You can be hard on yourself or kind to yourself.
Either way, you’ll get things done.
The hard way will be harder. The kind way will be easier.
The hard way, or the easy. Which do you choose?
I know, it sounds so simple. Just be kind to yourself and it will all work out.
Being kind to ourselves isn’t all that easy when the habit of being hard on ourselves takes up most of our inner conversation.
Many years ago, I kept track of the number of times I gave myself negative self-talk versus positive. I carried around a little notebook and for one week I made a check mark in either the negative or positive column on the page.
It kind of made me want to cry to see how much the negative outweighed the positive.
It was definitely an eye, mind and heart opener.
I sure wouldn’t want to hang around me if I was constantly shedding negativity into the world.
Oh wait! I was. And I was holding it all inside me. Ugh.
Hanging around with myself wasn’t a choice. The choice was, what was I willing to do to make the experience of being with me more enjoyable?
Change my relationship with me.
I’m not saying it was an easy transition, moving from always talkin’ sh*ttalk to myself to being a voice of gentle loving-kindness. But it sure made a difference once I made the decision to stop the sh*ttalk and get with the “I’m okay. I’m human” talk.
For me, it meant ensuring the ‘Positive’ column in my notebook was filled with more check-marks than the negative side. My consciousness of that goal kept me aware of my inner talk. Every time I caught myself saying something negative to myself, I had to find one positive to match it. That way, at least the negativity didn’t grow into the longer column!
Eventually, I moved from one positive to two until, now, when I do say something negative to myself, like ‘how could you be so stupid?’ or, “Seriously? What were you thinking?” I quickly breathe in (deeply) and give myself grace. “It’s okay Louise. You made a mistake. Your job is to be accountable for your mistakes, not give yourself a life sentence of grief.”
See, sometimes, when I do make mistakes, like say something that hurts someone, or do something I’m not all that proud of, I want to revert back to that place where my mistakes are worthy of my being whipped, tarred and feathered. In those moments, I must surrender my need for punishing myself by making myself ‘not okay’ and call on grace to love me through it.
We are all ‘okay’. It’s our behaviour that can be optional. And when our behaviour gives evidence to our not being as okay as we’d like to be, then we work on our behaviour.
Changing behaviour isn’t about working on our essential goodness, our inherent human magnificence. Those are givens. They are universal in all humanity. Remember? We are born magnificent and then… life interferes and gives us reasons to doubt our magnificence. Our job then becomes remembering what we forgot so long ago, we worry it no longer exists.
That’s our universal human journey. Returning to love and our inherent magnificence.
What’s not so universal and not such a given is that we treat ourselves, and each other, with dignity, respect, kindness, Love.
And that’s where the work is — in shifting our behaviours to be a reflection of the values that make this world a better place.
We can make it hard. Or do the easy.
The easy begins with talking nicely to ourselves so that our hearts are at ease, our minds calm and our spirits lifted up by our generosity of spirit.
From that place, well let’s just say, changing the world becomes a cakewalk! (Okay maybe not quite so Pollyanish but if we’re all talking nice to ourselves, we’ll be talking nice to everyone else too!)
See, the Rainbow Chasers Guide to Changing the World through Loving Self-Talk! Easy-peasy!