I've been thinking about why it is so difficult to be kind to ourselves.
I've come to the conclusion that one of the reasons is because we are on a never-ending self improvement treadmill.
There’s a large part of most of us that thinks we should do better, be better people, become better parents.
In that context, being kind to yourself can feel deeply uncomfortable.
It’s like you are slacking off.
You feel like if you ceased to - do all the things, listen to all the podcasts, read all the books, try all the strategies, attend all the programmes - you would have no chance of being that better person.
So you continue to think ‘must try harder’ and ‘could do better’ which are actually subtle - or not so subtle - manifestations of your inner critic.
And yet, interestingly, research (Breines & Chen, 2012) shows that self compassion actually increases motivation
* to make amends when you’ve done something wrong
* to keep trying following an initial failure
* to address areas of weakness.
So, far from slacking off, taking an accepting approach makes people more likely to improve themselves.
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But perhaps the deeper realisation here is that the constant drive for improvement is because of a fundamental dissatisfaction with who and what you already are.
I started Good Enough Mama because I could see how, again and again, women and birthing people throw themselves against the rocks of self judgement.
So, to counter this, again and again I will call you back to the truth that your inherent goodness is already within you.
It’s just obscured beneath layers of acquired junk (some of which includes all the stuff you’ve been so diligently trying to implement).
Yes, there are things you can do to make that inherent goodness more visible (and I will talk more about those things in subsequent blog posts).
But you first need to grasp the fact that it is already there.
Being kind to yourself requires a level of deep self acceptance that is very hard for most of us.
So yes, please be kind to yourself.
Do that by beginning to observe...
✨ where and how you are striving to be a better version of yourself ✨
...and dial down the effort.
Stop the striving, even for a short while.
Notice a tiny feeling of ease creeping in.
(There may well be a feeling of unease too but that’s a sign you are moving in the right direction...)
Notice the softening.
Notice what it’s like to let go of the judgement that you need to do something in order to become a better person.
That really is kindness.
Contact me ([email protected]) to find out about ways I offer guidance and support on your journey to feeling good enough.