How To Be Kinder To Yourself (And Calm Your Inner Critic)

springtime

More and more in my daily life, I notice people are talking about kindness.  Be kind to others. Practice kindness. Get involved in random acts of kindness.  Be kind.  You don’t need a reason to be kind. And so on.

It’s wonderful to practice kindness!  But I wonder…..do you extend that kindness to yourself?  We can be so kind to others, and yet still treat ourselves as if we are worthless.  Why is that ok?

As children, we often create certain ‘beliefs’  from various situations and people in our lives.  For instance, I learned that if I didn’t do everything perfectly and be the perfect child, I would not be safe.  I don’t even think that was a lesson that was verbally spoken to me – it was a lesson that learned from watching the world around me, I think.  As children there are so many beliefs that we form to stay safe, to please someone, to gain attention…and when we can’t live up to those perfect ways of being, we develop this inner critic that constantly reminds us that we’re stupid, or not enough, or that we’ll never get it right….and on and on…

And so, while we seem to be perfectly able to show kindness outwards, it seems sometimes impossible to afford ourselves that same courtesy.  How can change this, so that we can learn to be kind and loving to ourselves in each and every circumstance?  Here are 3 ways to change your way of being with yourself:

1.  Accept yourself, just as you are, right in this moment.  Learning to be ok with who you are, recognizing that you are trying your best, and accepting yourself, right here, right now,  is going to go a long way in helping you practice kindness – toward yourself.  Giving yourself permission to Just BE can bring a huge sense of relief to our lives, and enable us to move toward more and more self kindness.

2.  Decide.  Wake up in the morning and decide that just for today, you will treat yourself with kindness.  Then, become aware of your  thoughts.  If it helps, keep a small notebook and write them down over the day.  Whenever you catch yourself thinking a troubling thought, stop yourself – and try to change that thought into a positive.  For example – I will never be enough becomes I AM enough just as I am.  Begin to catch and change each of these thoughts.

3.    Try to view your inner critic as a frightened child.  That frightened child has formed beliefs that might have served them when they were young, but are not serving you today.  Try to catch yourself  when you have unkind thoughts toward yourself.  Ask yourself, is this really true about me?  Or is this just a frightened child, trying to keep me safe?  If you can begin to view that frightened part of yourself as a child – ask yourself – would I speak to a child the way I speak to myself?

Start on the road to self-love by practicing these 3 small steps, with consistency.  Don’t worry if you ‘don’t do it right’ – the whole secret to travelling the road to self – love is loving and accepting yourself even when mistakes happen, or you’re not doing as good as you think you ‘should’.  Erasing ‘should, ought to, supposed to, have to’ and anything similar will be important on this journey

 

 

Have You Met Your Inner Child?

i heart me

The moment I began to heal from my dark-night-of-the-soul was the moment I met my inner child.  She had the answers I had sought for most of my life – and once she felt safe enough to give them to me, huge waves of relief poured over me, and I literally began to relax into my life.

And, too, that was the moment that I realized that, for her, for this child part of myself, I was going to have to learn to love myself.  Because, in not loving myself, and in not living my life in line with what I deep-down knew to be true, I was betraying her.  And the thought of not wanting to betray this fragile child within me is what enabled me to begin to get strong again.

Because, you see, every single time I hated on myself – I hated on her.  And did she deserve that? Absolutely not.  She had already endured years of self-loathing – and that had to stop.  Believe me, it wasn’t easy.  And it took a long time.  There’s no quick  fix for years of abuse -self abuse or any other kind of abuse, for that matter.  It took dedication, time, and literally immersing myself in positivity.  With time and practise, I healed that spiral of self abuse.  And every single time I wanted to quit, or hate on myself, or tell myself the work I was doing was stupid or not important, I envisioned that tiny girl inside me.  Was she stupid?  Was she not important?  And I had to keep going – for her.

We all have an inner child, whether or not we call it that.  That child comes out when we are tired, stressed or angry, or have been triggered by something or someone.  I believe when we feel the purest joy, that’s our magical child inside.  Meeting and having a relationship with that child has been, for me, the most profound experience in my life.

Babystep:  Take out a picture of you as a child, if you have one.  (If not, remember yourself as a young child, picture her or him in your mind).  Does he/she deserve to be hated on?  Does he/she deserve to be told they are too ugly, or too fat, or too stupid?  If you were the parent of that child, how would you parent them – the way you longed to be parented?  Then do that.  Carry that picture around with you and every time you feel the need to hate on yourself, or tell yourself you’re not good enough, look at that tiny child.  And refuse to  abandon her, ever again.  Then choose love instead.  If you begin to do this consistently, your life will change. I know that from experience.

