Stop The Cycle Of Mental Self Abuse By Adopting A Practice Of Self Compassion

Unknown-1One of the downfalls of living in a society which stresses the ethic of independence and individual achievement is that if we don’t reach our ideal goals, we feel we need to beat ourselves senseless.  We believe this strong and relentless  self-criticism will make us a stronger, better, and more resilient person……right?

So what really happens when we enter down this path of thinking?

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Kintsukuroi. Better Than I Was Before.

100_0887As with cups, bowls and plates, you endure bumps and scrapes. You experience knocks and drops, sometimes from extreme heights. You chip, crack, and sometimes break.

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Love Yourself!

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We’ve all heard the statement: You cannot be loved by another without first loving yourself. To quote the infamous words of Tina Fey….What the what?

Is it really important to focus on loving myself? Yes. In fact it can mean a healthier and longer life. For me loving yourself means that you can express yourself completely to others, you can speak your mind freely, and you enjoy being who you truly are.

To love ourselves we need to stop judging ourselves so that we can secure a more positive sense of who we are. In other words, we need to practice self-acceptance. To become more self-accepting we need to remind ourselves repeatedly, and with ever increasing conviction, that given all of our biased beliefs of ourselves, we’ve done the best we possibly could.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” Oscar Wilde

We need to realize that most of us have moved through life with an obligation to demonstrate our worth to others. It is time to ask yourself (specifically) what is it that you don’t accept about you? As agents of our own healing we need to use self-compassion and understanding to each of those aspects of self-rejection or denial. Doing this helps us dissolve incorrect feelings based off of standards that don’t mirror what could realistically be expected of us in childhood.

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Self-acceptance isn’t about fixing those identified aspects; we are merely non-judgmentally affirming them. We don’t have to do anything to have self-acceptance we need to only change the way we look at ourselves. Forgive yourself for your faults and relinquish the need for approval by others and remember that we are human and we are imperfect!

Accepting ourselves for who we are today doesn’t mean that we are not motivated to make changes that will enrich our lives. Here lies the connection with loving yourself and personal mastery.

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Maya Angelou

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In Robert Holden’s book titled: Happiness Now! He shares with us that “happiness and self-acceptance go hand in hand. In fact, your level of self-acceptance determines your level of happiness. The more self-acceptance you have, the more happiness you’ll allow yourself to accept, receive, and enjoy. In other words, you enjoy as much happiness as you believe you’re worthy of.” Cultivating self-acceptance requires that we become more self-compassionate. To adopt a more loving stance internally the prerequisite is self-acceptance.

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Here are ten ways in which you can love yourself right now:

  1. Celebrate Rather Than Demonize Your Past. Don’t forget everything that has happened to you has made you the person you are today.
  2. Forgive Yourself For Past Mistakes. You are human and mistakes help us grow. Forgive yourself, treat the mistake as a learning opportunity and move forward.
  3. Shift Your Mindset. After forgiveness, use self-acceptance to have a more positive outlook on life. Focus on your greatness and your strengths.
  4. Work on your Passion. We are all passionate about something. Focus on and spend as much time as you can with the things that make you happy – this is one of the easiest and most positive ways to learn to love yourself.
  5. Be Present And Enjoy The Moment. We forget all too often to enjoy each moment, enjoy the here and now. Our minds are always racing with what’s next. I need to work on that project for my boss, I have to pick up bread and milk at the store on my lunch hour, I need to take Jimmy to soccer practice, etc..you get the picture. While we move through our day, take a moment to enjoy the present. Listen to the birds singing, marvel at the clouds in the sky, enjoy that fresh pot of coffee smell that your co-worker just made, and the infectious laughter of a stranger. As Mark Twain wrote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did.” This topic of being present and enjoying each moment could be a blog post all in own! Heck, maybe it will! 🙂
  6. Be Your Number One Fan. It is okay to admit that you are good at something and that you accomplished something you thought you couldn’t. Remind yourself that you are unique, you have much to give the world and yes, YOU ARE AWESOME!
  7. Listen To Your Gut. To love yourself you need to believe in and trust yourself. Recognize that your thoughts and ideas are valid. You may not always want to act on them but always listen to them.
  8. Care As Much About Yourself As You Do Others. Sounds simple, but this is one area that we all struggle. We think we are being selfish when we focus on our own needs but if we don’t care for ourselves than how can we care for others? Treat yourself with the same amount of compassion you give your spouse, children and best friend. “The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.” Sonya Friedman.
  9. Follow The ABC’s Of Loving Yourself. Here is a great site called positively present that provides great ideas on loving yourself. I highly recommend following the link for more thoughts on how to love yourself!
  10. Appreciate Your Life So Far. We all have goals and things we want to change but don’t forget about the things we want to remain the same. Appreciate all that you have and all that you’ve done in your life – it is one the best ways to remember that you are lucky to be you!

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“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” –Buddha