How To Stop Beating Yourself Up

How To Stop Beating Yourself Up

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. 

Gone.

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: 

  1. 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. 

XO 

Holly 

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.

 

 

Your New BFF

Your New BFF

Dear Future Me…

Want to boost your mood, improve your outlook on life, pinpoint where your greatest efforts might be served, and create some accountability along the way. Imagine your future self! Picture yourself, thriving and living a full, happy life. Researchers call this your BPS-Best Possible Self and study after study say it packs a powerful punch.

Personally, I’m a big fan of this exercise. For so many of us in midlife who question what’s next and where to go from here, it’s a simple yet highly informative way to start fleshing out a new path leading the way into the second half of our lives.

Getting To Know Your Future Self

  1. Carve out undistracted time – find a place where you’ll have limited to no interruptions.
  2. Select a time in your future – anywhere between one year from now to no more than five.
  3. Spend a few moments visualizing your best future self, consider your –
    Personal Life including your interests, hobbies, health preferences, and any accomplishments you’d like to go            after. Professional Success this includes your career and job, what brings you a sense of purpose, any educational pursuits, your income bracket, and what you’d like for your retirement. Social Life your romantic or dating life, the friends you seek and keep, your relationship with your family, and any regular social activities.
  4. Describe your future self at that time – imagine you’ve invested the time and energy to actualize your best self. What does your life look like? What are you doing personally, professionally, and socially? How do you feel? Think? Experience Life?

Note: It’s important to remember that the purpose of this exercise is not to visualize  your greatest fantasy, but rather your best possible, attainable future.

From this identity you can then start to take action. Asking yourself what would my future best self do right now in this moment. This way of thinking can help you restructure your priorities and serve as a roadmap. So that when you wake up first thing in the morning and throughout your day your BPS can now be your BFF encouraging you to align with those actions that you know support your end game.

With the new year around the corner, this is a perfect exercise to take advantage of so you can hit the ground running in 2022!

Wishing You The Best Of Success

-Holly-

Midlife Crisis Or Transformation

Midlife Crisis Or Transformation

Why Does Midlife Get Such A Bad Rep?

Now that I am personally in the height of midlife, I find myself vacillating between feelings of uncertainty and confusion yet a budding excitement of possibility and newness.  I mean I get it, navigating the inevitable transitions we face; our children leaving home, careers changing, parents aging/dying, re-envisioning intimate/social relationships, all while adjusting to our own health and body changes can be a disruptive force. For many of us, up until this point, there seemed to be a path we followed (i.e. school, careers, marriage/partnership, caretaking), or at least it was prescribed to us as the road that lead the way. But now the map leads…where?

On top of that who we are has changed, we care about different things and our values have shifted. What once served us well is no longer working for us yet these old patterns and habits are hard to ditch, leaving us wondering despite our best of intentions why we still feel unfulfilled and frustrated moving into the next phase of our lives. It’s no wonder midlife gets such a bad rep!

While midlife transitions are certainly challenging and often times messy they don’t have to be a downward spiral into darkness and irrelevancy. Here’s what I know to be true…I am way wiser now than I was younger. By midlife we’ve all learned enough about ourselves better enabling us to reflect and re-evaluate how we want to show up in the next phase of our lives. It can actually be period of time where we give ourselves permission to wipe the slate clean and reclaim ourselves, where leveraging a life filled with highs and lows can be the door to accessing a richer and deeper adult phase of life. 

Crisis or transformation? I think that’s really up to us. Look I really don’t like the fact that I find myself trying to conceal my “turkey” neck, struggle to sleep through the night, am trying to figure out how to empty nest gracefully, and am suddenly questioning goals I thought for sure would lead my way into the latter years of my life are now feeling flat and uninspiring. But here’s the thing, change IS an inevitable part of life. There is no getting around that. And since midlife seems to usher in a constant state of transitions, I know the one and only thing I can truly control is how I chose to show up through each. No doubt it’s going to be a bumpy ride, but I’m going to lean in and trust the process, reminding myself I’m behind the steering wheel and put worry and doubt in the back seat. 

Anyone with me?

Wishing You Always The Best Of Success

-Holly-