Being your own best friend

There are times, especially coming up to my period, I veer off the rails of self care.

In tracking my cycles I see this happens to a large extent whether I like it or not (read more about tracking your cycle here). I indulge in foods that make me feel worse not better, I engage in heated conversations. I look at my loving little checklist of loving little things I can do for myself at any time of day to help myself feel better…. And then I turn away from it, heading for the living room to binge watch Netflix.

Sometimes we just self sabotage.

It’s in the water. We are living in a culture that celebrates it. It’s funny to fail. And you know what? In a weird way, sometimes it gives us comfort. Many of us reside in a place of lack or insecurity, or not enough. So much so that it becomes the feeling that’s most recognizable, therefore most comforting. So self sabotage, or backsliding on our new and healthy habits, feels good…. At least until we feel the not so great side effects of doing the thing we no longer wanted to do because of the not so great side effects it has on us...

And then, we feel the shame.

Why not heap some insult on that injury? Buddhist teachings refer to this as the second arrow:

We do the thing that isn’t good for us = first arrow.

We feel shameful and guilty and hate on ourselves for it = second arrow.

When we’re feeling bad, why make ourselves feel worse?

What a terrible cycle we trap ourselves in. And, I’ve been noticing, this process of shooting the second arrow happens with no one but ourselves. When a friend or loved one tells us about a poor choice they’ve made, we most often default to being supportive and kind, not shaming them. So why on earth do we treat ourselves this way?

Dr. Rick Hanson, writer of the book “Hardwiring Happiness”, explains that we've got this gnarly thing called a negativity bias. Humans are hardwired to be negative - are you surprised? Learn more about this in Dr. Hanson's TEDTalk 

We silly humans tend to put more focus on, and give more weight to, negative interactions. So much so that Dr. Hanson's studies have shown in order to maintain a positive relationship, there must be a ratio of 5:1 in good vs. bad interactions.

That’s FIVE positive interactions for every ONE negative one.

Woah… How many of you are realizing that you’re not nurturing a positive relationship with yourself?!

Me too.

So, here’s the plan moving forward. It’s one of those little things (like every habit I teach) that seems so small and insignificant, yet just might move mountains if we really try it:

Be Your Own Best Friend.

For every negative thing you catch floating around in your head, speak five kindnesses aloud (or on paper) to yourself. Take this little step toward fostering a healthy, non-judgmental relationship with yourself. Imma do it too. And you know what? I’m willing to bet that once we stop being so hard on ourselves for our slip-ups or backslides or upside down days, we’ll be a lot less likely to throw the baby out with the bathwater (a.k.a just give up on those good habits entirely).

I’m not okay with taking 1 step forward, 2 steps back.

But I think I am okay with taking 2 steps forward, 1 step back.

It’s still progress.

What do you do to show yourself it’s all gonna be okay? Leave your comments below!

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