Cut Yourself Some Slack.

3 03 2011

Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and family?

My (Chloe’s) answer: Definitely not.


I am going to rewind a little back to January 1st.  A few of my fellow bloggers, such as Ashley (www.healthyashley.com), Caitlin (healthytippingpoint.com), and Nicole (geekturnedathlete.com) shared their own personalized 2011 goals. I have never been a big new years resolution type of person, but I decided this year that I was going to pick one thing to work on in 2011. After a little brainstorming, I came up with a HUGE list of things that I wanted to to do better this year…dress more professionally, keep a cleaner apartment, no late night eating, cut out Splenda, return phone calls…the list went on and on. Then I had a realization…my list was simply a ton of things that I frequently got mad at myself for doing/not doing. And even worse, instead of actually making changes to these things, I simply beat myself up over not changing! So I decided to take a new route…

New Years Resolutions 2011
  • Wear more makeup
  • Keep better tabs on current events
  • Dress more professionally
  • Keep apartment cleaner
  • No more late night eating
  • Cut out Splenda
  • Take more rest days
  • Return phone calls
  • Etc.
  • Etc.
  • Etc.
  • BE NICER TO MYSELF!

 

The crossed out items on my list are definitely things that I still would like to keep working on in 2011, but what really made the shift in my mind was realizing that this list was not simply a list of items that I thought would make me a “better” individual, they were things that caused me to feel badly about myself. And that was not ok. There are always going to be aspects of life that need a little face lift, but that should never come at the expense of your confidence. I have been working (and definitely making progress!) on giving myself more credit where credit is deserved, and cutting myself some slack for the things that I think I need to work on. I have been working to fill up this card 🙂

 

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To be honest, I hadn’t really been thinking about this new years resolution much…until recently, when I came across a New York Times article titled “Go easy on Yourself, a New Wave of Research Urges.”

 

(Source)

The article drew me right in threw an entirely new idea into the mix….“people who find it easy to be supportive and understanding to others, often score surprisingly low on self-compassion tests, berating themselves for perceived failures.” Sounded pretty familiar to me…I would NEVER think to criticize or put down my friends for ANY of the mistakes/imperfections, but it doesn’t take long for me to point them out in myself. This idea got me thinking…and I became curious about how my friends and family (who I consider to be genuinely kind, compassionate individuals) felt. I asked a handful of friends/family what they were most hard on themselves for. Here are some of the responses (all gave consent to put on the blog!)..

  1. I would say that I’m hard on my self about how much I workout. I know that I need to rest, but I get mad at myself if I take more than one day off a week (which part of me knows is ridiculous since working out 5 days a week is still fine). Also, now that since I have really started training for Triathlon season, I have started to beat myself up a little if I only do one workout in a day when I planned two.
  2. I know it is silly, but I give myself the hardest time about my interactions with other people, specifically those I’m close to. I am not the best at keeping in touch, even if I care a lot and feel HEINOUSLY guilty if I don’t call/write notes/send thank yous/care packages/check in enough. If I forget something that a friend told me about (an event, trip, whatever that they’re doing) I feel like a failure.
  3. I am hard on myself when I am not working out, but feel like I should be… which of course makes you not want to work out. It’s a horrible cycle. Also, sometimes I feel that unless you are going to exercise for a significant amount of time its not worth it and then I feel badly for having those thoughts. Same thing with healthy eating : sometimes I think ” I ate a cookie today so I might as well eat some pizza cause tomorrow will be better.”  But I know that if I didn’t feel bad eating the the cookie in the first place, then I would just eat regularly the rest of the day
  4. I used to be really hard on myself when it came to teaching…I was surrounded by these incredibly driven, smart, “change the world” type of people and I never felt good enough. Part of me knew that I was just like them, but anything that they did and I didn’t made me a worse person.
  5. I workout, generally eat healthy and don’t think that I need to lose weight, but I STILL can’t eat a cookie, ice cream, burger, etc. without having feelings of guilt.
  6. I like to present my self as an intellectual person and in my eyes being current on news event, having whit, saying meaningful things, getting good grades, is what creates an intellectual person so I am hard on myself to uphold those standards.

I asked the same question to a large number of people and just about every single person had more than one answer for me. And even further, almost everyone I asked told me that they knew that these thoughts were unreasonable, irrational, something they would never be critical of another for doing/not doing.

Turns out a lot of us are really good at this…

 

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But need to wear this around more often as a reminder to be nicer to OURSELVES…

 

(source)

Interesting huh!?

The research also suggests that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health. Data suggests that self-compassion can even influence our healthy eating and exercise habits.

Question of the Day: What are you thoughts on the topic? Are you particularly hard on yourself over certain aspects of your life? Share your thoughts below!

 

 

 

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4 responses

3 03 2011
Andrea

Wow, what a terrific post. I read that Times article too, but the way you put it reached me even more strongly. I am hard on myself all the time. I worry a lot. I waste so much energy on these things. What might I be able to do if I focused on the positive! Even this post sounds tough on myself.

3 03 2011
321delish

Thanks so much! I really think that being nicer to yourself is one of the biggest challenges in life! But its something that definitely is worth working on 🙂

3 03 2011
Paul Young-Hyman

Really good points, and very useful as I think about it. Since I just turned 62 Im finding that Im easier on myself now. If I miss a workout or things arent perfect Im able to let it sit until the next time when I can try harder. I can tell when Im really slipping and when its just a bump in the road. CYa

3 03 2011
321delish

I aspire to have that mentality!

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