Self-Care

Finding The Strength To Carry On.

Self-Compassion Over Glory

From the perspective of self-compassion, all pain is relative to the experience of the person, who feels it.  It is not so much the nature of the pain that defines the experience, but the opportunity it gives people to be emboldened by softening their hearts to their struggles, and the struggles of the world. 

This is not to discount or reduce the pain caused by great atrocities, but unlike many interventions, self-compassion does not glorify them either.  A secret of sufferers is that they want to suffer less.  Part of suffering less is more compassion from themselves and others, but people, who glorify suffering, often want to bring more attention to the kind of suffering that they are attending to, which does little for the suffering being experienced by the sufferers. 

People do not want apologies from strangers or even people they know for what they have been through.  What they really want is for people to support them in their journey, to share their own suffering, and to allow them to feel however they need to feel without judgment or comment.  Making people feel more exceptional and alone in their struggle will not help them feel more connected and supported.

Just 4 Things To Find The Strength To Carry On, When Harm Befalls You.

So, when great harm befalls you, how do you find the strength to carry on?  You need four things.

First, to explore the nature of the suffering, and align yourself with others, so it is knowable, and connects you to others instead of distancing you. 

Second, you need to be able to bring compassion and understanding to your experience, so that you can process and let go of the suffering.  The longer you hold on to it, the heavier the burden will be. 

Third, you need to invite kindness into your life from yourself and others.  Without a wish for well-being, your path in life cannot become clear, as it will always be muddled by the feelings, thoughts, and actions you believe you are owed (both good and bad). 

Fourth, you need to take the information you have gathered from these three steps, and look at what has made your heart stronger, and your mind better capable of seeing the world as it is.  These details will help you decide what you need to live a full, inspiring, and meaningful life of ease. 

If you have lived longer than a day, you realize it is impossible and probably foolish to believe that you can build a mindset, a technique, or a product to avoid suffering, but if you can develop your heart then you can live through it, and learn from it.  Wishing you many days of well-being, and the courage and tenacity to soften your heart in the face of suffering, as I wish the same for myself.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 221.  In The Books. 

Time To Tune In To Your Needs, And Your Needs Alone

Our Fear Of Boredom

Sometimes, we need self-compassion for things that would surprise you.  Our fear of boredom would be a good example of this.

Think about it.  We spend a lot of our life trying to entertain or hoping to be entertained.  We fear boredom, and the judgment of others.  We ask ourselves questions like, “What if I am stuck doing this mindless thing forever?” or “What if I don’t do anything interesting, and have nothing to share on social media?” 

These are real fears.  We actually stress over feeling good, and then stress equally about not feeling good enough.  It makes you wonder how we manage to find any time to relax, when we are stressing all of the time about disappointing ourselves and others.  Not to mention the stress of feeling like you have to remain in planning mode to live an acceptable life.

Annoying!

I don’t know about you, but even that paragraph annoyed me.  So, you see, there is a difference between actually feeling good (time without stress, living with ease), and what we and other people project to be feeling good (anxious planning around entertainment and social media).  You cannot avoid the world, so you are going to have to find time for both.  You want to do just enough for entertainment and social media that you do not feel crazy, or judged, while making time to simply enjoy whatever you are doing without trying to make it something spectacular.

Feeling Good

Most people enjoy a good walk or a nice conversation with a friend, but it is hard to share such activities on Facebook or Twitter.  “Hey just had a great time walking,” or “Had a really great conversation with Julie.”  It is possible to share such information, but we would rather quote the skydiving instructor or the concert musician.  So, how do we make time to do the things that recharge and serve only our well-being, and how do we make time to engage in activities that entertain others? 

Making Space Just For You

First, you must start with self-compassion.  You have to acknowledge that you come by your desire to entertain yourself and others naturally, but that it is also exhausting to live life that way.  Then, you can ask yourself with sincerity what activity would make you feel really good that you could have just for yourself.  Hey, sometimes it’s wise to be a little selfish.  If you are completely self-less, there will be no self left to enjoy life or others.  So, once you have chosen an activity, plan a time where you are sure you can focus on it uniquely, and allow yourself to recharge.  Then, do it!  You can thank me later, or better yet, you can thank yourself later. 

