Or 'Slow Down & Love Yourself' since October at Journaling Sisters has been all about slowing down!
I wrote about practicing self-love here.
I realized many of the times I feel stressed, in a funk, out of whack, things aren't going right -- it's not that things OUT THERE aren't going well, but because I am just being uber hard on myself.
I used to be very cognizant of being my best cheerleader when I was on my own or having a bad time in a relationship.
However, I realized that now that I am working on my own I need to be especially vigilant as well. Working with, by oneself takes an extremely large amount of discipline. It is not only the actual work that needs to get done with no one looking over your shoulder and telling you what to do, there is also no one there to share in your big moments with a congratulatory pat on the back. Or even just the proverbial chat by the water cooler.
And since I don't have anyone else outside of me critiquing my work on a daily basis, I need to do it for myself. And more often than not, I need more encouraging than critiquing. Or rather, critiquing comes quite easily and instinctively to me, whereas 'encouragement' I still need to do consciously and constantly remind myself to do so.
Danielle Laporte says the best self-help is self-compassion.
And since I don't think I'm the only one or woman who has difficulty turning the compassion inward-- it's much easier for us to turn it outward-- here are my top 8 strategies for implementing Self-Compassion:
8 Strategies for Implementing Self-Compassion:
1. Treat yourself as if you are your beloved friend
One of the best strategies I've found for self-compassion is to pretend as if you are a beloved friend whom you love dearly. Think how you would speak to them. What would you say to them after a long day at work? Not, "Did you get ANYTHING done today??" Of course not. For your best friend it's, "Oh my dearest, you did just wonderfully today, let me make you a nice cup of tea! Just sit you down here." See the difference?
Whatever form you'd like your personal cheerleader to take. It can be mini me; a fairy; a doll; a blue jay. Whatever you'd like to be your ever present cheerleader.
Now picture where you'd like to keep them. Are they forever sitting on your left shoulder? In your left shirt pocket? We all know women's clothing has no pockets (!) so maybe they can be tucked in behind our right ear. Wherever they are, get them nice and cozy for they will be living, eating and sleeping there. They'll be camping out, being your ever-present cheerleader and life-long friend!
You'll want to come up with a name. Mine is a fairy with dark long hair and glossy wings and a light blue leotard; except for when she wants something more comfy then she has her silk blue pajamas. And her name is... Jo.
See, it's working for me already. As I'm getting stuck writing this very post, Jo is sitting filing her nails (behind my right ear) and cheering me on. She's excited to see what I come up with, but I've had her promise she won't look until it's done.
I think you get the picture at this point. You will essentially be walking around talking to yourself, looking randomly at your left shoulder or trying to look towards your right ear. Do not worry. Most people are pretty self-engrossed anyway. And as long as you don't talk too loudly while you're at the office, no one will be the wiser!
5. Look at something pleasant
This might be more of a trick than a strategy, but if it works who cares? Just now I was doing the odorous task of being on hold on the phone with a telecommunications giant. This was an issue I've had to deal with several times in the last few months. I was being charged for a service they never even successfully installed!! You can understand my indignation here. Boy was I furious. This was not happy Shiuan. This was Shiuan, the roaring lion.
But I tried something different this time. I thought to myself, what can I do to calm myself down while I'm on hold? There's nothing I can do to speed up the process. I may as well try to lower my speeding heart rate before I give myself a heart attack. So I started looking at pretty pictures on my computer. They were pretty design brochures of happy people, beautiful scenery, beautiful posters. I immediately felt better, a sense of calm. Sometimes being kind to oneself can be changing the focus of our minds.
6. Ask 'what does it remind you of?'
Many times you might have noticed, when you're really annoyed at somebody else, it's really more about you than them. They remind you of something, often in the past, where you did not get to have something that they do. In this situation, it is best to extend compassion to that younger self. This may sound very woo-woo and self-development world here. But what's wrong with developing--growing--ourselves anyways? Maybe have your personal cheerleader fly back in the past to sit on the shoulder of the young you. Maybe they can talk to each other.
(Great journaling prompt by the way!)
7. Practice patience even when you don't feel patient
Yes, sometimes self-compassion can be as simple as taking a candle-lit bath and luxuriating in a bath bomb. But sometimes self-compassion can extend to giving it to someone else and YOU reaping the benefits. When my partner and I argue about something for the umpteenth time, my visceral reaction is to yell. But instead if I choose to stay calm, or at least silent, and defer the discussion to another time, then I feel a greater sense of peace and calm as well. And the satisfaction that I did not let myself get triggered by a situation and instead chose the higher route.
8. Remember how loved you are
OK one last strategy when you're feeling particularly down and you'll never accomplish anything big again, it helps to remember how loved you are. Picture all the people who dearly love you. Family, friends, coworkers, your church group, sports teams, community organizations, any other affiliations you may have. They believe in you. They think you're amazing. And since they're probably not ALL crazy, then it must be true.
Feel free to print this out, or bookmark it, so you can reference it when you need to. From the strategies above, which can you go journal on?
Please leave a comment below or share with someone you think would appreciate it!