Being kind to yourself is more important than anything else...
It’s taken me 30 years to learn how to be kind to myself.
You might be thinking, “DAMN SARAH, what have you been doing all these years?”
But it’s the truth!
I’ve spent most of my life not always being my own best friend.
And a lot of these habits were learned habits from the ways that society told me to act.
“Dieting” in high school - yup, did that.
“Body checking” basically up until last year - totally!
Telling myself that I’m not worthy for “X” reason - been there and done that.
I’ve spent COUNTLESS hours not using my inner energy for my own good!
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’ve lived my life in a constant state of blahhh. It’s just that, these were little things that I used to participate in that were not serving my highest good! Sure I had more positive moments than negative moments, but it’s those less than desirable actions, behaviors or thoughts that end up causing us the most pain in the long run!
When we tell ourselves there is something “wrong” with us, the subconscious holds on to that for dear life. You might look at yourself in the mirror and say something like “ughhh my thighs, life would be so much better if I had smaller thighs,” and then go on with your day. To your conscious mind, you’ve moved on and that statement lives in the past, but your unconscious mind hears EVERYTHING as truth. The less-than-kind statements we make, thoughts we have or beliefs we have developed about ourselves get programmed into the subconscious and stored as FACT.
Two factors in our society today play a huge part in the development of negative beliefs about ourselves, are the media and our self-deprecating culture. Why is it that we (especially as women) have such a hard time accepting a compliment? And on the media front - why have we all been programmed to believe we need to look a certain way to be loved or accepted by our peers?
If you’re reading this post and thinking - OMG I body check every time I walk past a mirror (ps: body checking is the act of looking at your body to see if anything has changed. Most people body check their stomachs. It can become an unconscious habit if left un-addressed). Or perhaps you tell yourself that you’re dumb any time you mess up!
If all of this is resonating with you, and you’re ready to break the habits, I have two different exercises for you.
Have a conversation with your younger self
Since you’ve become SO comfortable being a total jerk to your present self, I challenge you to look at a photo of yourself when you were still just a kid (3-7 years are great ages) and attempt to tell him/her the beliefs you hold about yourself today. Are you able to tell your younger self that they’re “dumb” or “ugly” or “fat?” What are these lies you’re telling yourself that hold you back from truly living out your full potential?
Give it a shot. I’m betting it won’t be so easy.
So why are you so comfortable telling these lies to your current self?
When I look at a photo of myself at that age I want to tell her how amazing she is, and
how she can do anything she sets her mind to. I’d never want to tear down young me - that’s when I realized it was time to stop being so hard on current-day me!
Meditate on the Why
Yes - a lot of the stories that we tell ourselves have been developed over the years, but WHY do we continue to believe these not-so-nice statements or beliefs? If you practice body-checking, why is important to YOU that you check your appearance so often? The answers might surprise you, and they might not come to you right away.
This meditation is simple in practice yet POWERFUL in results
Sit alone in a quiet place, and begin to take deep breaths. Close your eyes and place your hands on your heart. While in meditation I urge you to take yourself to your happy place, this could be real or made up. (For me, my happy place is in a whimsical forest where the trees are covered in glitter and fairies fly around). Once you're in your happy place, picture a mirror in front of yourself and begin to have a conversation. WHY is it that you think the less than nice thoughts about yourself? Why is it that you're so critical about yourself?
Sit in meditation until you have some answers, or until a sense of calm washes over you. Practice this daily until you feel like you've made some headway on whatever "it is" that truly bothers you or holds you back from living your best life!
Try out these practices and let me know how they go! As a Health & Wellness Coach, one of my main focuses is empowering my clients to feel AMAZING in their own skin!