If you are still worried about your social media presence, then plan one thing you can photograph or mention a day.  You would be surprised how much attention a quick photo or quote can get if you pick the right thing.  Here are can’t misses: a photo of an animal, a sunrise, a sundown, food, coffee, the gym, children, cars, and quotes about one subtle change you have made today that has gotten you excited (e.g., tea, coffee, food, clothing, mentality, plan to travel, etc.)  Remember, simple is always better.  People just want something to like or retweet that makes them feel good, and valuable. 

365 Days Of Self-Compassion. Day 188.  In The Books.

Sick For The Day: Diagnosing And Treating Illness With Self-Compassion

Self-Compassion Diagnostics

Self-Compassion is handy for psychological purposes, life planning, and ensuring success, but it is also a pretty good diagnostic medical tool.  I do not mean that you should use it to substitute seeing your PCP or visiting your local emergency room.  However, it can be helpful in determining what is causing your current state of dis-ease, and what steps you might take to rectify it.

Stomach Problems

For instance, say that you are experiencing stomach symptoms.  If you acknowledge your experience, name it, and locate where you are experiencing tension in the body, you might get a sense of its seriousness.  If it is located in one part of the stomach, and accompanied by a general queasiness, then see if softening around it helps to subdue the discomfort.  If so, it is likely related to stress, lack of sleep, anxiety, or a mixture of the three.  If the location is more general, and softening around the area only sensitizes you further to the pain, then it is probably something more serious.

Headaches

Headaches are another great example.  Again, follow your self-compassion diagnostic steps.  Acknowledge the headache.  Name it.  Then, locate where you are experiencing tension.  See if softening around this tension relieves the pain, or makes your more sensitive to the pain or other pain areas.  If it is the latter, it is probably pretty serious, and it would be prudent to go see the doctor.  If it is the former, try treating it with self-compassion.

Healing The Self With Self-Compassion

In both cases, if it turns out to be a development brought on by lack of sleep, stress, anxiety, and a reaction to something in the environment, it still requires a lot of self-compassion.  It is important to acknowledge that you come by this pain naturally, and that it is only there to remind you what the body needs to be well again. 

If you are lacking in sleep, then find time to catch up.  If you have too much stress, then find time to unwind in an active way through biofeedback breathing, mindfulness meditation or walking.  Make sure you are hydrated.  Being dehydrated can cause stomach issues, headaches, and a myriad of other health issues.  Most importantly, take the time to recover.  Just because it does not require you to go to the hospital does not mean that the body does not need time to recuperate, and heal.  The greatest source of wealth will always be your health.

Wishing you many days of wellness, and much self-compassion on the days in which you are not feeling well at all.  May you take the time to rest, and recover.  May you model this good self-care to others, and may you surround yourself with people, who love you enough to support this work.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 176.  In The Books.

Why This Life? Four Quick Steps To Answer Your Biggest Question

Why This Life: Getting The Answers We Need Before It’s Too Late

Self-Compassion appeals to a wide audience because it has something for everyone.  One thing almost everyone wants to know is why they are here, right now.

Why This Life?  The Question

As most lie awake at night or find themselves at the end of an unfulfilling day, they ask themselves the question: Why this life?  It is another way to ask, what am I here for?  We want a simple answer, preferably something with a single syllable.  If you practice self-compassion long enough, you will probably get one that defines the purpose of your whole life.  For our purposes, we are going to answer this question for today.  Because your only real responsibility is to get to tomorrow.  I know.  You have a million plans for the future, but the future you will be able to use the same practice we are going to use today, and he/she will be just fine.  Think of the alternative. If the future you does not make it, you will have even better questions to ask such as, why the after life?  Or Why the heck is there no after life? 

