Holland & Usry - June 2020


With These No-Nonsense Techniques

Here’s what I learned.

BEING KIND TO YOURSELF WON’T MAKE YOU WEAK OR DELUSIONAL. Studies show folks with more self-compassion tend to be more motivated and more successful over time. They see their mistakes, but because they don’t beat themselves down with blame and judgement, they learn to do better next time. It’s choosing self-construction over self- destruction. Sign me up! So how do you do it?


1. Stop beating yourself up for having negative thoughts and emotions. It’s part of our journey as humans. Think of negative thoughts and emotions as data. They can actually be valuable signs of who you are and what really matters to you. 2. Recognize them and name them, so you can do something constructive with them: “I’m feeling frustrated. What is that pointing to that’s important to me? What is it teaching me?”

Good or bad, I value toughness. Sometimes I overdo it, especially with my children. When one falls down hard, my immediate response is “Get up,” even as blood pours and tears flow. I suspect Mamie — that’s what I call my wife — thinks I could’ve used a sister to soften me up a bit. Seeing how she and my daughters have done that over the years, she’s right. Sometimes I overdo toughness on someone else, too — me. I bet you do it, too. So, I’m exploring being kind to myself. Before you roll your eyes (like I would) thinking this’ll be some touchy-feely article about your inner child, let me state this principle in the most enduring, macho terms, edited for a family newsletter:

3. If this is hard for you, then don’t beat yourself up!

4. Use the process to figure out the best thing to do. Ask yourself, “What can I do that would best serve me, my values, and my goals?” So, in a nutshell, when it comes to undesirable thoughts and emotions, don’t judge. Look and learn, then do the best possible thing. Fair warning on the article: She does talk about tapping into your inner child. I just can’t get you there. Maybe one day. Don’t worry, I’ve already forgiven myself. See, this stuff really works.


And you, yourself, might be the mean person.

Since I’m wading into uncharted waters here, I did some reading and found a fantastic article by Susan David, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School. (Read the article here: DrHappy.com.au/2020/02/26/how-to-be-kinder-to-yourself.)



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