The Dalai Lama says: If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
So how about practicing self compassion? Self compassion is not to be confused with self-indulgence. It’s about not belittling yourself for making a mistake or falling behind. It’s about recognizing that life has ups and downs, good days and bad.
There are so many messages in our lives that urge us to be self-critical. It’s as if being a big meanie to yourself is supposed to motivate you: I didn’t get to all of my To Do’s because I’m so disorganized, I’m fat because I’m lazy with no will power, I paid the mortgage late because I’m always forgetting to go through the mail.
Seems to me that talking to yourself with that criticizing voice is the complete opposite of motivating. Our culture say be hard on yourself and you’ll succeed. I disagree. I think be hard on yourself and you feel stuck and hopeless.
Whenever you feel badly about something take a minute to ask: What have I just been saying to myself. Much of our interpretation of a situation is colored by the voice in our head. It’s a hard habit to break, this being hard on yourself. But like breaking any habit you have to actively, intentionally work at making change. You’ll only change the chatter in your head into supportive pep talk if you decide to try. And, when you mess up, tell yourself: It’s not the end of the world. Next time I’ll be nicer, nicer to me.
Smile. Be Happy.
P.S.: I started thinking about this last night when my arm got chilly outside of the covers. In my head I said: I better put my cute little elbow under the blankets. Really. I honestly talk to myself like that. And I’m one of the happiest people I know. It’s working for me. If I said it out loud (or wrote it in a blog) I know I’d sound like a sap. Here’s a wonderful little secret: no one hears the voice in your head but you.
* Jalapeno Cheese Bread Smiley, just because it’s so yummy. Well, also because last night the voice in my head had quite a debate with itself about getting out of bed to have another piece.