Why This Life?  The Answer

To discover why this life, you need three things: a semi-quiet room, a writing utensil, and a note card.  Step 1:  If I paid all of your bills, and assured all of your family and friends that they would be ok, what would you do with your life?  Don’t think for hours.  Go with your first response.  Step 2: Imagine that you do this thing, and it fills you with well-being.  Step 3: Describe the well-being.  Step 4: What can you do right this second to move towards doing step 2, and feeling like Step 3.  Boom!  That is why you are here right now. 

My Own Question And Answer.

Ok, no more questions.  Solving life’s problems is tiresome.  I am going to take a nap.  Right now that accomplishes four for me.  Loving you all, and having the time to soak it in.  Tomorrow, it will probably be sitting in my therapy chair, and then writing, but like I said, one day at a time.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 175.  In The Books.

The Self-Compassionate Wisdom To Give Enough Without Giving Too Much

Optimal Giving To Ourselves And Others

Self-Compassion, like a heart monitor, lets us know when we are optimally providing well-being to ourselves and others.  When we are giving too much, our self-monitoring reveals that certain areas of the body are filled with tension.  This tension tends to live in the throat and the stomach, as these areas are connected with aversion.

Why do we develop aversion towards this person?  The reason is that when we give too much, the body experiences pain.  When this pain becomes overwhelming, the body will naturally tell the brain that it would be a good idea to avoid this person.  It is not personal, but rather based on simple conditioning.  When a stimulus becomes harmful enough, the body and mind label it as punishment.  The body and mind will always seek to avoid punishment, and when they cannot, they will experience great anxiety instead.

People, who desire our care, would like to escape this kind of avoidance and resentment, and we would like to think of them with love and kindness.  Love and kindness are a lot easier feelings to carry than aversion, which is weighty and stressful.

The Self-Compassion Strategy For Optimal Giving

So, how do we prevent ourselves from giving too much love and compassion?

First, we need to pay attention to our self-monitoring.  When the body starts to get overwhelmed, then we need to respect its limitations, and find our way out of this conversation. 

Second, it helps to have a phrase on which you can rely.  It may prove too difficult in the heat of the moment to come up with just the right thing to say.  I usually say, “I want to hear more about this, but I need to take care of myself right now (sometimes I substitute with “I need to take care of this other thing” if there is, indeed another thing).   

Third, we need to do something immediately that helps ground the stress we are experiencing in our minds and bodies.  I like biofeedback breathing (a slow 6 second breath in and out) because 5 minutes of it normally resets my body, and I am free to return to the day’s work without a losing too much time.  I also have a convenient app on my phone called peaceful breathing that I can follow without overthinking this process.  You may do some mindful walking, if you have time, or some basic mindfulness or self-compassion meditation (simply follow your breath, and once you become more relaxed, wish yourself safety, kindness, self-acceptance, and ease).  I also find that doing the red caboose visualization helps me clear my mind.

Fourth, just do a gentle check-in, and see if you are feeling enough ease to return to your day.  Notice your body and your thoughts.  Are they filled with tension or soft and relaxed?  If you are still tense and have time, return to an activity from step three to move towards optimal functioning. 

Finally, give yourself credit (read: reward yourself) for taking such good care of yourself.  It is as easy as saying, “I am so grateful that you chose to be kind to yourself in this moment.”  People tend to underestimate this step, but I promise you what remains unsaid to the mind remains unread.  Needing a reward is healthy human need, and giving it to yourself is powerful self-compassion move.  Think about it.  Do you really want to depend on others to tell you that you are doing well or are good enough all the time?

Practice Goal Achieved!

And, abacadbra, you are now giving enough to others, and not too much!  This work is so important if you want healthy, sustaining, life-giving relationships that are free of resentment.  If you give too much too often, you will inevitably let go of these relationships, and feel burned out. 

Nobody wants that.  Allow this self-compassion practice to serve as your guide for meaningful, and realistic giving, and if you find something that works for you that has not been mentioned, feel free to include it in your practice.

