- Sunday, 29 January 2017

Speak To Yourself With Kindness

I have been slacking.

Not in life generally, but here on le blog, I have been slacking mucho. My last post was right at the beginning of this month, and I'm only now doing another one. Partly spurred on by the fact that if I don't get a move on, I will only have published one post in January - nada coolio.

It would be easy for me to be super hard on myself and get cross with my own inconsistency, but that would achieve very little aside from a feeling of frustration, inability, and perhaps failure. Do I feel like I've failed? No. Because I haven't. In the grand scheme of things, 27 days between blog posts is really not a long time.

Sometimes, though, we tell ourselves that we have failed without even realising it. Maybe we're aiming for a certain grade, and we don't quite reach it - we still did well, but not as well as we had hoped. Did we fail our own expectations? Maybe we had a long to-do list today, and now it's the evening and we still have a bunch of things we have to carry over to tomorrow. Did we fail to be productive enough?

It's important, when you find yourself in these situations, to take a step back and analyse how you are addressing yourself. It's easy for people to tell you that you should "speak to yourself with kindness", but without any measurable aspect this is harder than it seems. Instead, speak to your younger self. If you wouldn't talk to 10-year-old you the way you are talking to present-day you, you're being too hard on yourself.

This is something that I think about quite often. I hold myself to pretty high standards, and always have done - at school, at uni, in extra-curriculars, in hobbies, in life generally - and for years now have been aware of the importance of addressing yourself with kindness, as it can be easy to focus on the things that don't go well rather than the things that do. Generally (or maybe it really is a British stereotype) we don't like to blow our own trumpets or shout about our own achievements, but all we have to do is recognise our strengths and the things we have managed to do (even if that's just completing today's to-do list) before looking at those we haven't.

It doesn't mean being all sappy and letting yourself off whenever you don't manage something, it just means approaching it differently and allowing yourself the space to accept that whatever it was didn't go to plan, but you can take from that and grow in the future.

Talking to younger you, you'd be compassionate and encouraging and focus on the good bits; why should it be any different talking to the you of today?

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