Have you watched the beautiful video "Relax, Breathe, and LetGo" by Sanctuary Spa? Click here to watch. While watching this video it brought all sorts of feelings up for me. It was so emotional that it made me cry and feel chest tightness. When I stopped to observe why this was coming up, I realized how harsh, judgmental, and abusive I was to myself. How many stories that day alone I have had that were saying I didn't do this and that, or I still have so much to do and I'm so busy, there is never enough time etc. What hurt me watching the video was that I forgot to enjoy the fact that I had a great life, a healthy body, a wonderful environment I live in, and everything else that was around me in abundance. Instead, I let myself only see things that were not there and made those more important. I was saddened to let the things I didn't do dominate my day and my mood. However, being a solution oriented person, I thought about ways I can incorporate into my day to actually remind myself of the important things in life and let those create my mood for everything I do. I know it's hard to always keep the big picture in mind when we are dealing with the day to day things, but my goal is to keep myself on the kinder side of life for at least 55% of my day. Here are some ways I try to be kinder to myself.
1. Create smaller goals
Break your goals down into something easier achievable. This does not mean you are settling for less, this only means that you are breaking it into smaller steps and focusing on one step at a time and celebrating each step. This way we don't beat ourselves up for not getting to the end goal and being a loser. Once you achieve that first step, celebrate it and feel the triumph of it. If there is something you have been working on for a while and it's not happening, it's usually because the goal is not broken down enough for your circumstances. For example, if you are trying to loose 30 lbs, break it down into 10 lbs goals. The first 10 lbs you loose, celebrate it and make it the most important step toward your goal. Don't tell yourself, but you still have 20 lbs to go. Just enjoy the success for a few days and get yourself excited for the next 10 to loose. You've just shown yourself that you can do it and it's possible, so the next step should be taken with more confidence.
2. Stop brining your past into your present
Your past is what happened to you, but it's not something that should keep defining you in your present. I have lived through a war and horrible things, but I don't let that define my life now and give me a reason to hate anyone. One of the best quotes I heard was from a Jewish woman who spent two years in the concentration camp and said "Hitler got 2 years of my life, but I don't want him to get the rest of it." Same goes to all the stories of what your family has done to you or your ex-partner. Don't keep reliving those stories in your present and let them ruin your day today and define your mood.
3. Don't take anything personally
We take way too many things personally. Have you ever talked to someone who is complaining about someone else and making them wrong for something and you thought to yourself that they are wasting their energy on something that is not about them. Most people don't think about you. They think about you in terms of themselves only. So when they offer an opinion or words, they are offering them from what is going on in their life and their minds. We abuse ourselves any time we give that opinion more weight than our own.
4. Drop things from your to do list
Arianna Huffington said it best "one way to complete a task is to drop it". Every day I think about this as I go through my to do list and think about what can I live without. What can I leave out and be ok with not completing? And just like that I have less things to do.
5. Take action
The video above says to just be and do less, but in some cases it's better to take action. If something keeps consuming your mind and you keep thinking about it, then most likely it requires some action. First give it time to digest, but if it is still lingering in your thoughts, then do something about it. Don't let things that are of importance only live in your head. Sometimes taking action even just some small action will provide so many answers.
6. Say no
If you knew you would die soon, would this be something important to do? This is the best way to measure what order to do things in or how much time to take to do something. When you are stuck between some options and don't know what to do, call on the death angel.
7. Savor the little things
If you don't know how to savor the little things in your day to day life, chances are you will not be able to savor the big things either. I've been on vacations and events that seemed so big and important, but unless I have prepared to mentally to be fully there, I missed most of it.
8. Get rid of toxicity
Toxicity in food, clutter around us, toxic people, and toxic thoughts should be purged frequently. This is one of the most important ways to create more time for the things that matter. To get rid of toxic thoughts, write them down and read to yourself out loud several times. At some point, you'll start separating from those words and those thoughts will separate from you.
9. Get more sleep
The best way to reset our energy and our thoughts is to sleep. Many people have over-active lives and brains that don't allow them to get good quality sleep. How many times do you lie down to take a short nap, but can't sleep because your brain is thinking about 'important things'? This is a sure sign that you are sleep deprived. First figure out how to put those thoughts out, either on paper or talking about them with your partner before you go to sleep. You are also most likely drinking too much coffee and consuming too many of other stimulants like sugar. Get rid of half your regular coffee and sugar intake and you'll start getting more sleep. Sometimes, I spend half my morning eating sugar and drinking coffee and those end up being the least productive and worst days for sleep for me. If instead, I drink more water and herbal tea and eat more protein, I feel much better, I have more energy, and I sleep better too.
10. Find your SELF more
The person we think we are, is not who we really are. The person who we think we are is just a way of being that we have learned to be through our believes, our parents, our society and circumstances that happened to us. If you have taken any of those personality tests, all they define is your way of being, which is something we adopted in life. It does not define the SELF. We are rarely the real SELF. So how do we recognize the SELF? Usually the real SELF comes out when we are 'out of character', when we play like kids, when we do something where we almost don't recognize ourselves, when we have an 'aha moment', when something 'hits us' and we can't stop thinking about it. The SELF comes out when we drop all judgements, believes, and opinions. When we just are and everything around us just is the way it is. This might not make much sense, because most of us have only had glimpses of this real SELF and it's hard to define it or describe it. The best approach is to question what you are not. The more you know what you are not, the more you will know what you really are. Ask yourself if what you are doing or what you are thinking is something you have truly chosen. One way I find my SELF more is through meditation and reading some spiritual books. Only when we truly find the SELF can we have an authentic and fulfilling life.
When you are kinder to yourself, you can be kinder to the world around you and you can share more of yourself with others in a positive way. Maybe your ways of being kinder are different than mine, and in that case, I invite you to watch the video again and get inspired to write your own list of how to be kinder. Please share more ideas in comments below. I would love to read your discoveries.