The most important step

Most of us don’t realize how unkindly we treat ourselves.  It’s not uncommon to (quietly) call yourself an idiot or to berate yourself for making a mistake…and don’t even get me started on what women say to themselves in the mirror.

Would you ever say any of those things to a friend?  If you talked to a friend the way you talk to yourself, they probably wouldn’t be your friend anymore. People don’t respond very well to being treated poorly, yet we don’t hesitate to treat ourselves that way.  We think that to make ourselves change, we have to be harsh or even mean.  Our inner drill sergeant comes out and starts barking orders at us.  Make your bed every day, you slob.  Skip dessert, fatso.  Run another mile, lazy.    

For a while we listen to that drill sergeant.  We make the bed, skip dessert and run some extra miles.  There’s a temporary high and we’re sure this will be the time we stick with all of these changes.

Then the crash comes.  We eat cake at our friend’s birthday party, miss the gym and stop caring about making the bed.  We berate ourselves for falling off the wagon and the cycle repeats…again.

There is a different way.

Learn to be on the lookout for the inner drill sergeant and the unkind words.  When you hear them, pause and think about what you’d say to a close friend.  Ask yourself if you would say those things to someone you love.  Think about how you would talk to a loved one, and use those words to speak to yourself.

When you fall off the wagon (because you will, we’re all human), think about how you would forgive a friend for a silly mistake or small stumble.  Think about how insignificant it would be to you if your friend didn’t skip dessert.  Apply the same truths to yourself.  Forgive yourself each time you stumble, and the stumbles will no longer feel like road blocks.  Let yourself know that it’s OK and you get to try again tomorrow.

This is the most important step you will ever take.  I don’t care what you want to change, if you start by being kind to yourself and treating yourself like a friend, you’ll go further than ever before.

 

CLICK to Tweet: Take the most important step and become a friend to yourself.  #selfkindness

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