We may be more independent than previous generations, but that doesn’t mean we don’t feel down from time to time. If we’re generally happy and confident people (and we should be), we’re our own cheerleaders every day of the week. However, sometimes we’re our own worst enemies, full of self-defeating and unrealistic thoughts. Here’s how to be more compassionate toward yourself, no matter what challenge you’re facing:
Talk to yourself like your BFF would.
It’s funny that we’re super sweet and supportive of our closest friends but can’t extend the same courtesy to ourselves. We tell them to not be hard on themselves after a bad breakup, but when we get dumped, we basically withdraw from the world around us. It’s easy to be mean to ourselves and so much harder to be compassionate. Basically, you need to take your own advice. Listen to the words you’re saying to other people.
Celebrate where you’ve come from and where you’re going.
You’re the one who knows your achievements inside and out, no matter how big or small. You know you’re managing your depression on a daily basis or that you finally landed that job you’ve been searching for. Wallowing in the past a little bit is more helpful than you might think. It reminds you of your struggles and heartbreak and tears and helps you see that your present is so much better than anything you’ve been through before (and that your future looks even brighter).
Get sweaty (for real this time).
Your New Year’s resolutions for the past few years? Join the gym, of course. You keep swearing you’ve going to finally go to that Saturday morning yoga class and your best friend is obsessed with her barre studio. Your fit friends can get super annoying sometimes but sorry to break it to you, they’re on to something. Once you commit to working out regularly and caring about what you put into your body (more kale, less onion rings), you’ll be surprised at how quickly you start loving yourself. Cheesy, yet true.
Hang out with your mom.
She may be your best friend or you might just be on generally good terms. Either way, your mom is a super important woman in your life — she raised you, after all, and she remembers everything (even when you wish she didn’t – sigh). Meeting your mom for brunch or dinner will restore your faith in humanity and yourself. She’ll pull you out of whatever rut you’re in and make you feel much better. Plus, as a bonus, there’s nothing like motherly advice to make you think you can conquer the world once again.
Don’t go it alone.
It’s tempting to think that no one would ever understand what you’re going through, so you should suck it up and be a grown-up. Yet we all go through the same crap and we all feel the same way at one point or another. Your friends want to be there for you, so don’t rob them of the chance of a good old-fashioned ranting session. They’ll end up sharing their own feelings and it’ll be like a group therapy session (and if wine is involved, even better).
If it makes you feel bad, don’t do it.
We often feel like we need permission to stop being friends with a toxic person or to pursue a passion or dream. Not true. Free yourself from worrying what others might think and actually go after what brings you joy on a regular basis. That’s really the nicest thing you can do for yourself.
Forget the pampering.
Magazines love to tell us that all we need to do to feel better is some “me time” with a bubble bath and new beauty products, but I actually think that would make you feel worse. You don’t need new lipstick or a new dress to feel good about yourself. Using those things will only make you think you need to look a certain way to be worthy, and that’s self-destructive. Of course you need downtime when you’re going through a rough time (or even when you’re just crazed at work). Curl up with a good book instead – way better than a makeover.
Surround yourself with strong women.
It’s easy to act like a total wallflower when everyone around you is scared of their own shadow. If you make an effort to seek out the strong women you know, their confidence and self-compassion will inspire you to feel the same way.
Give yourself a break.
And really do it this time. So what if you’re still hung up on the last guy that ghosted you or didn’t want a real relationship? That’s okay. So what if you’re not at your dream job just yet? Your friends probably aren’t either. There’s something to be said for having stuff to look forward to so don’t feel bad if you haven’t achieved everything yet.
Learn your family history.
The “Parents” episode of the clever and funny new Netflix show Masters of None is all about seeing your ‘rents as real people who struggled to make sure your life would be good. Learning your own history is pretty useful. You’ll not only appreciate your fam more but realize that no one’s journey is perfect and there’s always better things up ahead. So keep at it – it really will get better.
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