365 Days Of Self-Compassion.  Day 156.  In The Books.

Animal Videoing Your Way To Self-Compassion

Vicarious Compassion

Self-Compassion can be found in all things.  One of my favorite ways to find self-compassion is in the caring animal video variety.  It is a great transition move.  Imagine this.  You are at work.  You have just been through a messy meeting with your boss or a difficult call with a client.  You are too overwhelmed to get back to work or do the self-compassion techniques we have talked about thus far.  My simple answer is to plop down in front of your computer or cue up on your phone a youtube video of animals behaving kindly to humans or other animals.  I call this vicarious compassion.

Nurturing animals have the habit of taking care of others, and themselves.  The cat, who is taking care of her kittens, also cleans her own fur.  The mother bear, who finds food for her cubs also takes the time to eat.  The lion playing with a beloved human also takes the time to roll onto his back, and wiggle around to scratch an itch on it.  We watch these videos, and start to feel better immediately.  Other compassion and self-compassion are contagious, and we begin to feel better taken care of, and more hopeful.

Acting

We have all watched these videos, but the important thing to learn here is when to use them, and how to use them.  The when is when you have just come from a stressful situation, and need to reset your system, and experience some compassion.  The how is that you must act on the feeling of compassion these videos generate by doing something really kind for yourself immediately after.  This is what I call Acting.  It is what you need to do after the vicarious compassion to make sure that you have converted the compassion you have seen to compassion for yourself.

Taking the time to give yourself self-compassion means that you will strengthen the connection between watching the videos, and being kind to yourself.  So, when you watch them in the future, their ability to make you feel better will be even greater than before.  Additionally, the videos will remind you to take care of yourself, which is helpful because reminders to take care of yourself can be scarce, but these cuddly animal videos never are.  Booyah!  You have been self-compassioned.

Nope

You thought there was more?  Nope.  That is it!  Sometimes, it helps for these exercises to be easy and small.  It increases the chance that you will use them, and remember them.  Wishing you much self-compassion, and many, many, many heart warming animal videos.

365 Days of Self-Compassion.  Day 139.  In The Books.

The Self-Compassion of Writing

Compassionate Writing

Long before people could blog, text, post, or capture their feelings on video, they found self-compassion in writing.  Some people with little else to boast may try to persuade you that writing is only for the innately gifted, that good writing comes from years of classroom study.  Regardless, truly beautiful writing actually comes from the heart.

Many writers have crafted their best work while recovering from issues related to drugs, alcohol, romantic failures, and interpersonal struggles.  Interestingly, it is not the suffering that drives this great writing, but rather the fact that there are no more clever places for the heart to hide, so writers have to finally grant it permission to speak directly to the reader. 

With the writer’s permission, the heart leaves no detail undescribed, no emotion unfelt, no painfully sought wish off the page.  We can relate to this deeply human experience.  Our hearts hear it, and take refuge in it.  This is why we listen to tales of lost love, and dreams dashed, and wish with solemnity that they rediscover love and realize their dreams after all. 

It may take some self-compassion to persuade your hand to the page or keyboard, but it will be worth it.  The remedy of writing has existed long before our time, and will still be here long after we are gone.  There is not greater reward than speaking from the heart.  It makes us whole, when we are halved, and liberates our greatest fears, hopes, and dreams.  It makes us feel like we can fly, when we begin to fall, and gives us something substantial to rest our minds on when all seems lost.

Writing, The Self-Compassionate Way

So, how do you get a writing practice started the self-compassionate way?  With your eyes open or closed, I want you to sit upright, allowing your body to soften one part at a time.  Start with your forehead, then your eyes, then your mouth, and work your way down to your feet.  Follow your breath, and begin to recite the self-compassion phrases we have come up with or those that feel more in keeping with your experience (i.e., May I be safe.  May I be free from suffering.  May I be kind to myself.  May I accept myself just as I am.  May I live with ease). 

Notice how your body responds to each phrase.  See which one feels truest to you in this moment. Then, reduce this phrase to one word: safe, free, kindness, acceptance, ease.  Now, write that word at the top of your page, and write everything that comes to mind in relation to it. 

