September 14, 2013

How to Get Back to Being Good to Yourself. ~ Cynthia Kane

There are times when I stop doing the things I love to do.

Some days I wake up in the morning and don’t feel like buying good for me food, doing yoga, meditating, or the like.

Other times I get home from a long day and instead of doing the things I want to, like going to a play or a dance performance, seeing a movie, or meeting up with friends, I opt for a relatively healthy meal and then a date with the couch. No matter which scenario our lives fall in to, at some point, we need to reboot.

And one part of the equation that almost always amounts to true is that we all have to burn out or fall off our ritual wagons so we can get back on with new energy, intention, and motivation. The hard part isn’t falling off, but, yep, you guessed it, getting back on. The following is what I do to get back on track.

Say Goodbye To Guilt

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to feel good. So much so that we sometimes think we should feel good all the time, which is why when we aren’t feeling good or no longer doing the things we know make us feel good, we get down and annoyed. If I wake up and don’t do yoga or if I don’t meditate for ten minutes, or if I simply stop doing all the things that make me happy, because I just don’t feel like it, I start feeling dejected. The unhappy feelings then turn into negative self-talk, and pretty soon I spiral farther down the rabbit hole.

Experienced something similar? Well, the first thing to do is accept that in this moment what may be the best thing for us is to sleep for ten hours, or to relax in front of the television and watch an entire season of The Wire.

Letting ourselves be as we are when we’re feeling good is easy, but it’s at these more difficult times that it’s most important. To accept ourselves means we have to accept the things about ourselves that we don’t like, to observe ourselves without evaluation or judgment.

I find it helpful to say to myself, My body needs this right now, it is fine for me to be doing nothing right now. I need this. I have more than enough time to complete all that I need to. I just need to rest right now. I am giving my body what it needs today.

Another way through the feeling is to breathe into it and then exhale it out of the body. Keep on until you’ve exhaled all of the fear, self-doubt, and anxiety out of your system. Once the feeling is gone, replace the dark area with an image of something that makes you light up inside. For me, I see myself standing on a beach watching the waves.

Say Hello To Responsibility

After we’ve been able to say goodbye to guilt and let ourselves off the hook for feeling what we feel, the next step is to remember that we are responsible for how our life plays out. We are in control of ourselves, which means we can do and be as much or as little as we’d like. And it is our responsibility to take care of ourselves, nobody else’s.

There have been times where I’ve fallen off and all I want is for somebody else to take care of me, to nurture me, to make me laugh and feel good. I know that not only is it not another person’s responsibility to make me feel good, but that no matter how much I receive from someone else, if I don’t treat myself in the way I want to be treated another person’s actions don’t matter.

To feel capable again, I look to things I’ve never done before that I’ve always wanted to try. I get out and start moving my body. Sign up for a class, maybe writing, painting, or pottery. In the morning, I ask myself what I’m going to do today that I’ve never done before, maybe it’s walking by a swing set and hopping on, or it’s passing by a store multiple times and finally going in.

If I can walk through a door I’ve never walked through, I know I’m well on my way to feeling deserving of good things. At night, I remind myself that I am responsible for my own happiness and I start thinking about what it is that makes me happy. What am I doing when I feel at my best? Where am I when I feel most relaxed?

Update what makes us feel good

Now it’s time to brainstorm what makes us feel good. We may think we can carry this over from before, but sometimes the reason we fall off the feel good wagon may be because we need to update and readjust.

Maybe before what made us feel good was feeling sexy and adventurous, but now, what lights us up inside is feeling calm and creative. Before taking a walk in the park may have felt super, but now it doesn’t ignite the same amount of pleasure. Because we are constantly growing and changing it’s possible to grow out of a want, need or desire.

To figure out what lights me up inside, I first dwell on the emotion I want to feel. I know when I write it down if it sparks something inside of me because I have a physical reaction to it. When I say I want to feel inspired and alive, it’s hard not to smile at the feeling.

After I’ve written out the feelings I want to feel, then next to it, I write where in my life I feel these feelings already or what I’ve experienced at some point that’s made me feel this way, or what could make me feel this way.

Pretty soon I might see that I feel most alive when I travel, or meet up with friends. Or I feel at peace when I’m sitting on the couch reading a book, or sipping a cup of tea. And once I’ve tapped in to the feel good emotions again, I want to dive in and seek them out. The more I think about how I want to feel, the easier it is to begin again.

We all need to take time outs to reassess the basics every once and a while, to make sure the foundation is strong so that we can continue to grow. When we get off track it’s nice to have techniques on hand to help get us back to being good to ourselves sooner than later.

Have more techniques to share? Please post them below!

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Assistant Ed: Judith Andersson / Ed: Bryonie Wise

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