I was meeting with a mentor of mine the other day. We met remotely that day so I was in a super cute local coffee shop, Factory Coffee, drinking a Nutella Mocha and she was at her office. Just like any other day, we were having a conversation somewhere in the middle of a life chat and a deep, “you need to grow past this”, “you can do it” convo—like any great mentor, or friend for that matter! Anyways I always doodle notes while we are talking and I wrote down these three things:
- Trust that you’re enough
- Your relationship with yourself is the most important part of greater success in life
- Don’t ever forget the gift that your faults bring you
Woah. Those are big dogs. Don’t they feel heavy and big when you read them, like this blog must be 20 pages long to sift through all of that? Well at the end of the call we usually talk about action items out of our conversation and I thought this list was really all about self compassion, loving yourself, and treating yourself well. All I could think about was that I needed to decide what a good relationship with myself really looks like. Not just “oh I should talk nicer to myself” but reaaalllly, when you dig in what does it mean to me to have a good relationship with myself? Specifically.
If you’re like me you have days when you are freakin’ awesome at loving on yourself, but you also have days where you are your own worst enemy. I say things to myself— in my head and out loud— that I would cringe hearing a friend say. I have high expectations for myself and I think most women do. We push ourselves to be the best mom, employee, and wife we can be, but for me that often leads me to disappointment because I forget that giving grace is just as important.
Here’s what I’ve decided are my keys to have a good relationship with myself
Cut yourself a break
Things happens. Not everything is going to go the way you want it to. You are human, you will make mistakes. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that you’re an idiot. Adjust, adapt, learn from it, and move on.
That. Up there ^. That is what I tell myself on the days when I am having a good relationship with myself. When I am being good to myself, I don’t blame everything on my actions, I don’t ruminate, I can see that 100% productivity doesn’t exist, and I accept that mistakes happen.
Let it gooooo, let it goooo!
Move your body, outside if possible
I am at my best mentally and physically when I exercise. I have been an athlete all of the my life so moving my body and getting exercise feels like the one piece of self-care I have down, but I get off track sometimes like anyone else. I’ll get sick and get out of my rhythm or there’s a ton going on at work and that’s the thing I cut off the list first. I feel it when I don’t do it. This is even more important for me because I have noticed that it also helps reduce my headaches, which are a constant battle.
I added “outside if possible” to this one because there is something about fresh air that does a body good. If I don’t workout outside, which is often now that we have our Peloton bike, then I eat a meal outside or go out with Hayes. Take some deep breaths and reenergize.
Talk to yourself how you would talk to a friend, or better yet, your daughter
Have you ever caught yourself being rotten to yourself? Why is it that we can be so incredible mean to ourselves, but wouldn’t dream of speaking to anyone else that way? I am guilty of it—especially since moving into our new house and adopting that full length mirror in the closet with that overhead lighting.
Your inner dialogue is powerful. It can change your perspective, your mood, even your action. I consider myself a positive person, but I also know that when it’s about myself, I often loose the ability to see the silver lining. If I can catch myself in the middle of that negative self talk and remind myself how I would feel if my friend or Hayes was saying that about themselves, it feels silly and awful. I’d like to think the more I catch it, the less I do it. And overtime that might be true. But for now it seems to go in waves.
Listen to your body
So often my body gives me plenty of signs that I am stressed, tired, overworking, [fill in the blank], but I don’t listen. I think more times than not, I am aware of the things my body is trying to tell me, but I don’t take it seriously until I am at a breaking point. And by then it’s too late. I’m crying for “no reason”, I’m stressed about everything, and I have no time to do all of the things I need to do.
Self care is something I have to remind myself of everyday. I seem to be good at the doing part and not so great at the slowing down part. In all aspects of my life. When I feel something hurt, I tend to run through it. When my body is tired and my mind is overwhelmed, I usually think pushing through will make it go away.
This year I had an especially big reminder that I can’t just keep pushing when a nagging issue with my leg turned into a stress reaction in my femur, gave me a limp for several weeks, and crushed my dreams of crossing marathon off of my bucket this year. When I did slow down. I realized how much I needed it. And when I slowed down I could remind myself that a marathon bucket list item is not greater than the ability to move without pain the rest of my life. Sometimes the small potatoes feel really big to me until I slow down and see what they really are.
Don’t sweat it
I have always been a sensitive person and a serious people pleaser. I know a lot of women share this with me. And since getting older (and wiser, I think), I’ve become more aware of how being a people pleaser affects me—stresses me out. Sometimes because I want people to like me and I don’t want to ruffle feathers, I end up over analyzing interactions and recklessly filling in the gaps with assumptions. But I’m getting better and better at taking the time I need to process, asking questions, and more often than not just letting things roll right off of me and moving on. My husband does this without even thinking about it, for me it takes a lot of awareness. When I do it well, I feel so good.
It’s very similar to the principles of stoicism, which is “the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint”. It sounds intense, but what I get out of it is simple — focus on what you’re in control of and no matter how hard it might be, let go of the rest. There’s a stoicism daily email newsletter I subscribe to that helps me keep the idea of stoicism top of mind each day.
What does a good relationship with yourself look like?
This was such a good exercise for me to go through. And if you were reading this thinking about what this looks like for you, I’d encourage you to write it down! Brainstorm what it looks like to have a good relationship with yourself. I started by just make a list of all of the things I do that make me feel good. And then I saw some patterns and bucketed them into a handful of main points. I’ll share my bulleted list below. Let me know me if you give it a try yourself!
Here’s my raw brainstorm list in case it helps you get started…
- Give yourself grace
- Don’t beat yourself up when something doesn’t happen how you thought it would, adjust and move on
- You are human, you will make mistakes. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that you’re an idiot.
- You process information and that’s ok, allow yourself to process
- Talk pretty to me
- If it would pain you to hear your daughter say that about herself, don’t say it about yourself
- Listen to the advice you’d give a friend if they had your “problem”
- Make things little (stoicism)
- Remember, people don’t think about you as much as you think they do
- Your opinion of yourself matters
- Your faults don’t have to be a bad thing, it makes you good at something else
- Leave space open each day
- If you know you did the right thing, be content
- Save space / relax
- Don’t take every little bit of every day so seriously. Not everything has to be 100% productivity
- Find things that bring you joy, do them
- Take care of your body
- Be active
- Spend time with your family
- Always get fresh air
- Listen to your gut, your body, your God
- Listen to you body, your mind, and your stress.
- Slowing down isn’t a weakness
If you do the exercise, take a screen shot and share it with me on social @sydneynordquist!