Would you criticize or judge her?

First Grade Jan

Would you criticize her?  Judge her? Shame her?

I’m guessing your answer is a firm “NO” as I know that is my response.  So why then am I so willing to criticize, judge, and shame the almost 40 year old version of her?

Time to get real, my friends….

As a health and fitness coach, and someone who believes deeply in the practice of being mindful, intentional, and raising my own level of self awareness, how could I possibly struggle so much with adopting the practices of self love and self care that I teach my clients?  It rolls off my tongue so easily, and I believe in it SO deeply when I talk to people about learning to love and respect themselves; but newsflash friends, I’m human too and I also struggle.

So let’s just lay it on the line…

Most of the time I am positive, happy, and grateful and I really strive to live my life in this space, but I get down just like everyone else and I have to work to lift myself up out of the space of fear, darkness, and self loathing.

I was recently listening to a podcast with Kris Carr, who I just love, and she was talking about this exact subject.  She is one of the most inspiring speakers and authors of our time, a self proclaimed cancer “thriver”, Kris lives with stage four terminal cancer and thrives.  Well in this podcast she was talking about how she sometimes slips into a dark space of judgement, and when she does, she looks at a picture of her five year old self and asks: would you judge her in this way?  Wow, this really struck a cord, and the picture posted at the top of this post is exactly the image of myself that came to mind.  The first-grade version of Jan that was happy, with just a touch of apprehension.  You might not be able to see the vulnerability in my smile, but my goodness, I can feel it like it was yesterday.

So I asked myself, would you EVER say this to the first grade Jan:

WHY are you so frigging emotional?  Stop being SO sensitive.

Why don’t you do MORE?  You are procrastinating again, you are LAZY.

Why are you eating THAT and why are you eating SO much of it.  You are a health coach for crying out loud, you TEACH this stuff, why can’t you get it RIGHT for yourself?

Your thighs.  Ugh.

You are a FRAUD.

Would I ever say any of this to that little girl, who was so proud of the dress she was wearing, but yet held back a bit of her smile because she was just a little afraid of being so happy?  NEVER.

Never.  Never. Never.

I want to love her and tell her that she is PERFECT exactly as she is.

I want to tell her that her sweet, sensitive, and often overly excitable spirit, will make people happy and make them smile.

I want to tell her that she will live a life that is real and messy and beautiful and that she will inspire others to do the same.

I want to tell her that she should NEVER hold back her smile as it is okay to be vulnerable and afraid.

I want to tell her that no matter what happens, she will be okay as there is so much love and light in her heart.

I would tell her that I LOVE HER.  I LOVE HER.

Friends, it is so easy for me to look at this picture and tell her that I love her, but to be totally raw and honest, I struggle to look in mirror and say it to the almost 40 year old version of her.  So for today, I will love her.  And when I find myself falling into that space of self judgement and shame, I will ask myself, would you say this to HER?  And with that, the healing begins.

So if any of this resonates, I suggest that you pull out the old photo albums and find THIS picture of YOU.  I’m sure that one has already come to mind.  Frame it and visit it whenever you find yourself saying anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to HER.


  1. Elena

    Wow – didn’t expect to get so teary on this one! THANK YOU again for bringing to the surface that the voices dancing around or sometimes stomping around in my head need to get reigned in. Life’s too short to be my own worse enemy and that is so easy to forget. Your wisdom continues to shine light for everyone’s benefit! 🙂

    1. Jan Taylor

      Thank you, Bug!! And that picture of me gets me pretty teared up too… 🙂
      If we think about THAT version of ourselves, which is who we really are, it gets a little easier to abandon some of that negative self talk that plagues us all. So glad you found it helpful… XO

  2. Jane Macgreogor

    Wow – now I’m crying. Amazing!! You really touched my core. I have to find that picture. You are so adorable❤️ I think I’m going to carry a picture around with me because I would never treat my 5 year old self the way I treat me – great way to stop the negative talk and love myself – thanks Jan xoxo

    1. Jan Taylor

      Thank you, Jane! Together we can all try to be kinder to ourselves. And let’s keep the child version of ourselves front of mind as we would NEVER talk to her the way we talk to ourselves now. Yes, put that picture in your wallet and keep her with you – she IS with you. She IS you. Okay, now I’m crying AGAIN. Guess it is one of those days… 😉 XOXO

  3. martha hallett

    Simply perfect piece. Women especially need to be reminded constantly that it all starts with them. Fantastic way to shift perspectives and see the innocence and honesty that lies within us all.
    I normally don’t read much on FB, but this was timely and inspirational. Many thanks.

    1. Jan Taylor

      What a lovely sentiment. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my piece and share these kind comments. It isn’t always easy to be this honest, but I think that it is important to share how we feel so that we can all start to heal our thoughts together.
      Take good care!

  4. Samantha

    Oh Jan so full of wisdom you are. Thank you for this passage I have really enjoyed reading it. You are and have always been such a ray of light. I’m sad to read the things you say to yourself, at times. They are all so untrue. You are not only an amazing woman but a true inspiration to so many. I look up to you, I trust you and in you and I always hang on your every word. You are contagious! I looked up kris carr after you spoke of her, wow what a woman. As I watched one of her videos on you tube the feelings I got were some of the same I get when I watch or listen to you. Both beautiful hearted woman with a strong purpose to help others live their best possible life. I enjoyed listing to her but I have to say I enjoy you even more 🙂
    Keep up the good work Jan you are amazing and are such a gift to so many of us. We need you and we love you! Thank you for believing so deeply in what you do it’s because of you I too can believe in me.

    1. Jan Taylor

      Sam, you words have lit 100 dark days for me – thank you so much for your energy, enthusiasm, and LOVE. I do get nervous sharing stuff like this that is so personal, but I think that it is important for people to know that we ALL struggle, so that together, we can ALL heal. What a beautiful world it is when we all love and support each other. It allows us to love ourselves too. And your comments are extra special for me as I met you just a few short years after that picture was taken. What a gift to have you (and your family!) in my life for all these years. Much love! jan

  5. Mom

    Jan, that was amazing and inspiring. I love that picture of you. I remember the little blue dress well. I am reading Louise Hays and she does a lot of mirror work to get people to love themselves. We all need to look in the mirror and smile and praise ourselves. You have helped me regain my vision of myself. Thank you. I’m glad you are also taking care of Jan. I love to think about all of us in the Universe being one and taking care of each other. XOXOXO

    1. Jan Taylor

      Well, my day is complete, as making your mom proud is the icing on the cake. 🙂
      So easy to love six year old “yan” – she’s going to take me to even higher places.
      And that picture of you setting off to girl scouts when you were so young is so emblazoned in my heart. Those two little girls make quite a team. I love them dearly. xo

  6. I love this story for it’s vulnerability, insight and message. Thank you for sharing this Jan and for giving us all a strategy to avoid that negative self talk and lack of self acceptance that lingers into our mind and heart.

    1. Jan Taylor

      Thank you, Anna! It can be scary being so honest, but I know that we all have struggles and it is important to share what helps us to shift our mindset. You’ve inspired me SO much with everything you do. Really grateful for your time and comments. 🙂

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