photo by Catherine Just
I’m all about the idea of kindness. I say idea on purpose here because for me, it’s not until I have backed into a corner of self-deprecation, that I even consider kindness as an option toward myself. The funny thing about this? I’m a very strong advocate towards the importance of respecting every human. Respecting the differences. Acknowledging the strengths. Moving more toward connection than judgment. And yet, as I write this, I can see how there is a disconnect, starting right here with yours truly. I’ll be kind when I weigh 10 less pounds on the scale. I’ll be nice when I finally get into the smaller pair of jeans…you know, the ones I wore a few months ago before I allowed myself to go crazy in the sugar, wheat, dairy aisles. I’ll be compassionate when I finally “arrive”. I’ll let go of that mistake I made when I can fix it by being even better next time, aka: perfect. I must say, looking at the way I treat myself right now on this page, exhausts me. I mean really! I’m the girl who doesn’t put up with any BS from anyone! EVER. Yet here I am staring at the truth of how I speak to myself! What’s a girl to do?
Well, I actually already know what to do and I wanted to pass on these tips for any of you who could relate to the paragraph above:
1. Admit it. Write it out, look yourself in the mirror, whatever works. Just see it and acknowledge it.
2. Create a ritual toward kindness. For me this is best done with a fire ceremony. And no – I’m not talking about lighting your hair on fire! I mean, writing those things down that you say to yourself that are all lies and filled with hatred. Light a match under them and toss it into the fireplace.
3. Start taking photos of all the things you love about yourself and your life. This will slow you down to notice all the amazing things that You ARE, and that you have surrounded yourself with. This is a visual gratitude list.
4. Contrary actions. Stop believing yourself. You are not your thoughts. They are separate from you. They are trying to “help” you but doing a horrible job at it. Fire your thoughts. Hire new thoughts in their place. The old thoughts will be mad and get louder. But just remember to detach and hire the new thoughts for overtime.
5. Help others. I know, I know! You’ve heard this one before. But it is SO SO true. Try it on for size and let me know if it doesn’t do the trick. When you wake up in the morning, ask yourself what it is you can do to help others that day. Getting past your own self-defeating thoughts, to help someone who is REALLY in need = healing for both of you.
6. Decide. Just decide that you no longer treat yourself that way. Period. Put the mean gene down. It’s not really who you are. And you know it.
7. Treat yourself like royalty. It’s easy to live and think small when you’ve been practicing it for so long. Flip it on its head. I don’t mean go shop for diamonds, or yell “off with his head! “. I mean treat yourself with loving kindness as you would a precious gem or like you would your own pet. Buy some nice scented soap and bubble bath, candles, magazines, healthy foods, lotion. Whatever would help you get into the roll of knowing you are important and feeling that you matter. Small simple acts of kindness towards yourself can make a big impact when practiced regularly.
8. The art of distraction. So if, like me, you need to lose a few pounds… what’s a girl to do? How about doing something totally NOT related to the thing you keep beating myself up about. Like….take a painting class, go play tennis, see a play, do things you never do but always wanted to do. Aka: jump head on into life.
9. Ask for help. Nothing wrong with a little outside help. And there is plenty of it. Mentors, teachers, counselors, 12 step meetings, therapists, life coaches, eCourses, retreats, spiritual teachers, you name it. It’s there for you. Reach out.
10. The next time you hear yourself say something self defeating. Say back “So What? Who Cares! Big Deal! Why Not!“
Go on, try it. These tips may bring you to a more Soul*Full way of talking to yourself and therefore to a richer daily life.
|Catherine Just is an award winning published photographer, gracing the cover of National Geographic and inside Oprah.com. She offers one on one photography coaching and leads Soul*Full retreats for women and the Soul*Full eCourse.
You can find out more on her website at CatherineJust.com