Monthly Insights for Better Living
Three Simple Steps To Being Your Own BFF
Let me be honest with you. For 2, 3 months last year — I was in the zone…
My kids were in college doing their thing. I could finally give everything to my career, to my clients. Workwise, it was all coming together.
You know that feeling, right? ‘This is great. This is really f*cking great.’
And as you know from last month’s post I’m a recovering perfectionist…
Well, let’s FF a little… through Thanksgiving and Spring break.
My semi-non-independent kids landed on the mat. My mother’s alzheimer’s diagnosis began seeping through the cracks —
Think wandering lost in a neighborhood she no longer recognizes. Panicked calls that scare me out of my mind…
And suddenly all the boundaries that were working so well for me, the mojo I’d rediscovered — BOOM.
EVERYTHING sucked out of me.
And this got me thinking — what do YOU do, or say to yourself when the $h*t hits the fan? When you realize, between empty nesting and aging parents, you’re at the height of your own midlife angst?
Don’t you ever feel like it’s time to give yourself a break? Like, you’re just being a little too hard on yourself?
I know I do.
(And as a coach, I really should know better…)
It’s a universal truth. Because, let’s face it ladies, we’re great at dishing out compassion for everyone else, but for ourselves?
We’re our own worst critics.
So, this month we’re turning our attention to the science of self-compassion. How to deal with setbacks, failures, bumps and bruises — because when you put yourself out there, that’s what’s gonna happen.
But first, let’s expand on last month’s post for a moment. [Missed it? You can read it here.] If you’re trying your damnedest to flip that script from perfectionist to optimalist — and finding it’s not quite that easy — I hear you.
Rerouting toxic thinking (when it’s been your default perfectionist mechanism for so long) is super difficult…
And we make it DOUBLY harder by believing self-compassion is a self-indulgent weakness that leads to complacency or laziness…
ABSOLUTELY. NOT. TRUE.
The real truth? The less we sugarcoat, and honor our feelings, the more we’ll strategically and accurately move forward in life. After all, if you keep minimizing your emotions, how can you possibly resolve them?
And THIS is where the science of self-compassion is a game-changer.
So let’s dive right in —
Kristen Neff, the world’s leading researcher on self-compassion, explains that if faced with setbacks or insecurity, most of us fall into the trap of self-criticism. Especially women.
And this in turn breaks down our wellbeing.
Conversely, self-compassion builds us back up. It’s a source of empowerment, learning, and inner strength.
And it all boils down to 3 main practices:
- Self Kindness. Yes, it’s as simple as it sounds. All this means is when you feel yourself slipping into toxic ruminating thinking, talk to yourself as you would a dear friend (or child). Be kind to yourself!
(I mean come on, would we ever tell our child, husband or friend: just give it up. You should not even bother going to college. Y’know what? You suck at football. Forget it.)
Yet, that inner voice does it to ourselves all the time…
2. Embrace what Kristen calls ‘Common Humanity.’ You’re not alone. We ALL experience challenging times. If you’re anxious, depressed, overwhelmed, feeling less — you’re human. The only people who don’t experience painful emotions are psychopaths (or dead people) so remind yourself — it’s okay not to feel okay. (In fact it’s very normal.)
And if you’re feeling this way — let me validate the hell out of you. Remind you that you have the fortitude to push through this. Heck, you deserve to push through this…
3. Take a balanced approach to negative emotions, so your feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. In short, notice the struggle that’s arising. Acknowledge and strive to understand it. And better support yourself to move forward.
Don’t allow yourself to get stuck, brooding in chaos…
Yes, it sucks that my mother has alzheimers. Unimaginably. And I’ll honor that at my core — but I’ve got to remember there’s no point in ruminating on it. That is never going to serve me.
So, next time you hear the voice of self-criticism, get smart AND strategic.
How? Start by rubbing your goals and aspirations up against reality…
For me this means having the support to STOP being superwoman. Sharing the struggle with my girlfriends or husband. Being a cheerleader for myself — remembering to talk to myself as I would a friend or a client…
‘Holly, this is super hard. But you can do this.’
Because, here’s the deal. Anyone who’s achieved greatness will tell you the road to success and wellbeing is anything but easy…
And whether you’re actively moving from perfectionist to optimialist (or simply staying committed to the best version of yourself) flipping that script from self-criticism to self-compassion will help you navigate the toughest times.
Ladies, it’s time to stop getting in your way and become your own biggest cheerleader. Martyrdom is getting old.
P.S. What self-critical narratives have you been telling yourself — and how are you planning to flip that script? I’d love to support you through this journey… hit reply and let me know.