Make sure that this writing prioritizes understanding of and compassion towards your experience. When you are done, look over this document.  Read it all the way through.  Then, notice how you feel.  See if you have not inclined into the very part of yourself that was suffering the most with the exact thing that it needed to feel better.  Do not worry about grammar or perfection.  The heart needs neither of these things.  It just needs to hear that it is heard and loved. 

Reward

Reward yourself with a silent or perhaps loud celebration (depending on your location), once you have completed this exercise.  We repeat the experience that rewards us.  I imagine this exercise was challenging, and acknowledge that you have sacrificed your time, and capacity to remain completely protected.  I also think that this is a small price to pay to not sacrifice your heart.

365 Days of Self-Compassion.  Day 136.  In The Books.

Self-Compassion For Transitions: What To Do When It Is Raining Cats And Dogs

Transitions

We need self-compassion for transitions.  Given our myriad responsibilities, we count on the areas of our life that we can control.  We use these areas to come up with a schedule that ensures that our needs will get met, and that there will not be so many new changes that the stress we experience outweighs the well-being we receive.  We become comfortable with these processes, and come to rely on them.  They become automatic after a while, and require less and less from our body.  This, in turn, maximizes the time we feel relaxed, empowered, and full of hope. 

Transitions shake this very foundation.  They require that we amend all of our rules to compensate for an entirely new set of questions and responsibilities that come with change.  We begin to experience less well-being and much more stress.  These new processes are not automatic, and take a toll on our body. 

When we cannot quickly return to the well-being we have come to know, we become impatient, self-critical, and somewhat depressed.  It becomes apparent that we need some self-compassion, if we are to have the resources necessary to get back to the state of ease we have known in the past.  There is an old story about a cat and dog in a similar situation.

Cats And Dogs

Long before they were ever domesticated, dogs and cats lived in the unsettled world.  Dogs enjoyed exploring their territory with great energy and abandon.  Cats equally enjoyed exploring their territory, but did so with a slower pace, and a precise eye that delighted in the small wonders of life. 

One dog and cat lived separately until spring arose, and frequent rainfall required them to hole up in a warm, and dry place.  When they met, the cat argued that she should have the space.  She said that she belonged to a wiser species that needed to keep dry, so that she could be available should the other animals require stealth and keen awareness to assess their safety from potential threats.  The dog countered that the other animals needed him to be dry, so that he could be counted on to fetch food and bring up their spirits when necessary.

This arguing kept them up all night.  They each said some hurtful things to try to persuade the other to leave.  They expended so much energy that they fell asleep, while still arguing.  When they awoke, the dog and the cat found themselves cuddled together.  What’s more, they both felt better rested than they had in a long time.  Together, they were warmer than they had been separately, and thus the cold, rainy mornings had less effect on them.

Meeting Transitions With Self-Compassion

When we are met with transitions, we have a tendency to put our defenses up, and resist change.  We are absolutely sure that we have the best situation possible, and we are weary of any threats to our well-being.  With a little self-awareness and some kindness, we often find that even though transitions are difficult, they often leave us feeling more secure, successful, and happy.  If you find it raining cats and dogs where you are, why not invite them in, and see if you are not better off for your efforts.

365 Days of Self-Compassion.  Day 134.  In The Books. 

Five Savage Self-Compassionate Moves

Self-Compassion Is Not Soft.  It is Savage. 

On the topic of self-compassion, some worry that it will leave them ill prepared for life’s struggles, that they will come off as wimps, and that there is something inherently uncool about being loving.  In a recent conversation with a reader, he said, “Why do I have to be a self-compassion guy?  I want to be a savage.” 

Knowing that today’s definition veers clear of the violent, brutal definition of yesteryear, I simply asked him why he could not be both.  Kindness sounds like something you serve with tea, and perhaps it is, but there is also a gritty, unrefined toughness about it.  We use it to combat pain, suffering, fatigue, and stress. 

How could anything with the will to face and overcome such dangers be anything less than ferocious?  For all the people out there hoping to look as empowered externally as self-compassion makes them feel internally, here are five savage self-compassionate moves.

