Are you too hard on yourself?
One of my clients has been working with me for nearly 9 months now, and she has made amazing progress with changing her beliefs about herself and her outlook on life. Recently however, she felt like she’d lost her way with it.
She was feeling overwhelmed, like she wasn’t doing enough, or not making enough progress, and not feeling fully engaged with her daily mindset work.
She often thought: “I’m not doing it right”, or, “I’m not making enough progress.”
Knowing her very well by this point, what occurred to me was that the problem she was facing with her personal growth was exactly the same problem she was facing in the other areas of her life and business too:
Her unwillingness to just accept things the way they are.
And more specifically, her unwillingness to accept her emotions as they are.
For example, every time she got upset about something going on in her life, she would judge herself for not making enough progress, then judge herself more for being upset and judgemental.
She didn’t give herself permission to not be where she wanted to be.
And she didn't get herself permission to just be upset, either.
She was hard on herself about her life, and hard on herself for the way she was judging herself about her life.
Her fear about going easy on herself instead was that she was worried she wouldn’t be motivated to change, and that she’d end up settling for what she didn’t really want.
Another of my clients said exactly the same thing:
'I'm worried I just won't be motivated anymore if I'm not hard on myself!'
Well in my opinion, trying to coerce ourselves into changing by cracking a mental whip every time we do something we don't like, doesn't make for a pleasant experience of life. And it's not the most successful, either.
But there is another way.
Another way that's more pleasant, peaceful, AND: more effective.
That way is by being accepting and kind to ourselves.
Because paradoxically, our refusal to accept things as they are is what has them stay the same.
In Physics, Newton's third law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
So the more one pushes against something, the more it pushes back.
In life, the more we push hard at something to get it to go away, the more it pushes back at us and stays.
Same with our circumstances; same with our emotions.
It’s usually our resistance to our unpleasant emotions that causes more distress, more-so than the unpleasant emotion itself.
Instead, if we simply allow ourselves to feel whatever we feel, the unpleasant emotion will go away a lot quicker and easier.
You can’t fight fire with fire, and you cannot fight off being upset by being upset about being upset.
You also can't criticise your way into new levels of success.
So what if whatever you’re feeling, no matter how uncomfortable it is, is just simply OK?
What if you just simply met your emotions with acceptance instead of resistance, and curiosity instead of judgement?
What if no matter where you're currently at in your business and life, is simply OK?
By being easier on yourself, not only will the emotion be able to pass quicker and easier, it will also open up the space for self-awareness - which is the key to you being able to make the relevant change.
But you can't do that if you're too busy being hard on yourself.