Women are experts in guilt. Now, I know I have a few men reading these newsletters but we are beating you hands down in this area. We are pros.
We are like Olympic Gold medalists in Guilt! Stars of Self Flagellation! Virtuosos of Vilifying Ourselves!
I have a mildly Catholic upbringing so I may be more prone to this than you are. I have a feeling that most of us can resonate with the personal guilt trip though. I hear it all the time.
“I fell off track and now everything is falling apart.”
“I can’t stop eating cookies and watching TV and I’m sick of hearing myself talk about it.”
“I know what I should be doing but I just can’t bring myself to do it.”
These words are usually spoken with slumped posture and a weary voice. It’s like there is a mean person inside them, shaking a finger and looking at them with disapproving eyes. The internal critic is oh so harsh.
So how about we flip the guilt trip on its side? Just get rid of it. Kick it to the curb.
There’s a whole new approach that I’d like to offer you which will bring so much more joy and ease to making good decisions for yourself. It’s a simple one. It’s already in your toolbox but may be seldom used.
Yes, just that. Starting today, I’d like you to try this experiment with me. I’d like you to make all of your choices today from a place of being kind to yourself.
I’d like you to recognize when the self-talk gets ugly. I’d like you to take note of when “I should” or “If only” happens. These types of thoughts can manifest anywhere.
They can be performance related-I should be able to run faster by now, I shouldn’t sweat so much when I’m exercising, I should be more flexible, it should be easier for me to relax during sex, I should be more self confident at work, I should stop playing small, I should speak up more, it looks so easy for everyone else, why can’t I do it?
Emotion related-I’m always so angry, I should be more positive, I should be less negative, why am I always criticizing/judging other people in my head?, why can’t I just be happy?
Body image related-You know, I was going to make a list here but this is every woman’s minefield. I’m sure all of you had at least one not so nice thought about the way you look this morning when you were getting ready. Spoiler alert: You’re beautiful and I love you.
This is the thing. When we are making choices from a bruised place, we can tend to make more choices that just support our less than sparkly, shiny selves. When we make choices based on kindness, we can begin to get a little closer to actual self-care.
So what would be the kindest choice for you to make for yourself today?
This could look like choosing to make time to eat breakfast because it sets you up for a less crazy morning, nourishes you, and balances your emotions.
This could look like allowing yourself to rest in a fitness class (even when everyone else around you isn’t!) because you are tired and you just need to.
This could look like bowing out early or declining an invite out because you are feeling tender and rejuvenating alone feels like the best thing.
It could be putting your laptop down so that you can enjoy a book, taking time to actually cook dinner instead of ordering in, going to bed early instead of mindlessly watching TV, etc.
Just come back to choosing what would be the thing that would make you feel the best. This isn’t necessarily the easiest thing but it’s the most satisfying and the one that will actually make you feel good about yourself. We want to choose self-love and nourishment over quick fixes.
Sometimes the kindest thing to do for yourself will be the easiest thing to do! This will come with practice. Just start today, right now.
Begin with asking-What would be the kindest thing that I could do for myself right now? And honor it.