Being Good to Yourself Starts with Being Mean
How can being good to yourself possibly start with being mean?
Think about it for a moment. When was the last time you made an effort to be as good to yourself as you are to others?
I’m not talking about that massage/pedicure/facial you got last week or the time you took to relax and read instead of doing a chore. While those are great, they don’t necessarily shift you into easeful living.
Pause and consider the way you talk to yourself in your mind; the attitude you use to deal with yourself on a daily basis. Do you say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else? Do you mentally repeat beliefs about yourself that when said out loud to another person would be considered mean?
Living an easeful life, rather than a stressful one, starts with shifting from the meany in your mind to being good to yourself mentally.
It all begins with your mindset.
Most of us are pretty good about beating ourselves up. Our internal self-talk is probably not as positive as it could be. In fact, sometimes we are downright mean to ourselves.
Being good to yourself isn’t about turning yourself into a narcissist who thinks the world revolves around you; it’s about balance.
And this balance can be achieved fairly quickly if you play the game of inverse thinking with yourself.
Think about the things you say to yourself throughout your day. How many times do you tell yourself “That was stupid,” or “I don’t have enough ______ to do ______?”
This type of internal self-talk sets the stage for a stressful orientation to life.
If your boss, partner, or other person of influence in your life constantly said these mean things to you, how would it make you feel? It wouldn’t promote ease, that’s for sure.
Being good to yourself is about easing into to what life is already offering you.
Our theme for June and my next 5-day challenge is practicing the habit of easeful living, and a large part of that includes being good to yourself.
Rather than starting your day from a place of stress, try starting with positivity.
As soon as you catch yourself thinking something negative, play a game with yourself where you get points for turning negative thoughts into their opposite.
Make an effort to stop and invert your old mental dialog into fresh, positive statements that come from a place of ease.
Instead of beating yourself up because you didn’t go to bed as early as you’d planned the previous night, turn that into a positive plan to do so tonight. For example, a stressful orientation to life would have you mentally telling yourself “I am so tired. I screwed up again and stayed up late. My day is going to be exhausting!”
Use the power of inverse thinking to explore the opposite. “I’m so glad I noticed that I went to bed later than I wanted to last night. Now I have the opportunity to set an alarm for myself to begin winding down one hour before I want to be asleep tonight. I’m setting that alarm now so that I can relax for the remainder of the day knowing that I’m going to get a great night’s sleep tonight.”
You can’t change the past, but you can shift your thinking right now to change the future.
If you’re not entirely convinced, give yourself a week to test it out.
Resolve to make an active effort to reduce negative self-talk by inverting your thinking.
Keep a daily journal and make note of the times you shifted from negative to positive. You can even enlist a buddy to play along with you and compare scores and takeaways to see what a difference it makes.
Don’t neglect yourself, either.
After you’ve begun to get in the habit of inverting your mean thoughts and practicing positive self-talk, you can keep being good to yourself by blocking time in your week just for you.
Sometimes life gets busy and we don’t take care of ourselves in tangible ways. Not all of us are guilty of this, but sometimes we forget to make time and space for ourselves.
Women especially, by nature, tend to spend more time caring for others. It’s easy to forget that you need to nurture yourself!
Once you’re in the active habit of inverting your thinking and being good to yourself mentally, it’ll be easier to take time for yourself in other areas. Find an activity you love, and make time for it in your schedule. For example:
- Take a walk or bike ride
- Read a book
- Cook or bake
- Paint, draw, sculpt
- Take a friend to lunch
- Take a bubble bath
- Practice yoga or meditation
- Get a massage
It may seem like an indulgence at first to do something for yourself, but think of it as a step toward easeful living. Your mindset and overall well-being will improve, and you’ll be better equipped to deal with life’s ebb and flow.
Goodbye, stress. Hello, ease.
In order to live an easeful life, your first step is to reduce your negative self-talk and make sure you’re being good to yourself on a daily basis.
I’m not saying to stop taking care of others to take care of yourself; just make sure you’re being good to yourself first. Ultimately, no one can take better care of you than you—especially when it comes to your internal dialog.
Keep in mind that taking good care of yourself allows you to be happier, which helps you be more present and available when you take care of others. Living life with an orientation toward ease and away from stress will give you—and everyone around you—a more positive daily experience.
Tell me in the comments below how you plan to be good to yourself in a mental or tangible way this week.
Photo credit: Adam Jang