How compassionate are you? Don’t worry, this is not a quiz; rather, this is a simple reminder that you need to support yourself just as much as you support friends or a loved one.
When it comes to our daily life, it is important that we pause and remember the goal of life is not perfection. Looking externally outside of ourselves we often see depictions of life that are not truly accurate. For example, look at social media. What message does social media send? Rather than a full, accurate picture, social media portrays just an image or moment in time that the user wants us to see. If we look at things like social media as a model for what life should look like, we fall into a trap of trying to achieve something out of reach: a constant chasing of something that is unattainable, perfection.
To offer yourself compassion, be mindful of mindless scrolling on various social media channels. Give yourself a break. Live your life authentically, knowing that it is not going to be the perfect snapshot. When you make mistakes or have difficult moments, offer yourself kindness and compassion. How you treat yourself in these moments can make a huge difference.
It is also important to remember that you are never alone. We can turn to our support networks to help us to deal with or move forward with life’s challenges and struggles. There is so much pressure to be perfect, so we must be careful with where we turn when we need support. It is more important that support comes from those that understand us and can be there for us without bringing criticism, shame, or judgment. Find your tribe.
How do you bring love and kindness to yourself? What does that look like? For me, it means showing up without judgment and with lots of love for wherever I am in the moment. I remind myself that life is about imperfect moments. We are all imperfect beings. Perfection does not exist. Look at where you are and bring acceptance in a loving way, without judgment, to this moment and to yourself. Blaming or shaming ourselves does not help. However, loving ourselves a little bit more during the most challenging times can make a difference.
Worrying is a great way to deplete our energy. Not only does it not serve a function, but often trickles down in its effects to our children and families. I often ask parents to look within at how they process their own worry when they complain or are concerned about their anxious or overwhelmed child. Are they modeling fear and worry? As my sister always says, “don’t borrow trouble.” Worrying does not change the outcome of something, but rather it expends energy wastefully. Unless there is something in front of us to deal with, worrying about what might be is pointless.
If you are a worrier, how can you shift your mentality? Here are a few suggestions:
• Close your eyes for a moment (if you can) and ask yourself if this moment is presenting what you are worried about. If you are focused on what could be in the future, then the goal is to return to the present. Worrying about the future and the past does not serve you at this moment, or perhaps in any moment. Bring yourself back to where you are now.
• Take stock in what is directly in front of you – what is happening right now (and what is not). Remind yourself that what you are worried about is not what is. Try to bring yourself back to the present moment.
• Pause and focus on your breath to regulate your emotions. This helps calm our nervous system. Take 3 deep and long breaths in and then, with each out-breath, release an exaggerated exhale.
• Lastly, I often try to distract myself with something pleasant and enjoyable, such as a walk outside, watching birds, listening to music, dancing, reading a book, or taking a bath. Find something that you like and go and do it as a means to your own sense of calm.
Life is full of challenges and imperfect moments. How we manage these moments and embrace our own imperfections is an important part of being kind to ourselves. Life is hard and that is not going to change. However, you can change how you react to the hard and bring more love and kindness to yourself.
For additional information and resources, contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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