Being Gentle To Myself

As per my post on Healthy Living Resolutions, last week I really tried to focus on #3, Be Gentle To Myself.

That might sound really hokey.  But what is The Blog for if not exposing my most broken bits and pieces?

Backstory: During Reverb, Sarah discussed Self-Compassion during Prompt 18 and pointed her readers towards a quiz on it.  Y’all know I’m A Joiner and I was curious as hell to find out if data would confirm what I thought I knew about myself.  So it was zero percent surprising to me when my results came back stating that I was generally self-compassionate, I ranked EXTREMELY high in the area of self-judgement.

Self-judgement.  I do it best.

While I was preparing for job interviews senior year, I had a hell of a time trying to figure out the answer to the classic question, What’s your biggest strength and what is your biggest weakness? 

But my mother had the answer almost immediately.  I am a painful perfectionist.

Perfectionism, gets stuff done.

And self-judgement, when not abused, can be used constructively.  The slave-driver in my head pushes me through long runs and compels me to do things that don’t necessarily come naturally, like cleaning the house the things that like to re-circulate at the bottom of my to-do list.

A lot of self-judgement and unyielding perfectionism means that the girl you see when you look in the mirror isn’t the girl who other people see.

So every day this week, I’ve been taking an extra minute in the mirror.  The dazzling piece of glass where, from my shoulders-down, the only thing I ever see are flaws.  Imperfections.  Shortcomings.

No, this is not the enlightened-sort of nonsense where I look at the pouch of fat on my stomach and muse that someday this is the fat that will help me to develop a healthy baby.

I’m sorry.  I just…can’t.  It’s too much.

But I have been taking in these personally proclaimed flaws of mine and consciously engaging in the act of replacing loathing with acceptance.

What I want need to do is cultivate the mentality that Good Enough is right now.  There is no later.

Once upon a time, there was a later.  But now?  We’re kind of, mostly, here.

This is the show.  The curtain has already lifted.

On Sunday morning, as Emily and I ran around Lake of the Isles, I found a profound amount of clarity.  I remembered something that Brady shared with me when we sat down for coffee in November.

Compete to complete.

Yes, we were discussing it in the context of racing, but I think that the heart of the idea behind it reaches out to touch a lot of things.

The only person worried about my performance is me.

The only person out to tally every single one of my imperfections and shortcomings is me.

The only person who can put that kind of pressure on me is, well, me.

So if something is going to change, it has to start right here.  Inside of me.

How self-compassionate are you?

p.s. It’s not too late to register for the 5k Running Clinic at the Uptown Running Room!  If there was ever a winter to start running, this one is really it.

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10 responses to “Being Gentle To Myself

  1. I love this. It’s such an important message for so many reasons. I promise, you are not alone in your resolve to be more gentle to yourself. Sometimes that awful negative self-talk just starts screaming and is almost impossible to ignore. Thanks for the reminder to stay focused on this. 🙂 Can’t wait to do some workshopping with you + me + Emily.

  2. Ooo! Self-compassion used to/and can be a struggle for me! I am my own worst critic. What a great reminder to be kind to yourself. I read once that for every negative thing that you tell yourself, you need to hear 25 positives to counter-act the damage to your psyche from the one negative.

  3. Type A here, too, so of course my self-compassion score is low. I’d like to say I’m getting better at treating myself with kindness, but, though I am trying, so far, I’ve had little success. Especially when I’m super-stressed (like now), I tend to focus on all the stuff I’m doing badly rather than the good stuff.

  4. Kat, per usual, you and I are the same person! I am trying hard to work on my self compassion this year. I figure, being mean to myself hasn’t worked so far. So rather than try the same thing again and again and hoping for different results, it’s time to be nicer to myself. And see what happens.

    Some days I do really well! I keep the mean thoughts at bay, I stop the cycle before it starts.

    And other days the mean voices get the best of me, and I go to bed thinking, when? When will I be good enough?

    The part of your post that spoke to me what the fact that This Is It. The time is now. I’m not training for the Life Olympics. Embrace now because now is what is.

    Okay, I’m getting weirdly cryptic. But I think you know what I mean 😉 So glad we’re amigos in self compassion.

  5. I am completely a perfectionist. Wedding planning was ridiculous for me but it’s a good thing thought! I’m working on the self-compassion deal myself. In my business, I’m a huge perfectionist and always trying to be the best of the best – ambition is a great thing, but it can also be a downfall as well. It’s great to have a balance. Thanks for being candid here! Great post lady!

  6. Yep.

    (That’s all – I just completely agree with everything you said. 😉

  7. Good to see that you’re trying not to be so hard on yourself. Almost everyone I know (including myself) is far too hard on themselves, but that’s kind of how society taught us to be. I know how nit-picky I can be on myself and it’s ridiculous. Keep the positive energy up!

  8. It’s a great thing to attain to, because I am way too hard on myself. I laughed at the belly / baby thing- I mentioned how ungodly wide my hips are once to a friend with almost no hips to speak of, and she pulled the whole “Oh, it will make childbirth so much easier for you!” I wanted to punch her, haha.

  9. Gurrrl you inspire me! I definitely need more self compassion. Being kind to ourselves is the best remedy in life!

  10. Oh, I loved this post. Not much more to say than that!

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