“Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance.” Tara Brach
You spill the cup of coffee you just brewed and it splashes over your clothing leaving a nice brown stain. What are you saying to yourself?
What do you say to yourself when you don’t meet your expectations, when you are late, when you say something you shouldn’t, when you forget an important meeting, when you oversleep or when you get a speeding ticket? What are you telling yourself?
Many people find that their message to themselves upon any unmet expectation is filled with insults and derision that would never be heard by someone else. People become their own worst enemy and call themselves names that only reduce their ability to succeed. Some people believe telling themselves that they are “not good enough” as a way to motivate themselves to better results and often it only yields more of that same message … “you’re not good enough”. Before long that becomes their internal truth and all they do by yelling at themselves is provide confirmation that they aren’t living up to the world’s standards or their own. If they are “not good enough” then that means people around them aren’t good enough either and it sours those relationships as well.
What do you tell yourself when you don’t meet your own expectations?
What if you could tell yourself a different message? You can. New research is being done in the area of self-compassion. It might be worth reading about or learning more about. Practicing self-compassion just means that things can go wrong and that it is OK.
You can change what you tell yourself when things don’t go exactly as planned. Instead of beating yourself up, try this just say it to yourself:
“This is a moment of suffering.
Suffering is part of my life.
May I be kind to myself in this moment.
May I give myself the compassion I need.” (From Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff)
Just repeat those lines and practice it for a week. See if you can notice a difference. Go ahead every time you are ready to condemn yourself say those lines above instead.
To hear more about self-compassion listen to this video:
“I am not confident”
“I am not able to ….”
“I am lonely and alone …”
“I want more out of life but I don’t know how … ”
These are lines from people that are seeking something better in their lives. Maybe it is a line that you have used yourself and are wondering, “Am I good enough”, “Am I able …”.
Those questions are often asked in a small voice and that restores for a moment the confidence that is lacking or missing. Someone might feel sorry for me and would be able to connect with me for just a minute and that helps, but in the real day to day story it is a cry for help and a desire to begin living a life that can be so much better.
Life can be better and it takes work to make it better. It takes an act of courage to change from not feeling good enough about yourself to creating the life that is really desired.
“Courage , also known as fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation. It can be divided into “physical courage” — in face of physical pain, hardship, and threat of death — and “moral courage” — in the face of shame, scandal, and discouragement.” (Wikiquote)
It takes courage to change, to become all that you can be and to give up the burdens that hold you back from being all that you could be.
It takes courage to to act and create the better tomorrow and hope that it can become what you truly desire.
As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Life in the fast lane, life in the slow lane and life in the ditch, where is yours?
Some people are thrilled the way their life is going and some aren’t. Some people are struggling each day to fit any piece of the puzzle of life together and others look like they have the puzzle completed.
The real puzzle isn’t what is seen on the outside, it is what is happening on the inside. This is where life takes place, in the heart and in the soul. Some people appear to have everything anyone could imagine and it could be that those are the very people who are struggling the most. The calm exterior, the smiling face, the strong laugh, the unending positive story could be real or it could be a façade to a life that is empty and without meaning.
Living on the inside to make life on the outside great is a difficult task to achieve. Living fully from the inside out means that you believe in who you are and where you are going. Start making choices that boost the self-esteem and as a result leave you in a position where you have choices rather than having choices being made for you by others.
What does your life look like from the inside out?
“Setting an intention is about getting really focused. It’s so much about owning your stuff and not blaming anyone else. It’s like saying, I’m going to take responsibility for my happiness, my life, my everything.” Dodie Moquin – Psychotherapist
It is so easy to blame someone else, or something else than it is to look at the situation and say, what part do I play in this? When you take responsiblity for your choices, for your feelings, and for your happiness you are setting a direction in your life that will result in greater joy.
If you blame someone else or something else will that make you feel better? In most cases it won’t. Try it – see if blame moves you forward or leaves you standing where your are. Write down those times that you call yourself names or when you blame or insult somene else. How many times in one day are you playing the blame game?
Here’s an interesting article on accepting responsibility.
Responsibility, the more you take the better your self-esteem.
What is your choice?