I am done, so so done, with beating myself up. I've found another way to still accomplish my goals and get stuff done by being kind and gracious with myself, and I am so much happier and more at peace! Here's how I've done it.
I Am Always Doing the Best that I Can
This is my new motto, my mantra! I literally say it daily when I need to.
We humans seem to be professionals at beating ourselves up. We can be so hard on ourselves and it doesn’t serve to motivate us, it certainly doesn’t make us happy, and most of the time it actually sabotages our own desires and dreams.
As psychologytoday.com puts it: “instead of helping you reach your goals or become a better version of yourself, self-criticism belittles you and erodes your peace of mind.”
Did you know we can still be both successful AND be kind to ourselves?
So I say mantra this to myself when:
- I don’t get my workout in for the day
- I don’t get to the grocery store like I really needed to
- I don’t get up a weekly blog post
- I have laundry piled up everywhere
- I have dirty bathrooms and floors
- The kids watch more TV that I promised myself I'd let them watch
- I’m tired (I now allow myself to rest instead of pushing through)
- I eat “too many” chips or chocolate
- I lose my patience with the kids
- I snap and say something rude to my husband
- I don’t finish the things I’d like to do for my businesses
- I don’t make my bed or clean my room (still heat my mom’s voice I guess!)
- The scale isn't buying or my pants are tight
Stop the Scolding
We are so influenced by our childhoods, and the voices that speak to us when we are little become the voices we hear when we are grown. Thankfully, we can turn that around and aren't victims of our pasts or we'd all be in a lot of trouble! And don't we want our own children to hear our positive, gentle voices in their heads when they are adults, and not punishing ones?
Instead of letting that scolding, punishing voice come through, I stop it in its tracks, take a deep breath, and choose kindness for MYSELF. It’s easy to offer kindness, grace and forgiveness to others when we are doing it for ourselves.
It’s okay, Sara, you are doing the very best that you can and THAT IS ENOUGH. (Yes I do talk to myself!)
Talk to Yourself Like You Would Talk to Your Bestie
Your bestie is having a tough day. She texts you and says she's crying – there's a giant pile of dirty laundry, another two piles of clean laundry that she hasn't folded yet, her bathrooms are dirty and she needs to go to the grocery store. But she's just too tired to go. You say, “Girlfriend, I totally feel ya! It is tough to get it all done every day. Just go take a bath, drink a glass of wine, and go to bed early. You'll feel better tomorrow.”
Could you imagine if you talked to her like you talk to yourself? “Gah! What's wrong with you? Why can't you do anything right? You failed to do the laundry AGAIN. You're so behind on keeping the house clean. When are you ever going to get it together?”
She'd never speak to you again, right? So, why do we talk to ourselves this way? Part of it is how we are raised – we hear that same scolding voice we heard when we were 5. Part of it is also our culture – we think we can motivate ourselves to succeed by criticizing and putting ourselves down. Either way, we can change this now, we can turn it around by how we speak to ourselves. Then how we speak to others changes, too. It all starts within first!
Kindness Actually Motivates
There's an old way of thinking that we must bribe, push, shove, and even punish people, ourselves and especially children, into doing things. It's like we think we are in the military! It's actually bullying – we bully ourselves. But thankfully, that old, Newtonian mindset as it's called, is finally changing!
Think about how others motivate and encourage you – when you are told you're doing a great job, praised, appreciated, and feel loved, you feel even more excited and motivated to accomplish something. So why not speak to yourself that way?
When I was a new mom back in 2009, I started studying the Montessori way of education which allows kids to make lots of their own decisions throughout the day at school. It's also a way of life at home, a conscious, mindful way of parenting. It resonated with me SO much and I started to implement it at home.
That lead me to a wonderful program that teaches parents how to use positive discipline with their children – called Positive Discipline. There are actually teachers all over the country who will come a speak to a group of parents and train them how to use these practices! It was a life-saver for me and helped me to start changing my own self-talk and mindset about me.
Other Helpful Posts
I've done a lot of work on changing my self-talk (conscious/positive language) and breaking the cycle of comparing myself to others. I also used this mindset to teach myself to learn to LOVE exercise instead of punishing myself with it.