Five Savage Self-Compassion Moves

1.     After a long week of work, you stumble back with fatigue to your home, when you notice the phone ring.  It is a friend, who you care for deeply that has a knack for ill-timing, and long conversations about the people and things that frustrate him.  Let out a long sigh, feel your body relax, and turn your phone off.  No more phone calls today, self-compassion says NO WAY!  You are a savage.

2.     A coworker is venting about someone they know you are friends with, and is asking you to take sides.  You notice this tension.  You name it.  This is conflict.  You blow up a balloon in your mind, and tape the word conflict to it, and release the balloon, watching it rise into the distance.  You let it go.  You tell this coworker that you are sorry they are experiencing a difficulty with this person, and are confident that they will be able to resolve it.  Then, you wish them a great day, AND LEAVE.  You are a savage.

3.     You wake up feeling bloated, only to look into the mirror, and feel saddened by what you see.  You acknowledge this pain, name it, and soften around the parts of your body that feel tense.  Then, you let it go.  You call into work to say you will be late, and you treat yourself to a delicious, and healthy breakfast, all the while making a list of healthy items to pick up at the store, and times that you can go to the gym.  The day cannot have your well-being.  You are a savage.

4.     You forget to pay a bill and get stuck with a late fee.  You whip out that checkbook and pay it immediately, leaving no time to grow morose or sad.  Then, you schedule the next bill in your calendar, and transition right into some biofeedback breathing.  You are a savage.

5.     Your friend breaks another plan with you, and asks if they can reschedule for the same week so they can go out on a date for the millionth time.  You tell them that unfortunately you cannot because your week is full.  The truth is that you are too self-compassionate to be someone’s convenient friend.  You are a savage.

You Are A Savage

There is absolutely nothing weak about taking good care of yourself.  In fact, it is what makes you strong.  Beating yourself up, on the other hand, makes you weak.  Be strong, and put self-compassion first in your life.  After all, you are a savage.

365 Days of Self-Compassion.  Day 133.  In The Books.

10 Self-Compassionate Ways To Turn I Hate Yous Into Happiness

You Had Me At I Hate You

Self-Compassion is an invaluable resource for our daily I hate yous.  Admit it.  Every day, some new person, thing, or object finds a way to get you so riled out that you feel like spitting out an old fashioned I hate you.  You know the ones you served up like Serena Williams, when you were about 8 years old, and completely disgusted that you could not go to the movies or get the games your friends had.

“You don’t understand.  All my friends are going to go.  I am going to be the only one who hasn’t gone.  I hate you!”  You launch that thing off like a canon because what else are you going to do? You are 8 years old.

As we get older, we get wiser, at least about what is acceptable to say in public, and perhaps how we would like to feel, but we cannot escape the I hate yous.  They are like the snow or the rain.  No matter how inconvenient, they are coming, and they will leave a mark whether you like it or not. 

Since we cannot avoid them, I say we celebrate them.  Why not?  You have something better to do with your I hate yous?  Perhaps, bury them deep down until your head pops off like a shaken up can of coke to release them.  Not to worry.  We have a fun way of converting those I hate yous into happiness.  Just watch.

10 Ways To Convert I Hate Yous Into Happiness

Here are 10 glorious ways to convert those I hate yous into happiness:

1.     Somebody cuts you off in traffic, and you want to yell I hate you.  Instead yell, “Yahoo, this must be what it is like to drive in Nascar!”  Imagine spitting into your hand, and hurling it into the stars.  Bye, bye frustration!  Hello, Relief and Excitement!

2.     Somebody takes the parking space you have been waiting on, and you think silently about lighting them on fire with your eye lasers. This is a good time to say, “I need special theme music to find the coolest spot in the parking lot, which is clearly cooler than this one, since bozos park here.  I am going to celebrate the increase in fitness I will get from walking a few more steps to my destination.”  In other pars of the world, they actually try to park within some waling distance to keep their waists trim.

