Tuesday Beauty Tips: Because Words Matter

Published in: Beauty Tips

What do you say (to yourself)?

How would you describe your inner voice? Is she a supportive personal cheerleader, one who lifts you up with positive words of encouragement, or is she constantly criticizing your every move? If yours is the former, consider yourself blessed.



Some of us (I’m one of ‘em) have slightly less supportive inner voices. Mine’s a perfectionist, and I appreciate her chiming in when I’m working on a big project with lots of details to manage; other times, though, she can be a real pain in the @ss, pointing out my faults and reminding me of everything I do wrong: “God, you’re so dumb,” or “That was the worst possible choice you could have made,” or “Why even bother? You’re never going to get your crap together.”

It comes down to a question


For most of my life, I let my angry inner voice be herself. Then I read an article a few years ago about being mindful of the things we say to ourselves. There was a woman in the story who talked about having a critical inner voice like mine. She only realized how badly she’d been speaking to herself when her therapist asked, “Would you talk to your child the way you talk to yourself?” :(

Ouch. Ever since I read that article I’ve tried to keep the critical part of my inner voice in check. Truth be told, it’s not always easy, but now when I feel the urge to tear myself down, I think about that therapist’s question. I can either treat the child with kindness and patience, or sink my claws into her and beat her down. Most of the time, it works.

Words matter, even the ones we use when we’re talking to ourselves.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,

Karen

57 Comments

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  1. Meghan says:

    Karen,

    I really needed to hear this today. Thank you for posting this. This is one of my favorite posts you have written and I have read all of them! I’m going to pass this along to all my friends and those that I love. Thanks again!

    ~Meghan

  2. YadiQ says:

    this is very insightful

    my inner voice is B(*^h lol i try to battle her but she manages to get the best of me 90% of the time

    i am my own worst critic – before anyone can get down on me i have already done it to myself
    uggh – i suffer from perfectionistic ways which ends up in me doing much more work than i should because lazy people like to shirk responsibilities and my philosophy is if you want it done right just do it yourself – bad way of thinking!!!

    great way to keep yourself in check ima try it

    • Karen says:

      I think it really helps. Just imagine that kid… it works like a charm.

      I just got back from taking Tabs out for a walk. There’s a break in the storm, yay!

      • YadiQ says:

        i thinkits so funny you walk tabs lol

        i am sure he loves it

        jaz used to be an outside cat but since she came into city living shes indoors all the way she has broken all my blinds climbing to the window sills to “talk to the birds”

        the little kitty with the baby looks like a baby tabs :D

      • Karen says:

        Tabs LOVES messing with the blinds. Lately he’s been all about messing with the strings… He bats them, chews them and basically tries his best to destroy them all. Sigh.

        Does Jaz chirp when she sees birds?

  3. Devs says:

    Thanks so much for doing this post! I find myself constantly criticizing myself and I think this particular year it is really brining me down. I am trying to be more positive and open minded to my own actions and although I am having a difficult time, I hope it will work out in the end!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Devs,

      It takes some work, but if you’re good about catching yourself the moment it happens it’ll eventually be second nature.

      Yay for being our own personal cheerleaders!

  4. Helen says:

    It’s hard and I feel your pain. My inner voice is a critical one. I’ve had to force myself to “negate” any bad comments from my inner voice by stating something positive about myself (out loud or quietly if you are in public. :p). It works most of the time as of late since I’ve gotten better at it, but not always.

    I’ve never viewed my inner voice as a child. I need to try this approach. Thank you so much for this post.

  5. Thanks for this post Karen. My inner voice is kinda like yours and I get OCD fits from time to time. I guess that’s a nice way to avoid thinking those unproductive thoughts. I’ll try to think about that next time I start feeling low again, but instead of thinking of ‘my child’ I’ll think of my younger brother lol. xx
    .-= Princesa Livia’s last blog post… LOOK: Smokey Beige & Blue =-.

  6. Janet B says:

    What a wonderful, insightful and sensitive post today! Thank you for sharing a simple way to nip that voice in the bud when it rears it’s ugly head. We all need to change that running commentary going on in ours heads into a positive present balance. Thanks Karen!

