Monday, March 23, 2015

How To Be Kind To Yourself

Monday, March 23, 2015

Last week I saw a nicely done image that depicted different ways a person can practice kindness for himself.  I decided to write them down and make some commentary about them.

Your mistakes are part of your learning

If this is true (and why shouldn't it be?) then I have learned quite a bit through my mistakes.  There are certain patterns that I want to finally break free of.  In the past I have occasionally been quite the impulsive person.  I now wish to focus on enhancing my decision making skills.

Don't compare yourself to are not them

I have compared myself to others more often than I would care to fully acknowledge.  This is not unusual to do.  And it's especially normative if you are a gay man.  American culture also contributes to  this unhealthy behavior.  Men are often taught to value competition over collaboration.

There is no right way to do anything

Reading this statement brought to mind all sorts of funny imagery.  You mean there is no right way to mow your lawn? No.  You could go outside with a pair of rose bush clippers and clip each individual piece of grass short.  To successfully cross a street you can walk, run, skip or jump along.  Everyone has a unique way of achieving goals that is specific to that individual.

Stand up for what you believe...even if it's unpopular

I have become increasingly comfortable doing this.  I did it last year when I protested the quality of the leadership of a local arts organization I was once an active member of.  I was literally the only one willing to do this in the particular way I chose to do it.

Learn from people who criticize you

I believe it is a truism that those people we find irritating, annoying or even exasperating can often be unwittingly reminding us of something about ourselves we do not care to really consciously attend to.  So in a sense you can learn from both your friends and your so called enemies.

Accept your weaknesses as your "features"

The quality of our lives is directly related to how we think about our lives.  Rather than see ourselves as riddled with weaknesses we can instead visualize these 'issues' as growing edges or opportunities for growth.

Look at your past as an adventurous biography

If anyone could win an award for an adventurous life biography it would be me.  You can see it writ large in my resume.  I have practiced a lot of reframing of my life history.  Seeing your life in a different way can be very liberating.

Don't underestimate your talent until you apply it one hundred times

Put differently...practice makes perfect.  Being a perfectionist can be a difficult way of living in the world.  It can be even more difficult if you expect perfection the first time you try something!  It is a healthy practice to give yourself the time to grow into your talents.  Acorns do not become grand oak trees in the course of a single night.

Every single problem you have is not unique

The number of Americans who meet some number of criteria associated with PTSD is quite probably many millions.  You are not alone in your joy or your suffering.

Intelligence is relative, self-esteem is not

I am still mulling over this one a bit.  It is a healthy practice to find a way to focus your attention on the good you bring to the world.

Express your anger in a creative way

I took up boxing over a year ago.  I probably do this as a form of exercise at least once a week.  My blog once served as a good outlet for my anger.  Find a way to make the world a better place such that you can honor who you are in the world.

Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed

This is important.  Do not underestimate the value of your friends and mentors.  A positive, nurturing environment does wonders to foster human development.  A negative, oppressive one does not.  I think it true to claim that many people are in therapy due to early life experiences they are still working through.

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!