Our nasty story
In her book Rising Strong, Brene Brown calls it our ‘shitty first draft’.
It’s the nasty story we tell ourselves, for instance, when we see a mountain of dirty clothes we’ve been ignoring.
It’s our victimy version of events when someone beeps us for slowing at a green light in traffic.
It’s often raw and totally judgemental:
“I’m disgusting – why haven’t I tackled the laundry yet this week?”
“I’m a terrible driver.”
Notice your suffering.
What’s the body sensation here?
Perhaps your heart is racing. You feel a hot flush across your face. Your belly aches.
Ask yourself: “Can I sit with what is right here? Can I allow it?”
What’s the emotion?
Perhaps you are feeling guilt or shame. Maybe anger at being honked at, or sad at not having time to go for a walk, or even do the laundry.
Take 5 deep breaths.
You get to choose your story.
This is the empowering bit – you have a choice.
Back there, in the heat of the moment, it may not have felt like a choice.
Now the dust has settled and you can see more clearly.
You get to be responsible for your laundry and be kind to yourself. That’s self-love.
Since we are choosing our story, why not tell a compassionate story?
Where do I start?
Back up – how do I even begin to be kind to myself?
Here are some places to look:
- My self-talk is atrocious – I call myself ‘stupid’ when something goes wrong.
- I am constantly comparing my worst day to my friends on Facebook who might be posting photos from Hawaii and wedding announcements.
- I am strict and unforgiving with myself – if I choose the sofa instead of the gym, then I beat myself up for being lazy.
Start by noticing where you are not being loving with yourself.
Choose something new.
When you notice that you are beating yourself up, what will you choose instead?
Practice choosing something new.
“Isn’t that funny – the laundry pile resembles Mount Washington!”
“Wow I’ve become a super cautious driver – I must still be caught up in that dentist appointment!”
See yourself as a child.
Find a photo of you as a child. Can you love her?
If you can love her, you can love yourself.
Love is sexy.
How will you love another person if you cannot love yourself?
We all have quirks that might be cute or annoying. But if we are ruthless with ourselves then we quickly become intolerant of imperfections in others.
Love is offering kindness and understanding rather than harsh judgement.
When you love yourself you glow from the inside out.
And that is sexy.
Being the best version of yourself means embracing the good, the bad and the ugly about you.
The good doesn’t exist alone.
Labelling some emotions – anger and sadness for example – ‘bad’ only makes us hide and suppress them.
Hiding and suppressing is awkward – like carrying around a grapefruit in one hand.
Unburden yourself and accept all emotions as part of your wonderful spectrum of expression.
Accept your flaws and your painful experiences as a gateway to greater compassion for yourself and others.
Action: Notice how you react when things do not go your way – do you retreat, become ambivalent or lash out? Try sitting with the emotion instead.