Friday, December 06, 2013

Five (Super Actionable) Ways To Be Gentle With Yourself

Do you believe you're the creator of your days? The architect of All Things? That ultimately, you choose the way you feel? You've got dreams. Big ones. Goals. Bucket Lists. Resolutions. Intentions. To-do lists. Watch out world, things are happenin'.

Uh- oh, road block.

Doubt starts to trickle in, and that voice in the back of your head pipes up, playing the same old stories. Can I really do this? What if I fail? What's the point? I mean, who am I kidding, really? Those limiting stories are now running wild in your mind, giving you a play-by-play of how it's all going to play out. Yep, I knew it. Never gonna work. I'll never get the dream gig/ meet the right man/ hit those targets/ experience true joy.

The ultimate self-sabotage: doubt, depleting inner-criticism, resistance. We're all faced with the same issues, no matter what the big dream is. Our biggest challenge is getting out of our own way, allowing us to truly thrive. But how? What's the starting point?

It's the one thing that has completely revolutionized the way I approach each day and how I live my life. More than anything else out there, this has had the most impact: being gentle with myself.

Let's dive in a little further, shall we? (You know I love digging deeper:)

Speak with Love

Get to know your inner-critic, and separate yourself from it. Eradicating negative thoughts forever isn't realistic, but arming yourself with the right tools to handle them is possible.

Your inner critic is fear. It's role is to play small and keep you right smack in the middle of your comfort zone. It's not you. The criticism and backtalk isn't true, so don't believe it. One way I separate myself from this voice, is something I learned from my beautiful friend Natalia: name your fear.

Give your inner critic a name that resonates. The key is to try to pick something loving, rather than something negative, like "stupid", "monster", or "evil bitch", which really just defeats the purpose :) Give it a persona, is it male/ female? What's her personality like? What is she really afraid of? How does she react when something scary pops up? I've named my fear "Little One". Although she's trying to protect me (from failing, embarrassment, etc.), she likes to keep me small.

Once you separate yourself from your Fear, it'll become easier to stop identifying with and buying into those limiting stories. The next time you start to run that play-by-play of your sure-to-be next biggest failure, catch yourself, and simply say, "Oh, that's just Fear talking. It's okay, I got this."

Key point: don't get down on yourself for thinking negativity, simply charge ahead with your two greatest tools: acceptance and love. 

Feel your Feelings

We all have our off-days, don't ignore them. Instead of charging through and ignoring your feelings, take it as a sign to treat yourself to some extra self-care. Give yourself a break, read a book, play some relaxing tunes, get outside, hit up a yoga class, disconnect, indulge in a bubble bath - complete with music, candles, epsom salts, the whole lot. Whatever lights you up, makes you happy, feeling rejuvenated... do that.

"Affirmations are like screaming that you’re okay in order to overcome this whisper that you’re not. That’s a big contrast to actually uncovering the whisper, realizing that it’s a passing memory, and moving closer to all those fears and all those edgy feelings that maybe you’re not okay. Well, no big deal. None of us is okay and all of us are fine. It’s not just one way. We are walking, talking paradoxes." | Pema Chödrön

Small Steps Turn Into Quantum Leaps

Instead of wanting to be the Master of All The Things, scale it back. Breaking goals down into small, actionable steps will actually make everything feel a lot less overwhelming. What one thing can you do each day to get you closer to where you want to be? Set mini-milestones to hit. Instead of "I need to lose X amount of weight." shift to "I will work out 3 times this week to do something awesome for my body, ramp up my energy, and feel damn good about myself."

Sounds way less intimidating, doesn't it? While we're on the subject, let me just throw this in here: ditch forcing it. If it doesn't feel good, stop doing it.

Embrace the Moment

Also see: Quit trying to control everything. There's only so much planning/ mapping/ brainstorming you can do. You do not need to prove, strive, or improve. You have everything that you need. Each time you tell yourself, "I will only be happy once X happens", you close the door on the possibility of the unexpected. You close the door on other ways that you could be filled with joy.

Keeping your head in the future robs you from experiencing the happiness in this moment - from living fully, being present - wherever you are, whoever you're with, and with whatever you have.

Count your blessings

Practising gratitude invites in more gratitude. More beauty. More simplicity. It brings you back into the moment and allows you to appreciate what's around you. Your perspective shifts, your world expands.

For starters, give this a go: Write down 1-5 things each day that you're truly grateful for. Bonus points: Express your gratitude to the people around you. See how you feel. (Chances are: insanely better.)

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” | Elizabeth Gilbert

Over to you, maestro: What's the biggest thing you've taken away from this post? I'd absolutely LOVE to hear your thoughts, so please, let's move this chat over to the comments x

Image via Dazed Digital

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