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The Only Resolution You Should Make In 2013

January 8, 2013

A persistent theme appeared and reappeared this past year. I didn’t see it. Until an 8 ft Pacific wave crashed over my head, dragged me under the surface and tossed me around in somersaults until I floated back up gasping for air. The ocean had punched me in the figurative face so hard. And that’s what it took to see what was really happening.

And it wasn’t just me being pummeled with waves.  I think this has been a lesson a long time coming. I see it with friends, wellness clients, yoga students, family…but this time it smacked me right in the face. Literally.

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We have to stop beating ourselves up.

To reframe and put it positively, KINDNESS KINDESS KINDNESS FROM YOURSELF TO YOURSELF.

You’ve heard it before in yoga class when the super sweet teacher tells you to “take it easy, adjust the poses so they work for you wherever you are today” and when she ends class with a blessing of “self-compassion and understanding.”

But let me tell you, this little compassion-killing-devil is way more sly and inconspicuous than you think. And it can creep into your life in very sneaky subtle ways.

The last thing I want to do is put out this seemingly negative topic out there for New Years 2013, but I think this is REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT. So it’ll turn out positive if you just hang on for a few more minutes with me.

When I was little, like really little, I heard very little about Buddhism. And the word that I associated with it was “suffering.” How terrible, I thought, that this religion is all about suffering. To me, suffering was a word reserved for awful things like slavery, child labor, and concentration camps. Little did I know that later I’d be so interested in this suffering and come to know its subtle interference into daily life.

So rather than define it, here is a list of examples. Each time one of these things happens it’s like getting pummeled by an 8 ft Pacific Ocean wave. Or maybe it’s more subtle, like a quick light jab to the ribs.

12 ways you might be beating yourself up. Do you…

  1. Feel guilty when you take a sick day because you’re letting yourself, your boss, or your colleagues down. “I’m so behind I really should get some work done from home.”
  2. Feel shy or insecure if your hair, clothes, or make-up don’t look their best. “No way I’m going to talk to him, I didn’t even put on make-up today.”
  3. Get hung up on the small piece of your presentation you messed up on when the rest was highly acclaimed. “I can’t believe I messed that up. My boss must think I’m such an idiot.”
  4. Feel guilty because you chose happy hour over yoga? “I’m such a lazy ass.”
  5. Feel bad that you’re not “putting yourself out there” enough to meet new people or someone special? “I really should go out more.”
  6. Think your size isn’t good enough? “if I could just lose five pounds I’d be happy.”
  7. Berate yourself if you lose your keys, wallet, or cell phone? “I’m always losing things.”
  8. Blame yourself or take responsibility for another’s mistake? “I should’ve been there so this never happened.”
  9. Feel like a bad person for speaking ill of another because they’ve hurt you. “I’m such a bitch.”
  10. Think if you could just complete one last project, check one last thing off the to-do list then you’d feel better. “I’ll be happy once this is done.”
  11. Blame yourself for the way someone else treats you. “I shouldn’t have said that about her.”
  12. Blame yourself for the way your treat yourself. “I’m such a loser.”

Ouch. Wham bam pow. It’s the physical equivalent of punching yourself in the face repeatedly. Over time the bruises go so deep that become paralyzed, stuck where you are without any ability to move forward. Especially if one of these is repeated daily. You may not even realize it, but that wound goes deep.

So what are you supposed to do?

Thankfully you’re a yogi, so you already have a good foundation for stopping these silly (yet understandably human) and damaging behaviors.

3 steps to stop beating yourself up on a daily basis.

  1. Notice when you do it. Some of these should be quite obvious to you and others are more subtle. Start by having a self-awareness practice. Yoga is a great place to begin. Meditation can help go even deeper by learning to observe your thoughts. Working with coaches, therapists, and healers can help you identify them too. Or ask your most brazen friends to tell you straight to your face – believe me, they already know what they are.
  2. Catch it quickly as soon as it happens. Block the punch right before it hits you in the face. You have to be quick like lightening before it spirals out of control and you’re halfway into a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Catch it. Pause. Stop. Do nothing. Become an outside observer of the punch that’s on its way and just tell yourself to “shhhh.”
  3. Turn it around. There are lots of ways to do this. After a reasonable amount of “shushing” time, instead of punching yourself in the face, try to turn it around and be positive, say something nice to yourself, give your six-year-old-self an imaginary hug, and reframe whatever the situation is into something positive. This takes practice.

1984But really, every time you berate yourself in a big or little way, imagine what you’re actually doing to yourself. Would you ever say that to your best friend? Would you say that to your six-year-old-self? That’s she’s not pretty enough, smart enough, talented enough, or confident enough? Of course you wouldn’t. Just look at her.

Just give her (you) a hug. And stop “shoulding” yourself. Every time you say “I should really…” means you need to “shhhh” yourself. Because either you’re not ready to do it (and that’s totally fine!) or you’ll just take action and actually follow through. Shoulding is a little punch in the face.

Be so nice to yourself this year. Try your best to do it. And if you’re not sure if you’re doing it, then take an afternoon off.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 9, 2013 12:47 am

    Rebecca, that is such a cute picture of your six-year-old-self. =)

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