We, as women, spend an ungodly amount of time stuck in comparison, perfectionism, people pleasing, seeking approval, hiding out, and numbing. We could have a city that is called all those things because we have moved in, started decorating, and settled down there.
It’s not that we’re WRONG for this. It’s just what we’re used to. We’ve been essentially brought up this way and most of our friends are this way, and perhaps our moms were this way. It’s what we know. And to be and act differently is not only scary, but an unknown way of being.
And there’s a way of being—an action if you will— that will help you move out of Comparisonperfectionismpeoplepleasinghidingoutnumbing Town. That thing is self-kindness. And I don’t know about you, but when I used to think of the word self-kindness I thought of women in long white sundresses prancing through a meadow of daisies. It seemed sort of far-fetched and woo-woo…like some alternative universe that exists for other people.
But, it’s not.
Self-kindness is a practice that I practice every day. It’s one of those KEY tools to have with you that you practice over and over again. Self-kindness isn’t just important to live a courageous, kick-ass life. Self-kindness is necessary.
To break it down, self-kindness is important because:
- It’s the key to happiness, confidence, and kickassery
- When you’re kind to yourself, you’re more kind to others
- When you’re kind to yourself, you’ll have better relationships
And who doesn’t want that?!
Sounds awesome, right? The next question is how do we DO self-kindness? There are many ways, but I’ve broken down some key things that might specifically help you:
1. Be aware when you’re thinking in terms of black or white. Times when things are all or nothing. Your self-talk might tell you: “Either I’m a ultra-marathon runner, or I’m the laziest person on earth”. Or, “Either I create a Pinterest inspired birthday party for my kids, or I’m a terrible mother and my kids will hate me”.
Think about the grey area. Where could you cut yourself some slack?. Where you could just be a “beginner runner” or a “good enough mom”? Where you could have a C+ day instead of an A+? If all of that makes you really uncomfortable… sister, you should really look at that.
2. Take inventory of how you speak to yourself in your mind. When you're feeling anxious, guilty, embarrassed, ashamed, or self-conscious, what is the monologue that is running through your mind? Write it out. This isn't a fun exercise, I know, but in order to practice self-kindness it's helpful to know WHAT you're saying to yourself in order to try to change it.
Practice catching yourself in these monologues and try at first to just BE AWARE.
3. Be aware of how you speak about yourself to others. “I'm such an asshole for forgetting your birthday!” Or, “You can wear that kind of bathing suit but I'd look like a beluga whale in that.” This probably needs no explaining. You probably know what, over time, this does to you. But, also think about two more things: 1) It tends to make other people feel uncomfortable when you consistently talk about yourself that way and 2) If you talk about yourself this way in front of your children– they're listening. And learning.
How about, “Hey, I messed up and forgot your birthday. I'm sorry!” Or, “That bathing suit looks awesome on you. But, I like a different style”. ENTIRELY different impact on yourself. And can radically change your life.
Know what your triggers are. This is imperative so you'll know when your self-talk gets you down. Maybe there's that one person at work who you get jealous of and fall down the comparison trap. Or when you're late to pick up your kids from school and the teachers glare at you. Or when your husband “teases” you about doing nothing all day while you stay home with the kids. You'll have different ones for different areas of your life.
Know what the “utopian existence” is that you’ve created in your mind for yourself and your life. What are the standards you've made up that you're either consciously or unconsciously striving for? The things that when you really sit down and think about them– they are things that you can't humanly achieve so essentially you're setting yourself up for disappointment, frustration, and possibly shame. I know you didn't sign up for THAT, so why are you creating a to-do list that will ultimately lead to that?
Make a to-do list— your ultimate list and add when you want to have these done by. Now, I'm not saying don't have goals and hopes and dreams, but look at the deadlines on those goals and hopes and dreams. Maybe it's a promotion, financial goals, family goals, entrepreneurial goals, fitness goals. Or maybe it's the inner work and the kind of person you want to BE. What have you put on yourself that you must be? Recovered, evolved, shame-free? (hint: doesn't exist.) Usually, we put deadlines that are near or completely impossible. And when they aren't reached, you end up feeling like shit and beating yourself up.
My ass kicking sister, I want you today to think about how you speak to yourself and the pressure you put on yourself. You are too amazing, too beautiful, too powerful to be destroyed by your own mind. Let's practice the grey area. Let's practice imperfection. Let's practice self-kindness and courage.
Who's with me?