Life TherapyTM
Psychotherapy & Coaching + Mindfulness & Meditation

How can we become kinder and gentler to ourselves?

This is a contribution by guest blogger, Shari Alyse.
Are you tired of being tired?
I remember seeing the wall. Actually, heading right for it at top speed and consciously making the decision to deal with the consequences afterwards. Why? Well, in that particular moment, it seemed easier to just go with well, what seemed easier; the short term. The getting of what I wanted when I wanted it. Of course in the long run it wasn’t easier. I was reckless. I was reckless with my own heart. Nobody else’s. Just mine. Which is the worst kind of reckless. If you don’t care about your own well-being, then you certainly aren’t truly caring about anyone else’s.
You can fool yourself into thinking that you put others first, but if you truly did, you would take care of yourself first because then you offer someone else the best you possible. Which that in turn, makes any relationship, friendship, working relationship that much simpler and easier. Why? You’re not trying to get anything in return from anyone. You have taken care of your own needs and so you don’t feel the need to have to get fulfillment from anyone or anything else. It just makes every interaction that much more pure. It’s about sharing, growing, giving, loving and being instead of taking, asking, wanting, and needing.

So why did I finally stop going at warp speed into that brick wall? I got tired. Tired of crying, tired of picking up the pieces, and tired of finding myself in the same situations over and over again just with different people each time. There was only so long I could keep victimizing myself. Actually, I probably could’ve kept going because sometimes it seemed easier to sit in that corner and feel sorry for myself. The only problem with that is, it’s pretty lonely. It didn’t make me feel any better or even change the situation for that matter. I realized that I always knew the right thing to do, I just chose to ignore it. I realized that no matter how many positive people I surrounded myself with, no matter how many times I finally decided to rid of the negative people around me, I was continuing the cycle myself.
Self-victimization. Phew. That was an eye opener. That was actually a sock to the stomach but it also gave me an instant “a-ha” moment. I live for those! A huge exhale came from that. Okay, so now I recognized it and now I had to really take that in and see why it was that I felt the need to want to continue hurting myself. I had gone through all the work of repeating all those positive affirmations, I read all those self-help books, and talked to tons of people who told me “I was too good” for that person, or “I was too smart” for that job or I was too this or I was too that. All of it, of course, regarding others and outside circumstances.
I had learned expertly how to let people go. I had learned expertly to let bad situations not grow. The only thing I hadn’t learned was to speak nicely to myself. I hadn’t learned how to stop telling myself the same old, tired, over-played stories that convinced myself that I wasn’t worthy of anything good in my life. I didn’t realize that I had to go deeper than just believing that someone shouldn’t treat me badly; I had to stop doing that to myself.
So maybe you’re there. Maybe you’re standing on the edge of that cliff ready to make that jump to personal freedom. Maybe you’ve done that already or maybe you’re scared to. Maybe you’re all of it. But the one thing you do know is that you are tired of feeling tired. Yes, it’s not easy to stop doing what you’ve always done. It’s like a torn up ol’ security blanket, that might not even keep you warm, but it just makes you feel safe knowing that it’s there. It’s comfortable.
That, however, doesn’t mean it’s good for you or even does the job but you hold on to it for dear life. I’ll share something else I’ve learned along the way; taking risks in your life might not always give you your desired outcome, but what we think we want, might not always be what we need. I can tell you, though, with the utmost certainty, that the universe is always working on your best behalf even when you don’t have the eyes to see it or the heart to trust it.
Alright, so now you’re on board but you’re not sure how to proceed. You might be wondering how you know what the “right” thing to do is? Here’s the thing, your spirit is always speaking to you. It speaks at all times and shows up in all different ways. Whether through an audible voice, a song lyric, something that someone says, something you read or something as simple yet profound as a knowingness that resides deep in your heart. This ‘voice’ never leads you astray. As a matter of fact, the times you have listened to it, things always seem to go smoothly and peacefully. We all know what it’s like to go against our better judgement.
We all know how that always turns out. So when you find yourself at a crossroad trying to make a decision in your life and you find yourself heading towards that brick wall at mock speed, my wish for you is that you stop, take a breath, internalize what it is that you’re hoping to give to the situation and then take the steps it takes to produce that outcome. I can assure you that choosing to listen to that voice will be one of the wisest and kindest decisions you could ever make for yourself in your life! I know for me, it has changed my life in ways that leave me speechless at times.
You might occasionally find yourself allowing in those old stories and tapes to play in your head from time to time. You know, the ones that tell you that the wall might not hurt that badly just this one time. Remember though, you might be able to bandage up those wounds in the short-term, but those scars left behind are life-long. It’s time to start being kinder and gentler to yourself. If you aren’t, why would anyone else be?

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