Chained by self-criticism and self-blame, I’ve been stuck for years in a pattern of criticizing and bullying myself without even realizing it. I neglected my wants and needs, my body, and my soul’s desires. I denied myself anything that would make me feel loved and cared for.
Instead, my self-worth was tied to achieving and perfecting. The problem is, there’s never enough – one can always be more or do more. And so, in my mind, I was never worthy.
All the while I sacrificed my own well-being in the process.
Yet, that was my “default” setting, my habitual way of dealing with events or challenges – pushing hard through stress then beating myself up for not handling it well enough. Is there anything more self-defeating than being an anxious and perfectionist achiever?
You just wear yourself out.
No wonder I felt no inner peace or balance.
Yet, I thought that without being hard on myself I’d stop growing and start failing. In school, at parenting, in life…
Reading books by Brené Brown and Kristin Neff I realized there’s another way of dealing with difficult moments or emotions – one that involves self-compassion instead of self-criticism, self-care instead of beating yourself up, self-acceptance instead of self-rejection.
In other words, there’s a self-loving way!
“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” ~Brené Brown
Mind Shift: Love & Care For Yourself First
Now I know why my life has always felt out of balance. There was way too much doing and not enough being, too much judgment and not enough self-compassion. Too much inner mean girl and not enough love or care for myself.
I was my worst enemy and my ways were making me miserable!
It takes intention, awareness, and, most importantly, practice to break out of lifetime patterns. We “get it” intellectually, yet old habits often kick in before we notice. But the moment we do notice, we have a chance to break out of old patterns by responding differently. We create new ways, shift our mindset just a bit, build new patterns, new brain connections, new habits.
Building that kind of awareness is powerful as it gives us control over how we respond to life.
So we can be a bit kinder to ourselves, love and care for our body, our mind, and our most inner self.
So we can be our own best friend.
Self-love and self-care go hand in hand. Practice both daily!
Let’s drop the pressure cooker pace, multitasking, being always “on”, being superwoman. Let’s pause, check in with our inner wisdom to reflect, reassess and realign. Let’s give ourselves a break, look for a more sustainable and supportive way to operate through life, take care of ourselves first so you can take care of others…
Take care of your inner world
Self-compassion is soothing your nervous system. Give that gift to yourself daily.(tweet this)
Love and nurture yourself from the inside out first. Take the time to re-connect with yourself daily. Ask yourself: “What is important to me?”, “How can I support myself today?”, “What do I need to let go of?”. Then take care of that first and foremost.
Go to that yoga class – you know how restored and reconnected with your body you feel afterward. Take few minutes to quiet your mind, meditate or journal about your struggles. Go for a walk or take a long bath. Eat that piece of chocolate without the guilt. Take a break even though your to-do list is demanding attention now. Go easy on yourself when you make a mistake. Uncover hidden feelings so you can start healing. Laugh. Play. unleash your beauty.
And when you talk to yourself, especially in times of distress, be gentle, loving, and caring.
You’d do that for your best friend, wouldn’t you?
Do you love and accept yourself, or are you your worst critic? In times of pain, do you offer yourself self-compassion and support? Do you know how to best nourish and care of yourself?
Love and care for yourself first!
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