You my precious friend, can be a real bully. Sure, I love you for reading this, and I appreciate you with my life. I know you mean well, doing your best you can with what you have at your disposal.
And still, you choose to think, and talk about yourself as you would a stubborn mule.
You eat a super breakfast and lunch, yet scold on yourself for overeating during dinner. You train so you can be healthy, and then you’re disappointed because you didn’t push hard enough. You work long hours to support your kids, and still you feel guilty of being a bad parent.
‘You are your own worst enemy’
It’s a saying that rings true for most of us, even if we don’t like to admit it. You’ve heard this numerous times, yet you still persist in beating yourself up over minute strays or bumps. You fail, not because you’re incompetent, but because you give yourself no chance to succeed. The pursuit of perfection leaves no room for error.
What’s worse? The longer you do it, the more it becomes an ingrained pattern of thinking, dug deep in the neurology of your brain. On the flip side, the more you try to climb out of the rut, the exponentially higher the mountain rises.
There’s a pattern in the midst, somewhere between hating yourself and never being good enough. Every look in the pantry, a gaze into a mirror, every workout or roll is a chance you take to judge yourself according to your own superfluous standards.
As you employ the use of hindsight you may also realise it’s been going on since you can remember. Moshe Feldenkrais often said, ‘If you know what you are doing, you can do what you want’.
Happily enough you can manage and mould these patterns. The first step is to become aware of their actual existence. So now comes the punchline.
Starting today, be kind. To you.
Think of being a loving parent to yourself. Take a moment to praise your efforts, even if things didn’t go your way. Be honest and accepting about your faults and mistakes, while seeking to do better. Begin to acknowledge the times in your own thoughts when you’re overly hard on yourself.
Being kind with yourself doesn’t mean excluding every dumb thing you do. It means you’re giving yourself a chance to learn how you work best.
When you realise you’ve gone back into your habitual pattern, be proud of yourself for even acknowledging it, and treat yourself to a couple push ups as gratitude for your efforts. After all, movement is the reward, not the punishment.
Adapt as you see fit. Always. If you prefer squats do those. A shoulder pat? That’s ok too. Keep it simple, and keep it fun.
This is a first step toward a more self-compassionate you. Do this and you move forward.
It won’t be easy. Nothing of significance ever is. Help is highly recommended. You can call for mine at any time.
However it happens, the time is now.
Be kind. To You.
Resources and Further Reading
Kristen Neff. Self-Compassion. Available at: http://self-compassion.org/
Feldenkrais, M. (1980) Awareness through Movement: Health exercises for personal growth, Arkana Penguin Books. ”
Feldenkrais, M. (2002) The Potent Self, Frog Books.
Self Compassion, Body image and disordered eating. Breines, J. Toole, A. Tu, C. Chen, S. Self And Identity (2014) Vol. 13, No. 4, 432–448]