By Tracy McMicking
As a recovering perfectionist it has come into my consciousness that kindness, although something I was taught was the right thing to extend to other people, was not something I either regularly or easily extended to myself. As a perfectionist I continuously found fault with myself and my efforts. It seemed that no matter what I did or how well I did it there was always room for improvement. Good was never good enough. That is an exhausting and emotionally expensive way to live. The burden I put on myself to be better, better, better left me feeling constantly defeated and bitter, bitter, bitter.
I know I am not alone in my struggle with that mindset. I have come to experience with clients, friends, family members and even strangers on the street that we are harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else. We talk to ourselves, belittle ourselves and bully ourselves in a way that we would never do to others.
You know the voice.
That bullying behaviour comes from the voice in our heads (also called negative self talk, our gremlin, ego etc). The voice with the running dialogue about what we are doing wrong, the one that monitors and critiques our every move. In my mind it can sound like… what were you thinking when you bought those pants….you didn’t really just say that did you….who do you think you are writing this article….if only you had done this, done that, said this, said that, then maybe you wouldn’t be such a fool. You know the voice. We all have one.
Well here is a radical idea. What if you decided the voice in your head wasn’t worth listening to anymore? What if you decided it was just that, a rambling voice of old fears, lost concerns, outdated mantra’s from generations gone by (yes you get to blame your parents, teachers, coaches, the media etc, anyone who ever said anything that made you feel small that you have now internalized as your truth) that you do not have to believe or give any
credence to? What would that be like?
In my own experience and from what my clients describe, it is like a little slice of heaven. It is like release from prison, like relaxing into a soft pillow, like leaning into trusting yourself, your true self instead of a relentless voice that is never ever going to give you the credit you deserve for being the perfect being that you are.
Kindness is the key to separating yourself from this voice and beginning to create the meaningful and lasting changes you desire – in your body, your work, within your family, your friendships and most importantly in your relationship to yourself.
I said this would be radical.
Try a small act of kindness with yourself every day starting right now. Give yourself permission to acknowledge that voice in your head, extend it some kindness and some compassion for wanting so badly to protect you from harm/embarrassment etc. Let the voice know you are okay on your own, you can be trusted to make your own decisions and successfully run your life. Then notice how it feels to be separated from it, for even just a moment. I said this would be radical.
This simple act can be the beginning of transforming your life from one of struggle to one of joy. It can be the beginning of moving past what is holding you back from everything you want and the start of believing your true self instead of the voice. Change is possible and it begins with kindness. Enjoy!!
Contributing Member: Tracy McMicking, CPCC
Tracy is a Certified Life and Wellness Coach with ten years’ experience supporting busy professionals to live more balanced lives while becoming more productive. She specializes in assisting you to harness your personal power by connecting to your unique Passions, Sense of Purpose and to increase your experiences of Peace. To explore coaching with Tracy visit her website.
**Please credit the author with any use of or excerpt from this article in any form.