Ah, the holiday season.
The time of year where we rush into the lab with our microscopes, critically analyzing ourselves as we wrap-up our yearly reflection.
Not being mindful of the lens we see through and the words we use to describe ourselves, keeps us distracted from the most significant resolution... Walking into the new year as our own BFF.
Quick question, if your friend told you she is distraught because she didn't complete her yearly book goal, would you call her stupid? If she didn't make it to the gym 5x a week as planned, would you label her lazy and tell her to work harder?
When it comes to others who fail to achieve their goal, we extend our hearts by carefully listening. We want to deeply understand where they're coming from and how we can motivate them to build resilience.
Now us, it's a bit of a different story. When we notice something we don't like about ourselves, have confusion, or failure, we tend to avoid expressing kindness to oneself.
We have this misconception that negative self-talk prompts us to move faster and push ourselves outside our comfort zones. In fact, studies have shown the effects are the exact opposite causing one to experience procrastination, stress, and rumination.
There's actually a different approach to take.
This ingredient will help you be your own cheerleader at times when you feel like giving up. By using this sauce, you will become mindfully aware of your emotions and thoughts. It's called self-compassion. What does it look like?It's acting the same way towards yourself as if you provided the warmth and kindness to your friend.
Here are 3 ways you can add some TLC during your New Year reflection.
1. Practice self-forgiveness and acceptance
"Forgive yourself for what you think you’ve done or not done. At every moment, you had your reasons for all of your actions and decisions. You’ve always done the best that you could do. Forgive yourself.” Doreen Virtue
Doreen couldn't have said this better.
Forgiveness comes from understanding and accepting. Before you try to whip out new goals, give yourself time to be mindful of your current circumstances and practice approaching them through a compassionate lens.
Give this forgiveness monologue a try to address any unpleasant actions thus far or in the previous year for understanding.
What plan(s) was I trying to meet?
I accept myself without judgement or feeling shameful for my attempt(s).
It’s over, I can let go.
2. Count your yearly wins
It’s so easy to focus on the negative, what went wrong, who did this, and why did this happen. I mean our brain is wired to heavily focus on unpleasant news, due to something called negative bias. During the hunter-gatherer period, it helped us dodge many life threatening situations.
Right now, give yourself permission to focus on what went right. Allow yourself to hunt for the good. I’m sure there’s so many. It's time to celebrate those micro wins, it doesn’t have to be huge. Take time to appreciate what’s actually working.
When we honor our small wins we create positive energy and forward momentum. We can’t accept the vast transformations, without loving the small ones. Grab out your journal and list three accomplishments you were proud of this previous year.
3. Identify what you need
Give yourself the space to feel and welcome the sensations that arise for you. It may be uncomfortable but ignoring them will only make it worse. Once you determine the emotion express what you need, it may be a hug, word of affirmation, hands-on creativity, or walk in nature. Remember you are not selfish for taking time for your needs.
Don't forget to share this post with an intentional friend who needs to be kinder to themselves in the new year ahead.