26 Dec 2018

Socializing with friends and family is one of Jim’s favorite ways of treating himself well.

There are many times during our lives where we can feel overwhelmed, depressed, lonely, and confused. This is part of our life and can be traumatizing or the means to improvement. Reacting to such issues requires we take a good look at ourselves, our desires, our relationships, and how we treat others and ourselves.

In this article I hope to entice the reader, not only to think of ways to respond, but to look at how he or she has cared for their own needs in the past, and see the need for addressing those needs now and the future.

Life serves up lemons at various times and our ability to turn it into lemonade without dwelling in the set back follows the blend of forgiveness and compassion that we would give to a best friend. Not that we can’t be wrong  now and then, the old adage that we should be good to ourselves really does work. Here are some ideas the professionals suggest can assist us during times when we want to kick ourselves.

  • Periodically ask ourselves if we are loved, safe, and strong. This is the time that we need to give ourselves that “blessing” that we are ok. Carve out time for ourselves for that “us time.” We might also want to develop a loving kindness phrase to repeat – a form of mantra that we can practice anytime and anywhere.
  • Take time to work with ourselves to learn a new skill. How about one that aids us when we are so busy making people wrong in our minds that we do not hear what they (or even what we are thinking) are saying. That effort to assist ourselves to be a bit less judgmental up front will drop that filter and we will be a better listener, friend, and have better relationships. This plays out internally when we make ourselves wrong through self-doubt and internal criticism; hence our self-image and esteem can be damaged.
  • Begin to write down those internal critiques we do on ourselves. This can be a positive thing to recognize those “difficult” spots where we can listen and make better choices, and hence achieve better outcomes for ourselves.
  • Make a commitment to better understand why we eat what we do and evaluate how a better diet can become part of our routine. Here is one of those areas that talking with a “neutral” third party can be very helpful. The same with exercise. Stay active and consider joining a gym for the incentive benefits, and also the social atmosphere.
  • Embrace our friends. Social outlets are critical. We have all heard it and it is the truth; if a job is our only social outlet, this is not good. Do not forget the spiritual if such importance falls into this realm. Develop and nourish hobbies outside work or that little click of one or two function alliances. Consider a volunteer position. We will improve our feeling of accomplishment and a greater appreciation of our self-worth.
  • Be cautious with habits that can be detrimental. This certainly can include drugs and alcohol. Be honest with yourself, and if a problem, professional help should be sought.
  • Don’t forget to stimulate our mind. An active and searching mind opens us up to new abilities and experiences, whether through reading, stimulating meetings, a new technique or skill (language, music, games, and travel, etc.).
  • Be aware of those times that we were doing something we knew we really didn’t want to do. If stuck in the “cannot say no” rut, talk it out with a trusted friend or family member. Request they simply listen, and then together you can discuss it.
  • If it is a small habit we are trying to break – again, talking to friends can be helpful to internalize the need for possible change. If a big problem, we should seek professional help. It can be scary to leave the familiar about ourselves, but change can also be thrilling and it can be accompanied by a sense of relief.
  • Do not hesitate to forgive and respect ourselves, and to practice compassion. We may have done that “thing” that we are not proud of, be dominated by a bully, or failed to follow through on a goal; however, the world did not stop, so show a bit of kindness to ourselves and lay off the blaming or threatening.
  • Treat and sooth ourselves, while reminding ourselves of the top qualities we possess, and how we willingly share them with others.
  • If we have a problem with always needing to be perfect (not possible anyway), we need to practice telling ourselves that “we are good, worthy, and enough.” This goes with our prior ideas as to treating ourselves well, recognizing our good traits and actions, and respecting ourselves. While not always perfect, we can be at our best by having faith and belief in ourselves and allowing us to be fully who we are.
  • Take the time to smell the roses!

I have read many times that there are four dimensions to our health and as a satisfactory condition of our existence. These include the physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of our lives. If one of these dimensions falters significantly, we need to recognize that.  Then, as a big favor to ourselves, take steps to nourish that dimension of ourselves back to good health.