Let’s do a bit of mental exercise together, shall we?
Imagine your friend tells you she’s gained weight. Or that she has trouble getting out of bed in the morning. Or that she has made a mistake at work.
Imagine the words you use to make her feel better about the situation, come up with a solution, weather the storm.
Now imagine you have done the exact same thing – gained a bit of weight, can’t get out of bed, something has gone wrong at work.
Do you use those same kind words to make yourself feel better? Or do you tear your own metaphorical head off, mentally shout at yourself for being so irresponsible and how could you let that happen?
Most of us are guilty of treating ourselves in ways we wouldn’t unleash on our worst enemy. And the saddest part is, we don’t even see it.
If you’re coming to realize you’re also your own worst enemy (in whatever way, shape, or form), let’s look at four ways to defeat the enemy and start treating yourself like the best friend you truly are.
Image courtesy of Amanda Jones.
Banish the negative thought patterns
We all have negative thoughts sometimes. I, for one, am often guilty of having imaginary arguments with my coworkers over something that hasn’t even happened yet. And then when we do actually get to the point of discussing the situation, I can’t possibly be rational or realistic, since I have already built up so much negativity in my own mind.
You could be expecting the worst, cursing yourself or calling yourself names, catastrophizing – whatever your negative thought pattern is, learn how to identify it. Whenever you catch yourself running with a negative thought (and you’ll easily spot it by the way it makes you feel), make a conscious effort to stop and turn your mind in another direction.
Stop comparing yourself to others
Another mindset we all adopt at some point is comparing ourselves to others. After all, we’re so used to being graded and compared to each other since we were kids. However, comparing ourselves to others (whether we perceive them to be better or worse) can only lead to poor emotions – either an inflated ego or a feeling of worthlessness in their extreme.
Comparisons are fruitless since no two people on the planet are the same. None of their actions, achievements, skill, knowledge et cetera can be reliably compared.
They just serve to draw your attention to the negative again – the things you don’t have or haven’t done. These thoughts prevent you from focusing on the things you want to be doing and sap you of your energy.
If you really want to play the comparing game, compare yourself to the person you were a year ago. If progress is what you see, give yourself a pat on the back. If the progress is not there, think of ways to achieve it.
Stop depriving yourself of sleep
Sleep is that one thing we often take away from ourselves, yet it is probably our most important pastime. A lack of sleep can make us moody, less productive, less efficient, more emotional, and overall just a bit more miserable.
Instead of giving up sleep for whatever reason, teach yourself how to get deep sleep more often. This habit will then help you achieve more, feel better about your day and yourself, and enable you to live a more fulfilled and happy life.
Focus on what you have and not what you don’t
Taking the life we have for granted seems to be the usual modus operandi we all adopt – until something happens to shake our lives up and make us appreciate it more. Instead of waiting for the inevitable shakeup, try to refocus on what you have now, instead of constantly focusing on what you don’t.
We have the tendency to either moan about the past or fret about the future, all the while forgetting there is a wonderful here and now to be experienced. By shifting your energies into being grateful for where you’ve gotten and what you’ve achieved, instead of just hustling to get somewhere else, your life will suddenly seem a lot more positive and fulfilled, and you will be much happier for it.
To sum it up
While you may be your worst enemy, and while it may take a whole lot of time to break some of the patterns you’re used to, if you put in the time and effort, you can literally change your life.
Believe it or not, it’s all in your hands. True, we can’t control most of our life, but the one thing we can control – how we react to life and how we choose to feel about it – is powerful enough. Adopt the habits we’ve outlined above (slow and steady, one by one), and experience a different kind of life altogether – happier, more honest, and wholly yours.
Sarah Kaminski is a life enjoyer, positivity seeker, and a curiosity enthusiast. She is passionate about an eco-friendly lifestyle and adores her cats. She is an avid reader who loves to travel when time allows.
Image courtesy of nine koepfer.