“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love” (Brené Brown). When we are alone with our thoughts, we could tell ourselves how we nailed that presentation or how awesome it was trying something new. Instead, we often focus on negative thoughts that whatever we were doing wasn’t perfect, so there is not even a shred of it that matters. We worry about how others will judge us and then we also judge ourselves. The spiral pulls us into the swirling vortex of criticizing which is exhausting.
Sometimes we need to be our own best friend and use the comforting tone and encouragement we would so generously give to a friend. This can be difficult because we may not feel deserving of a friend. Somewhere during the years of growing into adults we learned that being hard on ourselves is going to help push us to do better next time. In fact, being so hard on ourselves can erode self-confidence. Having self compassion allows a softer view that we are not perfect and we are going to make mistakes – part of this wonderful human journey called life.
The other day at dance class I was lost with the relatively simple combination we were doing – oops, time for improv! But I was so thankful for my feet – yeah, I know, sounds weird, but they are flexible and strong. I am certainly not the best dancer in my class, but I am glad I can dance, it brings me so much joy. And that’s the other piece of this, “There is no joy without gratitude” (Brené Brown). When we get pulled into the negative judging frame of mind, we miss opportunities to feel that joy. If we are afraid of trying because it’s not going to be perfect, we can miss out on an experience that could be amazing.
Be grateful for all your imperfections, embrace them and celebrate them, when we can be grateful, we may find joy that we didn’t even know was there.