The Symptoms of Disconnection with our Self

self worth

There was a time, not that many years ago, when I was far, far from my self.  What do I mean by that, you ask?  I mean that I did  not know who I was.  I was disconnected from my own body, and worse, from my spirit.  I did not know how to do self-love.  And  I did not want to think about self-love, either.  Because when I did, I felt guilty.  Or ashamed.

What does it feel like to be so disconnected?  Well, it feels like everyone, everything, is more important than us.  If feels like it’s not ok to spend time thinking about or planning for our own wants and desires.  It feels like life is just a happenstance – we have no control over what our life looks like or what happens to us.   And it’s also very, very hard to decide anything for our self – because we are constantly looking outside of our self for someone to validate us as worthy enought to even be on this planet.

I spent many years without having any opinions or thoughts of my own!  And living life was like being tossed back and forth in a hurricane – because my thoughts and feelings would change like the weather.  Why was that?  I believe that happens to many of us because we are not in touch with that guiding voice within our selves – that voice that knows which way to go.  That voice that tells us that we can do it…whatever it is.

With my feelings of not having control of my life, there came a deep sense of overwhelm and hopelessness in just about everything I did.  And anyone that has experienced these two things in their lives knows that it’s almost impossible to get much done when in that state of being.  Since I believed I had no control anyhow, I was unable to do the things I wanted to do – like eat healthily or exercise – because I would always start out with the idea that I was going to fail.  And, fail, I did.  Over and over and over again.    There’s a saying that if you believe you can’t….you are right!

How, then, do we find our ‘selves’?  One thing I learned is that still, small voice cannot be heard unless we take the time to listen.  And it will not be heard above the din of life.  Life today is so noisy and busy!  And I believe that part of the way we lose our selves is being over-busy, over-booked, and over-whelmed by trying to keep up with things we feel we ‘should’ be doing….

One small step we can take is to find five minutes in our day to sit quietly, close our eyes and concentrate on our breathing.  This is a very simple, easy to learn way to meditate.  Follow your breath in – breathe that fresh oxygen deeply into your stomach.  Then follow your breath out – breathing all the way out, releasing toxins as you go.  And repeat.  You might find your mind wandering, and that’s ok.  When it does, just gently bring your thoughts back to your breath.

Meditating is one way we can begin to find our way back.  And five minutes a day is a good place to begin.  In doing this, we are doing one small thing to honour that voice within us, and help it to begin to believe it is safe to be heard.

Because, we can’t keep living for others, no matter what the popular religions tell us.  We must learn to live connected to our selves, before we can do any real good in the world.  If we are living from a state of overwhelm or resentment, how is that going to help us or anyone else?

till next time…

Self Care – It’s Not What You Think –

Hello, and welcome to my new blog! My name is Chere, and this is my second blog on WordPress.  You can visit my first one here.

My first blog was meant to be all about my journey into self care – but it ended up being more of a personal sharing of my life, which is good and ok.  My intention here, though, is to share about all things self care related.  And those things aren’t necessarily what you might imagine off the top of your head.

Why self care?  And, why me?  Well, I admit I’m no expert, and that I am a self taught advocate of the need for self care in all of its forms.  My personal journey has led me to realize that in order for me to live my life in a healthy, balanced way, I need to implement self care, not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually and mentally.  My past experiences and trainings did not include being taught much about self care beyond taking a shower and keeping your teeth brushed!   Self care is SO much more than that.  It’s about boundaries.  It’s about being able to say NO.  It’s about healthy eating, and moving one’s body on a regular basis.  It’s about positive, intentional self-talk, not the self talk that many of us allow ourselves to partake in.

My life was the OPPOSITE of self care – it was self – loathing!  That inner critic broke me down over and over again.  I had NO boundaries – in fact (and don’t laugh!)  I didn’t know what a personal boundary even was till I was in my 40’s.  I didn’t believe I was worthy of anything good, so whenever I especially needed to practice self care, I would do the exact opposite – practice self-neglect.

My life was a mess, and I fell apart in so many ways you cannot even count.  And getting back on my feet was painful, and painfully slow.  I have had to teach myself about the importance of loving me, accepting me right where I am, and being happy with myself.

Learning these things has not been easy.  But what I’ve found even more disturbing is that I’m not alone in this way I have treated myself for too many years!  So many out there (particularly women, but also men) are still believing that they are of no worth….and I find that unacceptable.  So, if, by sharing my story, and offering some solutions, ideas, encouragement or kindness, I can give back to even a few, then, that painful journey I made toward self-love will have all been worth it.

Because, when you go through a dark-night-of-the-soul, and come out the other side, it has to have meant something in the bigger picture called life.  At least, to me.

stay tuned…