5 Ways to Self-Forgiveness

Why is it so much easier to give grace or even forgiveness to others while we prolong the beating of ourselves? Many of us are more likely to extend grace and patience to those around us far more readily than we allot ourselves. Have you noticed that this is especially true when you’re trying to accomplish a big goal that really only you can control.

When you’re trying to regain control of your life, specifically your health, by not only eating right and exercising properly but also getting enough sleep and staying hydrated while also keeping some kind of grip on life’s other responsibilities, it can get quite overwhelming. To make it worse, sometimes we can get so down on ourselves that we give in to that overwhelm and give up altogether!

Not anymore!

Here are a some simple strategies to keep in mind the next time you’re being way too hard on yourself:

1. Listen in on your Self-talk

We are far too often our own harshest and cruelest critics. I can assure you that little voice inside your head is not right all of the time and sometimes that voice is straight up mean. Listening to that voice as if it’s a separate person will give you the space you need to start talking it down or at least challenging and disputing it.

So when you hear it say not-so-great things, talk back to it. Remind that voice that you are not lazy and you’re working very hard thank-you-very-much. If it tells you that you’re not doing enough, respond back with ‘I’m doing the best I can and every little bit counts.’ Focus on making progress not being perfect.

2. Treat Self Like You Would Your Best Friend or Child

We should always be those who take gentle care of ourselves but even more so when we’re feeling down or not ‘up’ as we would like to be. Take a proverbial ‘chill pill.’ Take a step back and allow yourself rest. Take a hot bath. Meditate and mind the good things. Walk around your neighborhood and listen to the symphony of the birds. Stay present and enjoy the landscape and scenery. Try reading a good book or watch your favorite feel-good movie. Play your favorite song.

If someone you loved was in your shoes and struggling, you’d remind them and encourage them, offering to help in any way you could, wouldn’t you? Why not do the same for the person you see in the mirror? Remind yourself just how strong you are for even taking on the challenge in the first place! Again, celebrate the progress don’t be dispirited over not being perfect. You’re killing it! Be better than yesterday.

3. Reach Out and Touch Someone

If strategy number two above is too difficult for you, context is king; make sure you’ve got a support system on speed dial. If you’re not quite certain regarding how to actually speak nicely to yourself, contact someone who does know how. Truly listen to them. Don’t discount or dismiss this. By being candid, vulnerable in telling them that you’re feeling low, sometimes that honesty in its own right will help you lose the dark cloud you think is hovering over you.

4. Don’t Compare Yourself to Anyone…but You

Teddy Roosevelt said it best: ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. Does it even help anything? It is wholly unhelpful and waste of time to compare your life to anyone else’s. Your life is your own. Your path is for you to travel. No one has ever lived your life but you. News break: You haven’t lived anyone else’s life either(nor do I recommend you do). Just because you’re in similar places in life, or are similar stage in age, health status, or anything else for that matter, doesn’t mean that you should be comparing yourself to any one else.

We tend to be unnecessarily and unjustly hard on ourselves when we take our outside perception of the inner working of another person’s life or experience to be true. This highlights the problem! Our perception is just that – our perception! Perceptions aren’t reality nor are feelings fact. If you actually talked to them about it and compared true fact to our imagined fiction, you may be surprised to see that they’ve got their own struggles. Some you undoubtedly wouldn’t want any part of. The highlight reel that we see, especially through the fake and often superficial social media lens, is rarely even remotely close to the true picture or experience.

5. Stop Being So Critical of Folks

If you are a serial ‘tearer’ down of people, whether it be to their faces or only internally in your own head, you’re constantly reinforcing the same language you’ll turn around and use later to crush or destroy your own feelings. Even if you’re not criticizing your family and friends, throwing all those uselessly critical remarks at complete strangers will have the same impact on you. Whether you’re having a tough day or a trash week or even a gnarly month, I want you to show yourself some extra kindness and compassion today. This has been quite the year but you are still here. Use these tips the next time you’re feeling hard on yourself and allow yourself some space to be human. We all struggle but the fact that you’re here, trying to live a happier, healthier life is worth celebrating. I celebrate you still being here. Join me.

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