Awareness and Action

awareness and action

I’ve written a lot about the importance of a solid self-care routine, but the truth is that sometimes it’s difficult to practice one on a consistent basis.

Sometimes we have to work a little harder to put ourselves first.

I’ve been really focused on doing what I can to help remodel our small home and was beginning to feel depleted (emotionally). Although I get satisfaction from working on the house, missing out on some of the things in my self-care routine was making me feel unbalanced.

Unfortunately, rather than slow things down that were within my control, I attempted to  “power through” these feelings.  After all, my husband was doing so much more than I was and he neeeever complains! I didn’t want to let him down.

And here’s where my old pattern of thinking meets my new pattern of thinking: More importantly, I soon realized that by not taking action to get a handle on how I was feeling, I was letting myself down.

I know that by taking some time for myself to do what I love, like meditation and hiking, I feel more grounded and more plugged into those around me at the same time.

I am a work in progress.

It takes a long time for new patterns of thinking to come naturally, which makes sense considering it took our old patterns of thinking decades to develop!

Growth is about awareness and action.

Awareness

that something isn’t working or that you aren’t feeling balanced.

Since old patterns are so routine, just being aware that you aren’t at your best is a big step in the right direction. It’s growth!

Action

to create movement to make changes.

Share your feelings with someone you trust or write them down (accountability can be super helpful). Do a self assessment to determine if your self-care routine needs tweaking. Do what you love and what brings you joy.

If you don’t know how to make the changes you want (or have made changes but seem stuck lately), then do some research. Be curious. There are many inspiring people doing great things, online and around us. Read what they’ve written, sign up for their blogs and talk to people in your life that might be able to offer insight into a desired path. If you’d rather talk to a professional, a life coach might be helpful.

I knew I wasn’t feeling my best and shared my feelings with my husband. Just explaining how I felt made me feel better and of course he was understanding and supportive. I’ve been taking time to do what makes me feel grounded and we even went on a great family hike!

Sometimes it seems as if all aspects of our lives line up and everything seems to be going smoothly. Other times,  our lives feel aimless and out of control (like a wagon that just lost a wheel).  It’s these times that we need to keep moving forward and work a little harder to get that wagon up and running again.

When we do, it will be better than ever!

 

 

 

 

 

A Lesson in Self-Compassion

I don’t always see myself as others see me and throughout my life I’ve been my toughest critic. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized the deep extent of my poor self-image.

I have battled my negative self-talk as long as I can remember and I’ve learned to deal with it the best I can. I’ve been able to keep my feelings fairly contained, and, to my knowledge, no one saw past my confident, outgoing exterior.

The truth is, I wouldn’t treat a dear friend like I treat myself sometimes. With maturity, long-term loving relationships, becoming a mom and a successful teaching career, I have developed a fair amount of self-confidence, but this didn’t really translate into self-compassion.

The real impetus that put me onto the path of self-compassion was when I Iooked in a mirror and uttered, “I hate myself.” Out loud. In front of other people. And there it was. I had just had a difficult conversation with a friend that I really cared about. The conversation didn’t go as planned, at all, and I felt as if I really screwed up.

I’ve read that shame can’t survive the light of day (Brene Brown). That, once we talk about our feelings and shine a light on them, they tend to have less power and control over us.

In my case, this  vulnerable moment was just what I needed to begin a process of healing and learning about the importance of self-compassion. Even though this was a very difficult time, I’m grateful that it’s brought me to where I am today.

“When we give ourselves compassion, we are opening our hearts in a way that can transform our lives.”

– Kristin Neff

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Being our authentic, imperfect selves makes us more relatable to others
  • People tend to be more comfortable around us when we are honest about our shortcomings
  • Negative self-talk does not motivate us to do better, in fact it has the opposite effect and can cause depression and anxiety
  • Self-compassion and forgiveness helps us to be more compassionate and forgiving towards others
  • Setting boundaries in our lives is an act of compassion, since when we fail to do so, we end up resenting others (I love this one!)

I’m happy to share what I’ve learned and excited to continue my journey!

I just signed up for  an e-course with Brene Brown and Kristen Neff on self-compassion. Brene’s  work and her words have been so helpful to me. I’ve read several of her books and taken one of her e-courses. She’s smart and compassionate, and her work is research-based, which really appeals to me. You’d think I worked for her (I wish!), but I’m just a fan!

Here’s the link for Brene Brown’s courses if you are interested:

http://www.courageworks.com

Take care and Be All There!

Love,

Jeanne

 

Self-Love

Self-love or self-compassion seems to be the best kept secret to happiness.

stock-photo-62579464-i-love-me-concept

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit it, but I never really gave much thought to the importance of self-compassion. I mean I’ve heard the expressions, “You have to learn to love yourself before you can love anyone else”  and “If you don’t love yourself, no one else will,”  but, it never  dawned on me that this was a “thing” until recently.

From what I’ve learned, it’s a pretty big “thing!” As mentioned in my previous post on vulnerability, things don’t always go well when we put ourselves out there. When we are reminded of our imperfections, we must treat ourselves with compassion.

I would say that in general, I like myself. I think I’m a pretty good person and I’m as kind as I can be to others. Isn’t that self-love? After all, if I paid any more attention to myself, I would just be conceited, right? I guess I’ve been focused on others and how to draw my attention outside of myself. Not anymore.

How do we treat ourselves?

When I really took stock of my negative self-talk and how unforgiving I can be with myself, I realized that I am my own worst critic. As painful as it is to admit, I’ve even felt hatred and shame for parts of myself.

I didn’t realize how damaging this could be until I read Kristin Neff’s work  on the subject(selfcompassion.org).

Dr. Kristin Neff says that there are 3 core components to self-compassion:

  1.  Self-Kindness
  2. Common Humanity
  3. Mindfulness

To practice self-compassion we should treat ourselves with kindness rather than harsh, self-judgment, understand that our imperfections aren’t “abnormalities” that separate us from others, rather they are part of the shared human experience, and identify and accept when we are suffering in order to give ourselves the compassion that we need.

Although we may think that being self critical of ourselves actually motivates us to do better, Dr. Neff’s research actually shows the opposite.

Self-criticism actually undermines motivation.

This concept really intrigued me and gave me hope that I had the power and the understanding to change my negative thought patterns!

You can read about it in more detail on selfcompassion.org  if you’d like, but Dr. Neff explains that being self-critical actually causes a fight or flight response (the threat is to our self-concept) where we attack the problem, which turns out to be ourselves!

She goes on to say that, “Self-compassion has been connected to decreased depression, anxiety and stress,  and greater happiness and connectedness with others!” Yes, please!

Self-love = Overall Mental Health

With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.

~Kristin Neff

Self-love is not about being self-absorbed or narcissistic, its about self-preservation.

Let’s show ourselves some love!

XOX