The studio’s April challenge focus this week is to be kind to yourself. I decided to embrace the theme and commit to being less self-critical. I chose to notice when I am self-critical, putting forth efforts to pause, and then either re-do or simply be aware of the behavior (whichever felt more accessible at the moment).
Taking a step back from self-criticism felt clumsy. I wanted to share my observations with you in the event you can relate and maybe we can support each other to shift. Here were a few observations in my experiment:
I watched myself attempt to completely let go then react with over-control. For example, I am applying for jobs. I never feel like I am doing enough. I hungrily apply every day. I check the same website(s) obsessively, sometimes at 3 a.m.. I feel completely consumed by the fear that something won’t land and I waste 30 mins, 1 hour, 2 hours skimming websites. In this exercise, I paused and focused on trusting it will work out. Quickly after I returned to hunting. But the pause allowed me to notice my energy would likely be better spent focused on finishing my coursework, with an allotted amount of time dedicated to applying for jobs. Also, I’ve applied to jobs recently of which I am qualified and excited about, yet I don’t allow time for it to percolate.
My indecision often leads to over-giving or unclear boundaries. I met friends for coffee Thursday morning. I walked past a man that asked for money and/or coffee. I told him I was going to be an hour inside, he decided that was too long. When I got inside I got self-critical for not simply saying yes on the spot, so I bought him a coffee. When I took it outside, he was gone. Then I felt silly for buying the coffee.
I noticed a lack of trust in others: my partner, friends in my volunteer group, co-workers. I watched myself take on more tasks rather than discard unnecessary ones, ask for help or lose control. Then grow resentful at what I “sacrifice” to keep up. It was an opportunity to remind myself to ease up, the extra mile is sometimes just extra. Often, letting others do for themselves (vs. interjecting) is usually the wiser decision for all. Being kind to myself means allowing people to help and being kind to others means trusting they will do a good job.
In my effort to re-do the above, I decided to start listening to positive affirmations on spotify. It’s been helpful so far!
For balance, here are other (positive) observations:
I am inherently kind and sometimes child-like.
I noticed that I am loved.
I have a resume and personality I am proud to market as I apply for jobs.
I allow myself to be silly in front of others.
I can leave the house without changing my yoga clothes 10 times.
Running has gotten easier and I accept my pace.
I won’t apply for a job that feels like a sacrifice, because I have done that and was miserable. I have grown.
My partner and I are committed to each other. He is patient and loving.
My family is generous.
I am learning to accept gifts in new ways.
This lesson was eye opening that ways to be kinder to myself are available in every-day small decisions. While massages & pedicures & nights out are a treat, I want to be kinder to myself on the inside, too. Can you relate?