected to the very causes and people that infuse joy and meaning into my life.

And I will make a bet that it will do the very same for you.

So let's try it.

Together.

Live bravely -- but before you do, try loving yourself a bit more first.