Time to reflect, time to heal
As we approach the conclusion of another year, it’s a great opportunity to reflect. As a life coach and lover of understanding myself, I do this often. But there is something special about this time of the year. It’s the perfect time to really dig deep, to ponder the areas where we feel stuck, think about habits we wish to release, and contemplate the things that no longer serve us. It’s the perfect time to heal.
I am convinced that there are two necessary processes we must go through in order to heal. First, we must change the way we think about ourselves, and second, we must look at our supposed negative habitual behaviors with kindness and compassion.
The first major thing to consider when trying to heal yourself is that it is extremely difficult to make lasting changes if you don’t stop the negative self-talk.
You’ll never be able to hate yourself skinny, doubt yourself into trying new things, or be angry enough to get healthy.
We must love ourselves, encourage ourselves, and believe in ourselves in order to feel better. It is only then that we can move forward and evolve from a positive place.
Many people think if they resist their issues just the right amount, they will find motivation to change. They set the intention to eat healthier, exercise five days a week, quit smoking, date more, be kinder to loved ones…insert your goal here. After a week or two, they completely give up because they think they have already failed, they lose interest, or they just plain forget.
This is the perfect ammunition to feel worse than when you started because once again you’ve tried and failed. Like many other things in life, it is very easy to turn what started out as a good intention into another reason to beat yourself up. Sound familiar? You aren’t alone.
Next time you decide to embark on a quest for positive action, try this: fuel yourself with good thoughts and feelings. Lasting motivation comes from feeling good, and feeling good comes from thoughts that serve you in a positive way.
Hating yourself will never help you in the long term.
Another place people also frequently get stuck is in disdain for those habits we label as bad. What most folks don’t realize is that those issues we view as problems or weaknesses actually do serve us in ways in which we may not always completely understand. Until we can find understanding, appreciation, and acceptance of these habits, it’s extremely difficult to let them go. This is why contemplating where our habits come from, and looking for the good, can be a very eye-opening experience.
I used to suffer from anxiety while driving on expressways. It wasn’t until I stopped fighting it (hating it and trying to overcome it with breathing exercises, listening to relaxing music, etc.), that it seemed to disappear into thin air. One day I realized I had developed this anxiety because I was afraid of being hurt by dangerous drivers, and the possibility of hurting others as well. I was just trying to protect myself and the people around me…how nice is that?! Once I realized this, I was able to accept it and even like it a little. And then, poof, I was ready to let it go with complete ease.
Maybe your fear of social situations is just you trying to avoid feeling uncomfortable. Your lack of drive to look for a new job could possibly be you trying to protect yourself from potential rejection. Maybe you don’t date for that same reason too, and your resistance to exercise is your way of avoiding negative comparison to others. Your habit of snapping at those you love could be your way of keeping people at a distance so they can’t hurt you. Maybe overeating and shopping allow you to numb out so you can avoid thinking about the things in your life you find unsettling.
Just because you have been a certain way for a long time doesn’t mean you have to be that way forever.
When we change our perspective and understand how we regularly develop patterns in order to comfort ourselves, it often loosens the grip and gives us wiggle room for positive growth. The reality is, we are all just trying to take care of ourselves, although sometimes we have a funny way of doing so. Once you understand that we are all works in progress and evolving regularly, you give yourself the space to grow.
Every day is a new opportunity for change. Every day is a new opportunity to love yourself a little more. Every day is a new opportunity to accept yourself as you are, no matter what. Every day is a new opportunity to reflect and contemplate the things you want to work on. Every day is a new opportunity to work on those things, and to be okay with sometimes slipping up. Every day is a new opportunity to realize perfection is an illusion, and you are perfectly imperfect. Every day is a new opportunity to know you are doing the best you can, and that is good enough.