Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Being Kind to Yourself

As January comes to an end, if you’re like me, the enthusiasm and determination you had when you made your New Year’s resolutions may have dimmed a bit, now that you’ve returned to the harsh reality of your too often overscheduled, hectic, day to day life and once you’ve once again remembered the sad truth that bad habits are hard to break and healthy habits are hard to make.

As you take time out to reflect on the resolutions that you may have already broken, I’d like to suggest you add one more to the list of those you truly want to keep. Let’s all resolve to be kind to ourselves. As children we learned the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” The truth is most of us are much kinder to other people, even strangers, than we are to ourselves.

When was the last time you said to someone, other than your own reflection, “Your butt looks HUGE in those pants” or asked someone who’s made a mistake “How could you be so stupid?”?

I propose we develop a Platinum Rule: Be as kind to yourself as you are to others.

The next time we look in the mirror and feel critical of our reflections, let’s change the way we see, not the way we look.

Let’s celebrate our victories and learn from our mistakes without judgment.

Think about how a child learns to walk. She stands and falls. Stands again. Takes one step and falls. It certainly doesn’t look like she’s berating herself. “How could I be so clumsy?” or blaming others “Hey, this floor is crooked.” She just adjusts her technique and tries again.

As most parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have noted, there is considerable wisdom found in our children. They have an innate understanding that growth and learning only happens when they are willing to take risks. And yes, there is a learning curve and they will make mistakes and they will fall and maybe even get bruised, but that doesn’t stop them.

They merely pick themselves up when they fall or, when they don’t get their own coat on right the first time, they admonish their well intended parent who only wants to help with: “ME DO.”

Children make mistakes as they learn to walk, put on their own coats, tie their own shoes and feed themselves.  They make mistakes because they're human.  Now here's the big surprise.  You may want to sit down for this startling revelation:  we're human too and yes, we will make mistakes. If you're like me, you'll make lots of them.

And so, at the start of this New Year (I suppose this is really more the start-ish of the New Year rather than the actual start) I’m proposing each of us vows right now to adopt the Platinum Rule. I’m proposing each of us right now resolves to be kinder and more forgiving of ourselves and our mis-steps.

What do ya say? Are you with me