184: Self-Kindness: How To Overcome Self-Sabotage
Believe it or not, it’s easier to beat ourselves up all the time for not being good enough than to change our inner dialogue and give ourselves some grace. Self-kindness is the antidote to self-sabotage, whether the latter shows up in the form of unrealistic expectations, self-shaming or the comparison trap. The kinder we are with ourselves, the kinder we could show up to other people around us. Can you imagine a world where people are showing up with kindness to themselves and to each other? It’s a wonderful world that Thane Marcus Ringler begs us to envision in this episode.
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Self-Kindness: How To Overcome Self-Sabotage
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Nowadays, we are often told about the importance and benefits of self-aware, but rarely are we ever told what that means? How do we become self-aware? What are the tools we can use to help us? What does the process look like? Is it even attainable? If you are like me, you’ve heard self-awareness thrown around a lot, without the idea ever being clarified or explained. Over the past many years, I’d been on a journey of discovering answers to these very questions. I’d spent much of 2020 putting these tools and processes in place for others to learn alongside me. Through the eight-week course on Thane Marcus Academy, you will learn and practice what it means to grow in self-awareness truly. To help you take the first step, I am offering you a special discount of 20% off by using the code Upandcomer at check out. Head over the Courses.ThaneMarcus.com to begin your journey of growing self-awareness.
I’m excited to be sharing with you simply just me. No one else. It’s going to be me, myself and I sharing few thoughts that I’ve been stewing on, pondering in life, and I hope this is encouraging for you. You get the message and the theme. The theme for this show is Self-kindness. I had the privilege and the blessing of getting to drive up into the mountains and ride down on some white, fluffy stuff on top of a board that my feet are strapped into, snowboarding. I am thrilled to be living in Denver, Colorado, where I get to do that is such a gift.
There’s simply nothing like it. If you haven’t been, it’s hard to describe the ecstasy it brings. It’s a powerful combination of immense beauty, towering landscapes, the glistening bright white, the dampen quiet arena that only snow in nature can bring, and the feeling of flow both literally and figuratively that comes from riding down a mountain in the midst of all of that. It truly leaves me breathless speechless. You get the picture. I’ll move on to the actual point of this story.
I went up to the mountains for a solo trip. It’s always a unique experience when you’re by yourself, especially in settings like that because you get to learn a lot about the way you are wired and how you interact and relate to yourself when it’s just me. During the day on the mountain, I noticed an interesting phenomenon. I found that I naturally began to be harsher on myself than I normally would, whether it be looking a little more sloppy than I wanted to or maybe missing a turn in the trees I had planned on or not hitting the jump as big as I’d hoped, or maybe it was having a dumb fall that left me feeling stupid.
All of these situations led to a self-berating that was worthy of Bob Knight fame. As I began to realize this negative self-talk and unhelpful dialogue, I began to become more curious about its nature. “Why does it show up, especially when I’m by myself? Where does it come from? What’s beneath all of it?” After sitting with myself in these questions, I came to the following conclusion, it feels good to beat ourselves up, and secretly, it makes us feel better.
This sounds bizarre and nonsensical but it is, I believe one of the human defaults that we all struggle within our ways. If we dive down a layer deeper than enjoying the feeling of self-deprecation, we find its unhealthy counterpart beneath it, unrealistic expectations. Often, especially by ourselves, we set unrealistic expectations and goals for ourselves. We think we should be able to do X, Y, or Z. We think that by having such high expectations, we will force ourselves to reach the level we think we should. The keyword in all of this is should.
Should is a shame, riddled word. It’s heaping shame upon ourselves for not living up to all our goals, hopes, or dreams. It’s beating ourselves up for not meeting the expectations we’ve described for ourselves while feeling to realize they were unrealistic in the first place. “I should have been able to do that. I should have known better than that. This shouldn’t be this hard for me. You should be ashamed of yourself for that effort. Anyone in their right mind should be able to…” These are examples that we experience daily. Self-deprecation, unrealistic expectations, and self-shaming are all apart of self-sabotage we often partake in.
