Habits: what’s (self) love got to do with it? by Shahroo Izadi
Treating ourselves with kindness through self-care and increased awareness of our emotional needs can help us to feel more resilient and give us a greater sense of wellbeing. It also helps to reinforce self-worth and increase self-esteem, as with each act of kindness we remind ourselves that we are worthy of compassion, consideration and forgiveness. We also remind ourselves of how capable we are of introducing new habits into our daily routine, thus enabling us to face new challenges with a ‘I can handle this’ attitude.
From a habit-change perspective, being kinder to ourselves practically gets us to where we want to be more quickly. That’s because, when we deviate from a set plan of change, we waste less time speaking and behaving in a punitive way. Think about what you would tell someone you love if they came to you and said they were struggling to keep up a difficult plan of change but that it was really important for them to get back on track after a minor blip. Presumably you’d encourage them, remind them of how capable they are and do whatever you could to convince them that it’s their choice whether a slight deviation from a plan needs to spiral into a catastrophe. Yet so often when we speak to ourselves the conversation is nowhere near this encouraging compassionate or motivational. We all know how to motivate people to get back on track. Some of us however have had to learn how to apply the same approach to ourselves after years of beating ourselves up internally with cruel self-sabotaging self-defeating inner dialogue.
One thing we can do immediately to start being kinder to ourselves is listening in on the way we speak to ourselves, particularly at times when we don’t feel particularly proud of how we’ve handled something. Whether it’s locking your keys in the car of snapping at your partner, listen in on how you speak to yourself. Do you say things like ‘this is typical, you’ve never been responsible, of course this has happened to you”? or are you the more kind, reasonable and fair cheerleader you’d likely be for someone else? If it transpires to be the former, start challenging that dialogue and gently question whether it’s fair, useful, or indeed even true.
You can see Shahroo Izadi and Natasha Devon at their workshop: Anxiety, Stress and Habit Change on Sunday 26th May. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/IzadiDevon