  7. NC says:

    This is such a wonderful post Karen , This is a really good reminder for me to keep my thoughts/words in check about myself … . I am going to bookmark this article so I can read it whenever I criticize myself too much !!

  8. Vanessa H says:

    Thank you, I really needed this today!
    .-= Vanessa H’s last blog post… This just makes me laugh… =-.

  9. Trisha says:

    It seems like I talk to myself way better now than I ever didn’t. I’m not sure how it happened. I didn’t make a conscious effort to change. But now, I rarely talk down to myself. It’s a better life. :)
    .-= Trisha’s last blog post… Beauty Lingo: Dermatologist Tested =-.

  10. Leanne says:

    That’s an amazing way of thinking about our inner voices!

  11. Lindsey says:

    Thanks for the positive message! :)

  12. jen says:

    wow…I never even CONSIDERED that. I may just be nicer to myself from now on…Thank you!

  13. Ellie says:

    Thanks for this post, Karen! I have the same problem: I’m more harsh with myself than with my students. We’re all learning (the game of life!), so we all have to be patient with each other and ourselves.
    I appreciate your kind and positive words!

  14. Wonderful post. I never realized that “speaking to a child” thing. I guess I should be kinder to myself. :)

  15. Diana says:

    Hi Karen

    I am a loyal lurker on your blog and never have posted until now. I felt like this post was important because I recently have been on the look out for a positive thought to live by. This will help. Thanks.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Diana,

      Thank you for coming by and saying hello. I’m so happy to hear that this little thought will help you… hopefully your inner cheerleader will become a constant companion.

      Have a wonderful day!

  16. Liz says:

    I am in horror shock after I questioned myself,, I am a huge self critic and perfectionist *only child syndrome, all expectations are on you*. Guess I never realized “how” I talk to myself,,

    Thank you,

  17. Monique says:

    This was such an awesome post. I really need this today. I have been tearing myself down and I would never say to someone the mean things that I say to myself. Wonderful post. I am going to try my best to remember what this post. Thank you!

  18. shivotra says:

    i love this post. its exactly what i needed today. thank you Karen!
    .-= shivotra’s last blog post… How to: sexy bed-head waves like Sonam’s =-.

  19. Kewal says:

    What a thought-provoking post, Karen. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Thanks for this dear.

  20. Becky says:

    This is so true! I think what it boils down to is to train yourself to have a positive attitude toward everyone (self included). I have been reading “The Objective is Happiness” by Thomas Wakefield and am learning how to obtain more of a positive outlook to attract good things and have to say that it has truly been an awesome learning just how powerful a positive attitude can have on a person- it can shape that inner voice into a more positive one.

    http://bit.ly/9K9HPc
    .-= Becky’s last blog post… beckybooks: I am reading the most inspirational book titled, "The Objective is Happiness" by Thomas Wakefield. =-.

  21. Henri says:

    I can`t change your inner voice, but I would like to say that you seem to be beautiful, caring, compassionate and to top it of, you`re a great mom to Tabs and one hell of a writer! I truly enjoy your blog, and much of it is due to your language and writing skills. Reading your blog makes me feel like I`m doing important stuff when I`m actually just procrastinating with beauty stuff :-) I hope this can silence your inner voice for a little while, Karen – have a great day!

  22. NINA says:

    Thanks … ive come to look forward to stuff like this from you too …. :-)

    I am my worst critic (I think we all are) and at some point, I had almost no confidence in myself. But I guess at some point, I realized that the only person who will stand up for me is me.

    Ive learned to be less harsh on myself … but there are times when I forget. I think we all need to give ourselves pats on the back for hanging in there. That in itself is a huge achievement.

    Happy Wednesday … the weekend is in sight! :-)

    • Karen says:

      What wise words Nina. :)

      Ya know, I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know you (and the other ladies here). Sometimes it really does feel like we’re all just chatting away over coffee…

      • NINA says:

        I love reading the interactions in your blog … and I am happy to have met you (albeit virtually) …

        I feel the same way — it could almost be over coffee… and sometimes it is (at least on my side!) — I read/post here while having my mornin cuppa joe!!!!

