Since I mentioned compassion it's crazy how many times it has come up! I started jotting down some creative ideas on ways to be more compassionate towards myself, and realized there's some major unwinding I have to do first, from a lesson I learned really well, I’d even say mastered, which states:
Talking down about yourself is a GOOD thing.
Bashing yourself when you screw up comes across as polite, that you're responsible, conscientious. And this is continuously reinforced in so many areas of life. Talking down about your looks is so appropriate and sounds cool, talking down about your accomplishments, your house, your homemade hot apple pie is all polite, proper, and shows you are a good person. And when you’re treating yourself this way out loud in front of others, it’s guaranteed that you’re doing it to yourself in your head while you’re alone. At least that’s true for me. So that means I'm bashing myself in public and at home for basically everything, especially for mistakes and errors, and even emotional reactions.
This is the Old Story. This old story teaches us to be very compassionate towards others, yet very discompassionate for ourselves. And until recently I have seen this as totally normal and have been rocking this old story.
The New Story. What if we treated ourselves like we loved ourselves? Like we'd treat our best friend or 6-month old child? I’m not saying that we should become arrogant, boastful, or blindly self-serving. But there is a difference between those adjectives and grateful, self-confident, and genuinely excited to be on Earth. Plus, I've learned that when I feel good I am able to give more of myself to others. So when we have more compassion towards ourselves, wouldn’t that mean we's be capable of more compassion towards others?
A few things that work for me to create more self compassion:
- Receive. When complimented say thank you and actually receive it. If this is hard to do then dare yourself to think, “what if what they said was the absolute truth...just what if?”
- List gratitudes. Come up with everything you can think of that you feel grateful for, from the circumstances of your life to the littlest details of your body. This works best for me first thing in the morning because if I do it before bed sometimes it’ll get me so excited to be alive that I’ll want to get up and do things.
- Notice the shoulds. When you hear a lot of shoulds shooting around in your head, watch them and smile. Thank them for being so observant and aware and concerned for your best interest, and let them know you've got things covered.
- Patience. Be patient and loving towards yourself. Something that works for me is if I treat myself like I'm a new puppy. How would I treat a new puppy who got into the garbage? One firm "NO" and then I'd cuddle him up for the rest of the night. if I treat myself like I'm a puppy, I'm a little more forgiving, caring, and loving. (But to be honest, patience has been mystifying me all month. More on that next blog.)
The other day the thought entered my head, what if, just for fun, I enjoyed being myself. Not analyzing, judging, just having fun being in my skin. How often do we ever think about how fun it is to be us, with all our unique qualities and perspectives and body parts and little awesome details? But I bet hours of our days are spent pondering what we dislike about ourselves, how we could’ve done something better, said something more appropriate, bash bash bash. Imagine what it would feel like energetically to be around friends and family and coworkers who are having fun being who they are! Maybe it’s time to start celebrating the me-ness of all of us because if I’m having fun being me and you’re having fun being you then it might be way more fun out there all the time.
Here’s a new mantra: It’s actually pretty fun to be me.
Now let the self compassion flow!
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