I end most of my sessions asking clients what they can do to be extra kind to themselves in the coming week.
I ask myself the question, too.
Anytime I’m facing anything that feels tough, what I might do to be a bit kinder to myself?
It’s been revolutionary in helping me transform my life more gently rather than my old tactic of attempting to bully myself into changes.
And it’s an ongoing practice.
My morning Metta – Loving Kindness – meditation definitely helps.
My daily EFT also helps. Between the initial set up statement of acceptance exactly as things are, the self-empathy of voicing whatever’s not feeling great and the actual tapping on acupressure points to release the blocked energy, it never ceases to surprise me.
And then, when there are situations in life where I wish I could be kinder, more patient, more understanding, more present, I sometimes have to simply acknowledge to myself that in this instant, it’s showing me an area in my life where I need to hold a boundary.
I don’t think anyone goes through life thinking they want to be UNKIND.
We’re all doing the best we can.
But we’re living in such judgmental times, recognising that we can’t always be the person who’s there for the person in need, that we might need to distance ourselves from someone, even for a short while, can bring on a lot of guilt and shame.
And yet, we simply can’t be there for people without being there for ourselves.
Self care so often sounds like a cliche around bubble baths but so much of it is around healthy boundaries.
Often, the people who get under our skin and trigger feelings of guilt and being mean for setting limits are exactly the people we need to be setting those limits around.
If we’re able to notice what potentially unkind impulses are telling us, we can learn from them.
For example, noticing, ‘WOW. I felt really impatient with ____ then. I need ____ and then I’ll be able to talk to _____ with more compassion and it’s OK for me to need ____’ is more likely to have you feeling energised and wholehearted enough to BE there for _____ far sooner than if we ignore the ickiness that’s so common when boundaries need reaffirming.
Next time your heart sinks a little (or a lot) as the prospect of being kind to someone, give yourself a mental hug.
Remind yourself that it’s OK to not be a saint. We’re all human.
Bring that mindful awareness to the situation, with as much curiosity and compassion as you can manage.
What do YOU need right now?
What do you WANT right now?
How can you express your needs and wants – from a place of love – to whoever needs to hear it?
If they are unable to hear it, how might you give yourself permission to be OK with them not liking you / being upset?
As Michelle Obama told Oprah in another glorious interview, ‘Not everybody likes me, though. Some people think I’m the devil incarnate.’
When we own our whole selves and take responsibility for our own energy, we’re better able to manage it.
Is there someone in your life who you’re struggling with right now?
Someone who wants more than feels good for you to give?
How does it feel to mentally let yourself off whatever hook you’ve put yourself on and instead, honour that you need a little space right now?
Something that often helps me is to include those people in my morning Metta (and to repeat the Metta practice every time that person pops into my head, not just in the morning).
May they be happy and healthy, peaceful and at ease.
May they be able to take care of themselves joyfully.
May they possess the courage, wisdom, patience and determination to manage life’s challenges.
Even typing the Loving Kindness meditation helps me exhale more deeply and feel better about my own humanity and limitations.
Instead of buying into the helpless, hopeless narrative, imagining the person (or group of people) doing well helps me get less hooked into whatever unconscious dynamics might be at play.
Metta comes from the Buddhist tradition and it may not resonate with you.
Whatever you believe in, there may be a prayer or mantra that helps you connect with the person’s Highest Self as you take a step back to look after YOUR self.
I hope these tools help you remember that your energy and your feelings are – like everything else – information.
Remembering that it’s simply data and it doesn’t make us a terrible person for feeling like we need space from ___ but that we’re actually more likely to be able to BE there for them (and for ourselves and other important people in our lives) when we hold those healthy boundaries.
Crystals can help, too. You might hold the intention to choose a stone to support you in being able to hold those healthy boundaries, to speak your truth with compassion, love and clarity, to stand your ground.
And yoga can help, too, grounding and connecting with that nourishing earth energy.
I hope you find the be your own self care coach tools throughout the site helpful and, of course, if you’d like to find out more about working with me and my approach appeals, you can get in touch to book a free telephone consultation.