If you've been following along from the beginning of the Kindness Project, you've made it to the start of the second week!
Today's kindness suggestion is focused on the way that we speak to ourselves. It can be easy to fall into the trap of feeling like we aren't good enough or doing enough from our to do list, which can lead to harsh self-talk. When comparison is such an easy companion thanks to social media, it's hard to avoid feeling like our own attempts are falling short. But it's worth taking the time to find ways to engage in some more compassionate self-talk, and that is the focus of today's post.
When I was looking into how to approach this post, I found an excellent article from the Harvard Business Review by Alice Boyes, who is an author with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Within this article she speaks about why we engage in this type of self-talk (hello, my fellow perfectionists!) and how we can improve our own ability to speak compassionately to ourselves. After all, we likely wouldn't say most of the mean things we say to ourselves to other people.
Some suggestions from the Alice Boyes' article:
Figure out your own self-sabotaging patterns. Why are you engaging in negative self-talk? Is it due to anxiety around performance? Is it a desire to control all the things? Once you understand why you are engaging in this, it can be easier to notice and change how you respond in the moment.
Figure out what you find self-soothing. In the early years, there is a lot of discussion around helping our children find ways to soothe themselves, so we are likely experts at helping our own children with this. As adults, it's likely that we also need to find this for ourselves as well. When you find what works for you, it can be helpful to write it down to make it easier to remember when you need it.
Make a plan. Now that you have reflected on the situations that often trigger self-sabotaging and figured out what can help you soothe yourself, it is easier to brainstorm and plan ways to work through these situations. Writing down detailed scenarios and a new way to respond to them can be helpful. Here's a personal example from my own life: When I get on Instagram and see all of the beautifully curated homeschool shelves, I look around in dismay at my own homeschool disarray. Instead of saying mean things in my head, I will close the Instagram app, and remind myself that social media is also a curated snapshot of beautiful moments. They are also likely to have dirty dishes in their sinks.
Ask for help. I know that asking for help can be hard, but there are resources to make this easier. And while it's likely that you will have to stay on mental health care providers' waitlists for a bit, having someone else who can help you work through these issues can be a lifesaver.
This post is intended to be a starting place for you. I would love to hear other suggestions in the comments below. How have you found ways to be more compassionate with yourself?