I talk a lot about taking responsibility for your life. I often tell the story from my own life about finding myself on the other side of two back-to-back really bad relationships, blaming everyone else in my life for how shitty I was feeling and deciding I’d had enough of all that. After picking myself up off the floor one day I decided to take responsibility for what I’d tolerated, what I’d attracted, what I didn’t know in terms of what a healthy relationship looked like, and what I wanted out of life.
I started to do the hard work and everything changed.
What I also talk a lot about it managing your negative self-talk. The inner-voice we all have that tells us we aren’t good enough.
If you’ve ever been in that place I mentioned above, the place where you take radical responsibility for your life, you might encounter a side-effect: Massively harsh self-talk. It might sound like this:
I can’t believe I allowed that kind of relationship.
I was so stupid to behave like that.
Only an idiot would do that.
I’m so ashamed of myself.
And on and on. Right?
So, you’re trying to better yourself and by doing so, it’s necessary to shine the light on all the bullshit and messes you might have made. And at the same time I’m over here telling you all day and all night to do it with self-compassion. And you might be thinking, how the fuck do I do that?!?
Never fear, I have some answers, ass kicker.
First things first, it’s going to happen. It’s normal once you really start taking inventory of what’s up and what you want to change for you to look at your life with the stink-eye. If you look at your life or your former life and think, “Hmm…it’s really not that bad!” then either you’re still in denial and aren’t ready for self-help or it really isn’t that bad and you don’t need self-help. So, you’re just like the rest of us if you see it all and gasp. It’s going to be okay, I promise!
Second, this happens to everyone and everyone feels the same way. Embarrassed, full or regret, guilty, ashamed, judgmental, disappointed, all the hard emotions in one big ‘ol pile of shit. Again, it’s part of the process.
Third, practicing self-compassion is a learned process, don’t expect to get it right on the first day. Some people ask me, “but when I talk to myself kindly it feels weird and not genuine.” When you had your first two weeks in Spanish class learning “Me llamo Estacia y me gusta los tocadiscos” did you feel fluent? Did you feel like you could fly down to Guadalajara, Mexico and blend into the natives? I didn’t think so. Learning to speak in a self-compassionate manner is the same. It takes time and practice and more time and more practice to not only do it consistently with less effort, but to make it feel more genuine. You have to start somewhere.
Fourth, watch where you start to dislike or hate that part of you. When you start to look at the parts of you that you want to improve, or that you never want to go back to, it’s easy to sort of “disown” that part of you. I did this too. In fact, once I realized it, I wrote a letter to myself apologizing to my former self. Remember, you’d never have gotten to where you are now without being that former person. You had to go through those hard time and made all those mistakes to get here– being that person who’s improving herself. I know the success I have both personally and professionally was reliant on all the mistakes I made in the past. Yours will too.