Monday, January 04, 2016

Practice being kind to yourself in small, concrete ways

It’s human nature to be self critical. 

Doing so taps into the threat defense system. Every time we attack ourselves, the fight or flight response triggers the release of stress hormones, the very chemicals that evolved to help our species survive. 

To paraphrase the great playwright, above all things, criticize thyself. 

But although it’s a useful arrow in our motivational quiver, there comes a point where chastising ourselves works in reverse. It actually begins to sabotage our own happiness. 

The more time I spend with fellow artists, the more I’m reminded just how mean and dismissive and critical and judgmental we can be of ourselves. It’s like a superpower. In fact, if people talked to others the way they talked to themselves, nobody would have any friends. 

And yet, we assume that’s what we need to succeed. We believe that if we just beat ourselves up enough, we’ll actually change for the better. But it’s not. Hating ourselves does not make us interesting. And there is no proof that self induced hardship brings us closer to what we want. 

One of the things I’ve been practicing is being kind to myself in small, concrete ways. I allow myself to have a budget for that which delights me. I give myself permission to wake up on a workday without an alarm. I reward myself for a job well done with a delicious treat. 

Each of these micro acts of compassion makes me feel safe, supported, secure and satisfied. They’re not expensive or time consuming or guilt inducing. They’re just kind. 

Remember, loving yourself is not an indulgence. 

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com


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