I’m not smart enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m fat, I’m ugly, I’m dumb … we humans are brutal to ourselves.
It occurred to me this morning, that of all the people you will meet in this life, you will not know anyone longer than you know yourself. You came into this world together and you you’ll leave together. Yet, this one and only person, who sticks with you no matter what, and never leaves you, it is to that person, we are the most unkind. I write often about the kindness to others, but always leave out a person equally in need of kindness … you.
Dr. Kristin Neff is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion. Her research has shown practicing self-compassion can reduce anxiety and depression, increase productivity, unleash greater creativity and improve relationships with others. Just being kinder to ourselves can have a profound impact. If that is true, why aren’t we nicer to ourselves?
I have met my enemy and it is me …
We look in the mirror and identify each tiny flaw while ignoring the smart, beautiful and talented person looking back. We sabotage ourselves with negative self-talk and convince ourselves of the very worst. We encourage others while brutally discouraging ourselves. We are falsely preparing ourselves for disappointment when we should be encouraging ourselves for success. Why would we do such a thing?
I have struggled with this most of my life. Nothing I did was enough. It wasn’t good enough, wasn’t big enough and I was never satisfied with my performance. Yes, it’s admirable to strive for improvement but you also must count the cost to your family, friends and other relationships. Working to perform better is fine but beating yourself up is not. I was truly my own worst enemy. I always held myself to a standard I would never expect of others.
We are what we think most about …
And if we keep our mind buzzing with false thoughts of our personal lack of talent and ability, we assure our failure. When you really start to understand and accept that what we believe about ourselves largely determines who we are, we sabotage ourselves and are in fact our own worst enemy. What would Zig Ziglar say?
“You gotta stop the stinkin thinkin.”
Others get their que about who you are … from who you think you are. What you think and feel are reflected in your physical actions and reactions. If you believe you are a failure, you walk and talk like a failure. If you think about all your past failures and predict failure for your future, your mind and body conspire together to make what you believe will happen, happen.
Give yourself a break.
When you look in the mirror, smile at your long-time best friend. Stop picking yourself apart and saying things to yourself you’d never say to others. Speak into your life positive words of affirmation. Trade in the losers’ limp for the winners’ stride.
Take a personal inventory of your positives …
Spend this week looking for the best in you. Identify, recognize and accept what you are doing right in this life. Tell yourself all the things you want to be true about you are in fact true. Speak this truth into existence. Encourage yourself. Be personally uplifting in your self-talk. Make a list of your strong suits. I bet the list is longer than you suspect. Understand, accept and find joy in your uniqueness. Celebrate your small victories. Don’t wait for others to do so, you should take the lead and pat yourself on the back.
Stop beating yourself up for you what you don’t have and find the good in your circumstances. Many people will come in and out of your life, but it is only you that never leaves. Stop treating yourself as an inadequate stranger and remember, you deserve kindness from you. Take a nap. Take a walk and look at beautiful signs of spring. Say hi and smile at a stranger. Invite a friend to lunch. Treat yourself. Enjoy your time with you.
Be kind to you.
You deserve it.
Gary W. Moore is a syndicated columnist, speaker and author of three books including the award-winning, critically acclaimed, “Playing with the Enemy.” Follow Gary on Twitter @GaryWMoore721 and at www.garywmoore.com.