Truth, Transparency, Transformation
Volume IV, Spring 2018 Issue
Stop Beating Yourself Up!
by Cicely Victoria
Even while being honest with yourself, there are a few guidelines to follow in order to simultaneously cultivate self-care.
The three keys are:
- Be forgiving with yourself.
- Be kind and merciful to yourself.
- Be patient with yourself.
First step... forgive yourself. When you don’t practice this skill, no matter what the forgiveness is for, all you will do is delay the resilience time it takes to get back on track. Guilt and shame are tactics designed to keep you stuck in a state of sorrow. (That was a big one… let that sink in.) The reality is that whatever has been done is PAST. Instead of being obstinate, stubborn and walking around with a “woe is me” attitude, acknowledge where you could have done better in the situation and be committed to improve with the next opportunity given. Aside from that, it turns into a pity party and nobody cares. No really, nobody feels sorry for you, so GET OVER IT. Be kind and merciful to yourself. The song “Try a Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding comes to mind. How many of us are guilty of not even knowing how to be kind to ourselves? I remember in times past how much I used to “beat myself up” when I did not get it right (whatever “it” was). Let me tell you a little secret: Being “too hard on you” is a trait common to the perfectionist, or like we prefer to say in counseling, one who has a relationship with perfectionism. Sometimes the standards for ourselves are so high that there is no room for flexibility and healthy compromise if necessary.
There is another unspeakable result of not extending kindness or mercy to yourself and it is this: when you don’t know how to give mercy to you, neither will you know how to give it to others. Kindness and mercy is a conditioning that is perfected with practice. Yet when you have not cultivated this skill with yourself first, it is not automatically going to appear when the demand is greater with another. When you don’t nurture kindness and mercy within yourself, you will be one of the most merciless people on the planet. Ironically so, lack of mercy is also connected to our first principle of lack of forgiveness along with lack of trust in self and others. That is a scary thought to consider, but it is very true and it will happen when ignored. I am a living witness. Don’t ever allow yourself to become that “ugly” as a person on the inside. Practice sharing compassion, kindness, and mercy to yourself first. You would want others to share it with you and you equally want to be the person that can extend it when others have need of it. Remember Otis’ words… and try a little tenderness.
Lastly, be patient with yourself. Did you get to the point of needing improvement and betterment “overnight?” Of course not. Then, in the same spirit, don’t expect to be your best self in no time flat! A process denotes a series of actions, meaning that a period of time will be a factor. It took time to get yourself in any “ruts” you encountered along the way, so be reasonable enough to give yourself patience with time to make it right. While you’re going through the process, never underestimate the power of “baby steps” and don’t despise small beginnings. When you commit, with increased frequency, time, and dedication, you will improve and betterment will be your produce. Patience is indeed a virtue worth the wait.
1) Reflect and journal on the areas of your life (past or present) that you need to forgive yourself for things not turning out the way you might have hoped or planned.
2) Where in your process of betterment in life can you stand to be more kind or merciful to yourself?
3) What area(s) of life requires the most patience with yourself? What are three ways you can practically be more patient with yourself in those areas?
4) Make a list of progressive improvements (no matter how small it may seem to you) that you have made in any area within the last year. With every improvement make a statement beginning with “I am grateful for….” (i.e., “I am grateful for smoking only once a week now instead of daily.”)
© 2018 Cicely Victoria