Jamie, our Social Prescriber, writes this week's blog:
This week is Mental Health Awareness week and the theme is Kindness
Throughout the city there are random acts of kindness happening wherever you look giving an an amazing feeling of togetherness. The other side of kindness is being kind to ourselves.
I think a lot of us may forget this sometimes with the hustle and bustle of life. Lori Deschene founder of the Tiny Buddha online community said:
“We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.”
This resonated with me, as I feel that sometimes we are way too hard on ourselves and can easily compare ourselves to other people, other family members, and friends, those we work with, other individuals, instead of simply being happy with who we are.
It does not matter how many times someone praises us on how amazing or lovable you are, negative thoughts can invade our minds to make us doubt it all. We are by far our worse critics.
There are many reasons we do this to ourselves, learnt behaviour, nurtured behaviour, the constant pressure to “fit in" throughout our culture. Failed jobs, failed relationships or even just a feeling we do not belong etc.
We easily seem to totally forget all the wonderful, unique things that make us who we are. We allow our inner critic take over the brain and destroy any self-belief we may have and because of this we start too loath ourselves.
For me personally I spent years of my life time looking for the proof that indeed I am a nobody, that I don’t deserve to be loved, or that I have failed and have wasted my potential, simply because I thought that I should stack up to those around me.
Over the years I have looked at ways to tackle these self-depreciating thoughts before they take hold and spiral me out of control. I will admit that on rare occasions these thoughts creep back in but I have a great wellbeing toolbox I have spent years building so can silence these thoughts a lot easier.
Some of the things that help, and I try and focus on, come from the Far Easter Teachings.
The people you compare yourself are not really perfect.
We all compare ourselves to other people, but we focus on what we believe are the perfect qualities of those we compare ourselves with.
This in turn never allows us to see the whole picture and gives us an unattainable goal of perfection and in turn these people are comparing themselves to others.
They could even be comparing themselves to you and seeing your perfections.
We need to keep in mind that we are beautifully imperfect human beings going through the same universal challenges as those around us no one is perfect.
Your mind can be a very convincing liar.
'Don’t believe everything you think.'
Face the truth our minds lie to us. It can be cruel and selective in what it tells us.
Thoughts are just thoughts, and it’s unhealthy and exhausting to give so much power to the negative ones.
There is more right with you than wrong with you.
Jon Kabat-Zinn said: “Until you stop breathing, there’s more right with you than wrong with you.”
Just remember when you focus on all your so called flaws, that there are lots of good things to like about yourself.
You need love the most when you feel you deserve it the least.
Now this is one of the most difficult things to do for many of us. If you are like me then you will find it difficult to accept love and understanding from others at the best of times.
When your mental state is self-loathing, hate, confusion maybe even angry state, the last thing we want is someone loving us. If you truly think about it, love is the one thing we do truly need in these times, but what we do is try and drive it away.
Focus on progress rather than perfection and on how far you’ve come rather than on how far you have left to go.
One of the biggest causes of self-loathing is the hell-bent need to 'get it right.' We strive for perfection and success, and when we fall short, we feel less than and worthless.
What we don’t seem to realize is that striving for success and being willing to put ourselves out there is an accomplishment within itself, regardless of how many times we fail.
Instead of berating yourself for messing up and stumbling backward, give yourself a pat on the back for trying, making progress, and coming as far as you have.
You can’t hate your way into loving yourself.
Telling yourself what a failure you are won’t make you any more successful.
Telling yourself you’re not living up to your full potential won’t help you reach a higher potential.
Telling yourself you’re worthless and unlovable won’t make you feel any more worthy or lovable.
Simply accepting that you are enough just as you are.
Accept people will love you just for being you.
Accept that you deserve to be loved.
And love will be a little bit easier every time you remind yourself of that.
And more than anything take some of the kindness you show to others and show it to yourself.
For more information about wellbeing and being kind to yourself email Staywell Derby.