You know those moments in life when everything feels like it’s all coming crashing down at once? Stress piles up, bad news comes in, you made a mistake or a few and it’s hard to keep your head afloat. We’ve ALL been there and will continue to experience these moments because “that’s life”. My question is, how do you treat yourself when you have lower moments? Do you use positive self-talk to keep yourself moving along or do you kick yourself while you are down? I often compare “kicking yourself when you’re down” to that carnival game where the person holds a mallet and smashes down the object poking its head out of different holes. Being too hard on yourself is never good for your overall mental health, it only holds you down and stunts self-growth. If you can relate, it’s time to start showing yourself some grace through harder times and work on acceptance. Here’s how:
Accept Life’s Challenges: Life is always going to throw challenging situations at us, and this is okay. Challenging situations can lead to great things such as self-growth, solutions, new ideas, education and so much more. Resistance to challenges leads to negative emotions which just adds another layer to deal with. Leaning in to acceptance doesn’t mean you have to love the challenge, it means changing your inner dialogue to something like this “I’m dealing with a lot right now, and it stinks, but I can come out of this stronger.” Words are powerful, try changing the ones that are keeping you stuck and see how far you can go!
Be Flexible with expectations of yourself: When times get tough remember to be flexible with your personal expectations. For example, you may need to focus on the things that absolutely have to be done and go tackle the less pressing tasks when you’re in a better head space. Beating yourself up over things that weren’t done “perfectly” or completed as they would on a more normal day will add more stress to the situation. Showing yourself some grace would look like “I’m having a tough day and this being my best will have to do. I’m proud of myself for trying today.” Being too rigid won’t allow you to think this way.
It's Not Game Over: Going through tough times doesn’t mean better moments aren’t ahead. Just like we can count on challenges in life, we can also count on great things to come. There are many people who don’t intentionally think this way when times are tough and that is okay. It takes practice at being intentional with your thoughts to give yourself this reminder. The brain is capable of retraining thought patterns at all ages. It’s just that one word: practice, practice, practice. Showing yourself some grace would look like “I’m dealing with a lot right now, but I know this moment will pass. It’s a bump in a long road.”
Treat Yourself the way You Treat Others: Please disregard this step if you treat other people poorly. 😉 How many times have you been supportive and accepting to someone else going through it but when it comes to yourself, your advice no longer applies. Showing yourself some grace would be taking your own advice. This means asking yourself, “What would I tell a friend or family member going through this?” You are just as important as everyone else, it’s time to start acting like it.”
Challenging times are inevitable and are hard enough on their own. Hitting yourself while you are down won’t help you get up any quicker. If you are done being hard on yourself and want to “put the mallet down”, I hope you take a moment to feel proud of yourself for acknowledging the problem. Developing grace for yourself is a journey that many people need help with, and this is fine -- WE ALL NEED HELP AT TIMES. At A Little Counseling, we help people who suffer with anxiety and depression develop grace and most importantly SHOW UP FOR THEMSELVES! Let’s go, you got this!