  23. mkdallas says:

    Eloquently stated and thought-provoking post. Thank you. I think my own inner voice swings wildly from total self-bashing to unrealistic self-props, lol. It would be nice to live in more of a middle ground. Love the pic of Tabs; his facial expression is just ambiguous enough to suggest either “I’m loving this moment” or “get this kid off me, NOW!”

  24. Kim says:

    I guess I never thought about it that way. But I should start because I tend to be a perfectionist sometimes, too. It’s always, “You’re just too stupid to do this,” or “Wow, way to go” (with extreme sarcasm). I need to put myself in check! Sometimes I just try to override that silly girl in my head and say, “This isn’t as big of a deal as you think it is. Just chill out!” Sometimes it works and sometimes it just makes her angry.

    • Karen says:

      I find that when I’m on the cusp of making that inner voice angry it helps to take a step back — whether it be a walk outside, a shower (something about the water chills me out, it’s weird), or just a few minutes of deep breathing.

  25. Monique says:

    I’m not gonna cry because I have on concealer that needs to last for the rest of the day, but if I were at home right now I would. My inner voice hasn’t been very supportive lately and I needed to read this. I need to learn how to treat her with love and kindness always but I too have that perfectionism talking to me that makes me feel stupid. Thanks to you I will today focus on treating her kinder and gentler. I will not cry, I will learn how to love her unconditionally instead.

  26. Kim says:

    I always subscribe to comments I’ve posted in, to “hear” input from other people and this post has been truly inspiring for everyone. Everyone has had their “a ha!” moment today and I’m so glad to know that we all find comfort within each other — even though none of us have ever met or spoken in any other form other than this blog (or Twitter and Facebook!).

    I’m happy to be banded together with these women of strength. Thanks, Karen.

  27. Alison says:

    My inner voice is extremely critical and negative. It used to be a perfectionist but has evolved (or de-evolved) into an excrutiatingly nasty voice, criticising everything about myself to the point where now I have absolutely zero self confidence and it has affected my entire life.

    Thankyou for posting this, I am going to start asking myself that question to try and keep my inner voice in check. Hopefully it will help me to feel more positive about myself and my future and actually move forward.

  28. Glosslizard says:

    I think I maybe a little crazy, ’cause I have two inner voices! :) I have the sharp, critical “b***h”, but also the mellow “zen mistress”! So my inner dialogues sometimes play out along the lines of good cop, bad cop! The upside is that the sharp voice keeps me on my toes and the mellow voice reminds me to be kind to myself… but no wonder I’m so indecisive! ;)

  29. Anna W says:

    I haven’t read your blog in awhile. But thank you for this great post.

    The voice I tend to hear mimics my father’s — belittling, discouraging, critical, disappointing. That’s how encouraging he was to me when I was growing up.

    In my twenties, I wasn’t a very confident individual. I was battling depression, and suicidal tendencies, self-destructive. Those are my demons.

    I have two children, been married 7.5 yrs to a great man (who is the total opposite of my father’s character). I just turned 40yr last week. I still have to work on things — love myself is one thing. Not to be so critical of myself etc. I had those crazy thoughts now and again. But I’m still here.

  30. yvette says:

    good post, and nice reminder. thanks.

    oh and i have been obsessing over the coco rouge line – just finally got to go to macy’s today and was stunned to see mademoiselle turn an icky orange on me. walked away with organdi rose instead. which are your faves?

  31. marisol says:

    Sometimes I feel a bit bipolar (no offense to those who suffer from this disease) but it’s the Gemini in me. I consider myself more of an optimist but there are times that I am my own worst enemy. It’s like I have two different personalities & I need to make an effort to listen to the positive one.
    .-= marisol’s last blog post… Showing my Kindle some love =-.

  32. xiaoxia says:

    I really love this beauty tips channel.
    This post and the one you made last Tuesday are both my favorites, very encouraging indeed, and thank you so much for this amazing website: )

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