You have answers inside yourself for questions you may not have even yet asked.
When life seems to be getting too intense and you are not handling it as well as you’d like; when you come down on yourself for not showing up in a way you are proud of… here is one practice that will
Ready? So, what is bothering you? What is the main thing that's making you feel insecure, helpless, boxed in, frustrated, ashamed, or good old not good enough? Choose one situation.
Write down if you think it's a relationship that’s causing trouble; is it a behavior that undermines you, or is it a perceived character trait that makes you feel upset. What are the clues?
Put into words exactly how you feel and why. And be as specific as you can. Instead of saying "I feel angry" as an example, go deeper. Are you actually feeling annoyed, frustrated, pissed off, or enraged, or is there a sadness underneath that needs your attention?. Name it to tame it.
To help, fill in the blanks: “I often feel _________________ when __________________“
Next, and this is where the powerful part is, write a letter to yourself, but instead of beating yourself up for not handling a situation as you would have liked, you get the chance to show yourself understanding, tenderness, patience, and self-trust. Instead of self-punishment, you bring forth self-compassion. The research has shown that this is one of the most effective ways to bounce back faster.
So how does it work? The following strategy is from the Greater Good Science Center…and it works!
“As you write, follow these guidelines:
1. Imagine that there is someone who loves and accepts you unconditionally for who you are. What would that person say to you about this part of yourself?
2. Remind yourself that everyone has things about themselves that they don’t like, and that no one is without flaws. Think about how many other people in the world are struggling with the same thing that you’re struggling with.
3. Consider the ways in which events that have happened in your life, the family environment you grew up in, or even your genes may have contributed to this negative aspect of yourself.
4. In a compassionate way, ask yourself whether there are things that you could do to improve or better cope with this negative aspect. Focus on how constructive changes could make you feel happier, healthier, or more fulfilled, and avoid judging yourself.
5. After writing the letter, put it down for a little while. Then come back to it later and read it again. It may be especially helpful to read it whenever you’re feeling bad about this aspect of yourself, as a reminder to be more self-compassionate.”
Remember, we learn as we go. Experiencing challenges can be a fastrack to greater awareness. You are not a bad person, nothing is “wrong” with you. Be kind to yourself instead of accusatory.
You can do this activity once a week or once a month. See what works well for you and expect a greater sense of ease along with this expanded perspective. Being gentle and patient with yourself will make you feel better faster. Who doesn't want some of that!
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