It’s been interesting in a marriage having a partner expose this on a much more consistent basis. In marriage, my wife helps me see so often how I fall or slip into this way of thinking, especially when I start communicating it outwardly. This self-talk that’s unhelpful and unhealthy gets mirrored back to me by my wife to where I am that much more aware of how present it is within my daily life. What is the answer? How do we counteract this common human tendency we possess and often participate in? It’s a simple but challenging proposition known by the name, self-kindness.The more we can show kindness to ourselves, the more we can show kindness towards others. Click To Tweet
Believe it or not, self-kindness is one of the more difficult things for us to do as humans. Think about the last time you showed yourself kindness out of the goodness of your heart. It’s probably pretty hard to come up with recent memory and know that doesn’t mean salving your wounds by coping through outlets that bring momentary pleasure but aren’t good for you, which is a common misperception of what self-kindness looks like. It looks much more like changing the way you talk to, think about, and interact with yourself. One of the biggest components of self-kindness revolves around our inner dialogue.
If other people could hear the way we talked about into ourself, I would venture to say that each one of us would be deeply embarrassed by what they would hear. Showing our self-kindness often looks like changing our inner dialogue so that it is encouraging, uplifting, positive, gracious, and empowering. When was the last time you ever experienced one of those with yourself? Let alone, all of them. Practicing self-kindness can look like a lot of things and it comes down to how you feel loved as an individual. Let me share a few of the ways I can improve in practicing and living out of self-kindness to give you a better idea of what that may look like.
The first is being gracious to myself. If I didn’t accomplish everything on my to-do list, and maybe that means simply putting less tasks on that list. It’s something that I often struggle with. Another is knowing that some days, I will be off my A game and that’s a part of the rhythm, ebb, and flow of life. It’s a part of normal human existence. We are humans, not robots. I can show myself kindness in those times. Another is practicing pure observation of myself. Not judging whether my reaction or emotion that I’m experiencing in a particular moment is either good or bad, seeing it simply as it is, and trying to better understand it instead of categorizing and dismiss it. Something that I can use a lot of work in.
Another is, at times, allowing myself to do something I enjoy. Even if it isn’t, “The best use of my time that day.” This is something that’s hard for a three to do as an achiever and I struggle with that even if it’s something I truly enjoy and is life-giving. A final one is recognizing when I’ve set unrealistic expectations of myself and taking some time to adjust those internally. Point given in the example at the start of this episode of snowboarding. A lot of times, when I’m snowboarding, I put unrealistic expectations of what I should be able to do it. Again, keyword there is should on the slopes.
It’s because of those, then I start digressing into self-sabotage versus showing myself self-kindness. For me, it’s recognizing when I’ve set those and then taking time to adjust those. As you can see from this list, a lot of the ways we practice self-kindness revolve around awareness. Being able to recognize the areas where we are self-deprecating or practicing self-sabotage in other ways. Raising our level of awareness always precedes our ability to self-correct the ways we are hindering our health and wellness in life. It always preceded.
The last thing to mention on self-kindness is the relevance of it in our current moment in time. Trauma is a real thing we have all experienced in varying degrees throughout 2020. The pandemic and all that we have gone through has affected every individual in some capacity. Trauma is a fitting descriptor of what we have faced and we would do well to acknowledge that and call it what it is, also known as, awareness by understanding and recognizing that we have been in a prolonged season of trauma. We can then apply extra focus and attention on extending greater amounts of kindness to ourselves.
If there was ever a time for us to practice self-kindness that time is now. Since we aren’t naturally the best givers of kindness, especially to ourselves, what a great training time to grow our kindness muscles. The harder we are on ourselves, often the harder we will be on those around us, which is why the inverse is so powerful. The more we can show kindness to ourselves, the more we can be filled to show kindness towards others. Imagine a world full of kind people extending that kindness to themselves and to others. That’s a world I want to live in and I’m guessing you do too. Let’s start by showing a simple act of kindness to ourselves. Thanks for tuning in. I hope you have an up and coming week.
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