All posts tagged self-love

The Key Is Compassion

Published January 9, 2012 by Patty Brisben

As we strive to achieve our goals this month (and hopefully throughout the new year!), it’s easy to become overwhelmed with wanting to do so much in so little time. By the end of January, we have plans of grandeur that we hope we’ve accomplished. One thing we must remember is that goals aren’t always cut and dry. Sometimes goals are just like humans: a constant work in progress.

What’s common for women to do when they set up their resolutions is that they feel guilty when they’ve slipped up. You’re probably familiar with how this goes. “Well, I already ruined my diet with those fries at lunch. Screw the rest of the day. I’ll restart my diet tomorrow. I am a failure!” Dramatic? Sure. But it’s probably not that far off from what’s happened in your own life. We slip up and then we berate ourselves. For some reason, this is just what women have a tendency to do. One slip-up and we call ourselves worthless failures with no talent or qualities to be proud of.

What separates people who achieve their goals from people who don’t might be how kind one is to herself. New research suggests that people who are more compassionate toward themselves are more likely to be happy and less likely to be depressed. After falling off the wagon, a self-compassionate person tells herself, “Whoops! I made a mistake! It happens. Oh well, let’s start over right now.” A person who is not compassionate with herself thinks, “Ugh! I am terrible. Why am I even trying to be healthy? I should just quit.” Now, which attitude do you think will get you somewhere? Exactly!

We’ve already taken care of the details of our resolutions and goals. What you need to do now is tend to the emotional side of your goals. Be mindful of not just the emotions that made you create your goals, but the emotions that accompany your actions when trying to achieve them. Pat yourself on the back when you’ve smoked one less cigarette, volunteered an hour at a food bank, or made it to the gym more than once a week. Don’t fall into a uncompassionate mindset that says you didn’t do well enough, that you should have smoked less, you should have spent every afternoon volunteering, or you should have made it to the gym every day. One small success leads to a multitude of greater successes down the line, so don’t waste your time feeling bad about a slip-up or the feeling that you haven’t done enough. Compliment yourself instead!

I believe that being kinder to yourself might make you more likely to achieve what you want. At the same time, though, it’s important not to confuse being kind to yourself with lowering your expectations or standards. Just because you’re cutting yourself some emotional slack doesn’t mean you should start to think you can’t achieve something and nix your goals altogether. Your standards for yourself can absolutely be high, and you can still manage to be nice to yourself when things don’t go according to plan.

What all this goal making and self-compassion comes down to is this: When you care about yourself, you care about choices. When you treat yourself well, you make choices that affect you in a positive manner. Keep this in mind as you continue to make progress on your New Year’s Resolutions. You are your own worst enemy, just as you are your own solution.

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Giving Thanks…to Yourself!

Published November 30, 2011 by Patty Brisben

In the U.S., we spend the whole month of November giving thanks to everyone else. Now it’s time to turn the focus to yourself. For some reason, thinking or talking about one’s self for an extended period of time can make one feel uncomfortable or wasteful. Why spend so much time on one’s self? If you aren’t thankful and in love with yourself, how can you expect others to be thankful and be in love with you? I say you should treat others how you’d like to be treated, and treat yourself how you’d like to be treated, too! Use December to work on YOU!

This month, give thanks to yourself. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Suspend judgment of yourself. Let go of negative self-talk. Stop thinking of the things you don’t like, the mistakes, or the body that you think isn’t perfect. It’s going to take practice and effort, but stop those thoughts in their tracks—they are no longer allowed.

2. Name all the things about yourself that you’re thankful for. This may feel awkward or arrogant at first—you’re probably not used to focusing so much on you. But the more you allow yourself to see the wonderful things about you, the more wonderful things there will be (and the longer your list will grow!). When creating your list, try to flip any negative thoughts you once had. Your list might sound something like this:

-I am thankful for my inner strength.

-I am thankful for opportunities to grow.

-I am thankful for a body that carries me through anything.

-I am thankful for learning to become more forgiving.

-I am thankful for my good hair days.

-I am thankful for being an excellent mom.

-I am thankful for always being a good friend.

-I am thankful for my integrity.

3. Reflect on your list. Read through your list several times over. Let it sink in. Think about why you wrote what you did and where it stems from. You really are deserving of self-recognition.

4. Put YOU on your to-do list. Putting yourself on your to-do list will benefit your mental health, your physical health, your family, and everyone around you. Making yourself a priority is thanking yourself. I’ll expand on why this is so important in my next discussion.

5. Carry your list with you at all times. Whether you memorized your list of things about yourself for which you’re thankful or you’ve written a list, always have that list with you. In times of stress, pressure, anxiety, or sadness turn to your list. Read over it. Remember what inspired you to write those things about yourself. Feel the positivity about yourself that went into the list. When you carry your list around, you’re really promoting your own self-love.

Your list will always help you remember the real you, the core of who you are, no matter the situation. I find it helpful, especially around the holidays, to be thankful for everything, including myself. Being grateful produces more things, situations, aspects, and people to be thankful for. Being thankful for you will be a huge step to creating and maintaining a happy, full life.

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