I previously wrote within a post that one way to love everyone and everything around you is to be gentle. Even if you don’t especially like someone or a situation, if you approach it gently, then you are more likely to have a better experience.
What I’ve found tho is that we tend to be particularly hard on ourselves for some reason. I’m not a psychologist so I don’t know the academic reason why our thoughts and inner voice tends to be harsh and unforgiving sometimes, but I do know that it can take a regular situation and make it a negative one. In fact, that inside voice can actually ruin what could have been a wonderful experience.
For example if I am learning a new skill with my hobby I may not get it right the first 5 or 10 times, and at that moment I have a choice: I can beat myself up, call myself an idiot or stupid, which would lead to a negative experience as I try to learn something new… OR, I could be gentle with myself. I could tell myself encouraging things, remind myself that any new skill takes time to learn, and that would lead to a positive fun experience.
But let’s say I discovered a made a mistake with a project. I’m once again at the moment where I can choose to beat myself up, or be gentle with myself. One way to be gentle with myself it’s a project that I’m working on is to NOT go back and correct the error; instead choose to be gentle with myself, embrace the process of learning and doing, and keep moving forward.
I’ve seen people beat themselves up because they let the dirty laundry build up, saying negative things like “why do I always do this, I can’t get my life together, why am I such a loser”? That’s a LOT of negativity over something that is easily resolved. What if that person were to turn it around and say “wow, I’m working on the laundry finally! This is going to be fantastic when I get it all done”!
We do the best we can.
I am convinced that humans are hard-wired to do the best that they can. When we seem to fall short on something we are doing, it is very powerful to give ourselves some breathing room and tell ourselves that we did the best we could.
We will do better when we know better
This is the key to being gentle with ourselves. If we give ourselves breathing room and remember that we are doing the best that we can, then we have the right state of mind to learn to do better. If we are harsh with ourselves we are doomed to make the same mistakes over and over.
What if we were gentle with ourselves?
If you make a mistake or fall short, you are not a loser or stupid or any of the many things we have been taught to think about ourselves. When you start to think harsh words about yourself it is in that moment that you can stop, give yourself a break, give yourself some breathing room, and tell yourself something different! If you turn that train around and get it going in a more positive direction you’ll be amazed how much better your days will be.