Every day you have over 60,000 thoughts. The vast majority of them are negative. And too often, that negativity is directed at the one person who deserves it least – you. It’s okay to admit, you are harder on yourself than anyone else could be. You beat yourself up for all the things you think you should do better, should be able to get done in a day, should be able to figure out. You blame yourself and judge yourself way more than you acknowledge and appreciate yourself.
How do I know this? Because I have talked with thousands of people around the world from the age of six to eighty-six, from all backgrounds, races and social statuses, and the one thing they all admitted to – when asked and when honest – was how incredibly critical they were of themselves. And how little compassion and forgiveness they were able to give to themselves. And honestly because I, a woman bred to have a high self-esteem, be a great achiever and climb mountains and career ladders in a single bound, never even considered self-compassion as valuable as self-esteem, until I realized what not having it was costing me – my happiness.
We are in the midst of a self-criticism epidemic and a self-compassion drought.
Be nice to others. We’ve been taught that since the first grade. Be compassionate to people who are sick, less fortunate or going through difficult life problems? Of course. But direct the loving energy of compassion and forgiveness towards yourself, everyday – forget about it!
But here’s the truth about your happiness – it’s directly correlated to your levels of self-compassion: high self-compassion equals more happiness, lack self-compassion and watch your happiness drop. You more than anyone are counting on you to be there with open arms, offering compassion and forgiveness without condition. You are counting on yourself to love yourself. And loving yourself doesn’t just mean believing you can do and be anything; it requires you to be kind, gentle and compassionate with yourself always, even when you fail, fall behind or don’t measure up to the unrealistic standards you and society have set for yourself.
How do you do that? That’s the question I asked myself, too, as I seemed to have missed the class on self-compassion in all my years of academic study. It wasn’t until I began my spiritual study that the answers came. I’ve learned a lot about self-compassion in the last decade, including the following three daring acts of love I use, like ‘love weights’ to strengthen my relationship and self-compassion with myself on a regular basis. Next time you start getting down on yourself, stop, drop and build your self-love by trying one (or all of them) out!
- Transform Comparison into Inspiration – Comparison is the #1 toxic habit of your Inner Mean Girl or Dude (aka inner critic). When that voice starts comparing you to another person – either by making you better (superiority complex) or you deficient (inferiority complex) – stop and ask yourself, “What is inspiring to me about this person? What are they doing/being/having that I’d like to have in my life, too?” Then, and here’s the daring part, you have to reach out to that person – either right there on the spot live or via email, phone, or even Facebook or Twitter – and tell them what you appreciate about them! Then, and here’s the self-loving part, instead of copying them exactly, take the thing you admired and add your own essence to it. There is only one you, and the world is counting on your unique expression.
- Be Your Own Best Friend – A true best friend would never kick you when you were down, call you a loser, or point out all the ways in which you are falling short. Good best friends do at least two things really well: one, they appreciate and acknowledge you for how fantastic you are (they love on you) and two, they give you permission to give yourself a break when you can’t give one to yourself. As your own best friend, your job next time you’re being mean to yourself, is to transform the harsh words and energy into loving words with the following Love Mantra “You are doing the best that you can, and it is enough.” Here’s the daring part, you have to close your eyes, put you hand on your heart, and say this mantra over and over again until you feel a shift inside – that will be your compassion turning on. And then ask yourself, “What do I need to love myself well right now?” And then you must do that thing for yourself – just like a best friend would.
- Dial a Love Life Line – Sometimes when you’re really feeling like crap about yourself, and you just can’t find the compassion no matter how hard you try, you have to call in special outside forces. This is the time for “dialing into love” and getting some large quantities of it flowing to you pronto. Call up a person who you trust and who is good at giving love and follow these three steps: One, out yourself and your inner critic. Say “My Inner Mean Girl/Dude is going crazy and telling me XXX.” Just let it rant. Two, ask them to tell you three great things about yourself. Three, listen and receive those great things from them, say thank you, write these love lines down on a piece of paper and carry the love around with you for the rest of the day.
Remember, when you fail, falter or feel less than perfect, turn your attention to unconditional love to lift yourself up.
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Christine Arylo, m.b.a., writer, speaker and teacher, is an inspirational catalyst who teaches people how to put their most important partnership first, the one with themselves, so that they can create the love and life their hearts and souls crave. The popular author of the go-to guide on love & romantic relationships, Choosing ME before WE www.mebeforewe.com, and the self-love handbook, Madly in Love with ME, coming out this fall Arylo is affectionately known as the “Queen of Self-Love.” She founded the international day of self-love (Feb 13), which includes events in over 31 countries every year. She is a sought out media expert on the challenges this generation of super girls and super women face, having appeared on E!, CBS, ABC, and FOX as well as radio shows, spas, conferences and stages around the world. Check out her free Self-Love Kit at www.ChooseSelfLove.com