3.     An unexpected bill comes in with hidden fees, and we want to chase the mailman down, and yell, “Hey, you forgot something!”   Instead, take it to a room where you can be alone, and spike it into the floor like a football.  Do an end zone dance (a dance of celebration), and when you are done, you look that bill right in the eye and say, “Thanks, I needed that!”  Now, you have the well-being to pay it, and let it go.

4.     Your friend cancels your plans at the last minute, and you think to yourself, maybe I will just scream I hate you for a second. Don’t!  It is the universe’s way of freeing you from what would have been an unhappy night.  Think about it.  If they cancelled, they were unwilling or unable to go.  Did you really want a whole night of being with someone, who felt that way?  Not me!  Find something really enjoyable to do with your time or call and make plans with a friend you have not spoken to in a long time.  Their loss is your leisure!

5.     Your car breaks down, and you are going to be late again for work.  You just want to scream at your car, “I hate you!”  Take a deep breath, and oh who am I kidding.  Let ‘er rip.  Let out a great big, “ I hate you!”  Why do you have to be afraid of this feeling? It is just an emotion.  Then, tell your car, “I am sorry that I got so upset.  We have had so many problems lately that I have just begun to worry about our relationship. “  Then, hug your steering wheel.  Hey! Cars need love to.

6.     Your boss asks you to stay late again, and you are worried that you are going to miss the big game or your favorite television program, and you want to say, “Hey, Mr. Boss guy.  You are a big jerk, and I hate you!”  Instead, take out a piece of paper and write down every frustrating word that comes to mind.  Do not skip one.  This is a matter of life and death.  Well, it is not that important, but it is still very important!  When you are done, rip it up (you don’t want the boss to find it).  Give yourself a big self-hug for letting the anger out in such a healthy and fun way.

7.     Your pants rip in the middle of a big meeting, and you want to scream at your pants, “I hate you!”  Notice this feeling.  Think about how hard your pants have worked to not have ripped before this moment.  Think of all the work it has been willing to do just to keep your seat warm and looking professional, then be the last to slip out and change in to your spare pants.  Note to self: always bring a spare change of pants.  Don’t look at me like that, you have 6 varieties of snacks, but you can’t bring a spare change of pants.  Come on!

8.     Your favorite sports team throws away a big lead, and you just want to scream at the television, “I hate you!”  Think about how many times your team has come from behind to win.  The frontrunner does not always win, even when the frontrunner is you.  Keep your eye on the big picture, and if your team really stinks, think about how much it is doing for the well-being of opposing teams and their fans.

9.     They stop making your favorite food, clothing item, or television show, and you want to rip your hair out just so you can throw it at them, and scream, “I hate you!’  Notice this feeling, and let it pass.  Remember that before you loved this you loved something else.  To make room for something new, you have to let go of something old. 

10.  People are most irked these days for having to wait in line.  We try to do all of our shopping on the Internet, but it is hard to have groceries shipped.  Cheese just is not the same after it has been in the mail for 5-10 days.  So, we try to wait patiently.  Of course, somebody has to ask a question about a coupon that we all know is no longer valid.  Then, they begin to get frustrated, and all of a sudden they are telling the cashier how much they hate them.  We are pretty upset by this.  That is our move!  All of a sudden, we realize how nice it must have been for that person to get their “I hate you” out of the way, so that they can enjoy the rest of their day, and we begin to enjoy the rest of ours.

Killing Your "I Hate Yous" With Kindness

Sometimes, it is the little things that keep us going.  We only have so much energy, so we have to unload the negatives when we can.  Avoiding the “I hate yous” just gives them more power, and causes us fatigue. 

Notice the I hate yous, as they arise.  Find some way to acknowledge them, allow them to breath, and watch them pass away.  Working in crisis for most of my professional career, I am assured when patients are able to get out an “I hate you!”  It means that they are willing to fight for themselves, and that they have found a way to get out a little bit of negative energy, and make room for some positive self-care.  It also helps that most of those I hate yous were meant for other people.  What?  You did not think that I was going to end without a little joke, did you?

365 Days of Self-Compassion.  Day 131.  In The Books.