Have you ever wondered why you are tired of trying to be “awesome”? It is probably because you think that there isn’t any other option. You have to look sharp, think smart, and wow the audience every time you open your mouth. Also, if you have “amazing” friends, then you have to constantly “up your game” in order to be seen as phenomenal by them.
No wonder, all the advertisers in the world today are targeting you. They have self-esteem packed in the form of fairness creams, anti-cellulite gels, and green tea which they make you believe can “up your game”.
But what happens when you drop the ball one day?
You are terrified of being discovered as a person who has flaws and can fail, and you are miserable because you can’t even show your weakness!
You try to preserve your self-esteem by living in denial about what you need to change or correct about yourself, yet you are so hard on yourself that if you were a chair, you would break if someone sat on you. The overdrive, the constant need to be positive and banish all negative emotions, the need to be brilliant and flawless at all times, and the self-delusion that you were never meant to fail, is bound to take a toll.
Noted psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson says that we need to move away from an industry or society that is telling us all the time that we are “awesome”. We need to, instead, learn that we are human, we will make mistakes and all that self-praise should be toned down.
The inflated self-esteem, 5,000 titles of self-help/self-esteem books on Amazon, or the moving goalposts that never seem to within our reach all need to be put to rest.
It is time that we listen to the alternate group of researchers who are saying, “Love yourself!” If you take a page out of the Buddhists’ books, you will find that the importance of compassion, as largely expressed and propagated by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama also, is not just about being compassionate towards others only. His Holiness speaks of self-compassion first.
According to Kristin Neff, an Associate Professor in Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin, self-compassion is a way of relating better to yourself: “It requires self-kindness, that we be gentle and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical and judgmental.
Second, it requires recognition of our common humanity, feeling connected with others in the experience of life rather than feeling isolated and alienated by our suffering.
Third, it requires mindfulness — that we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain or exaggerating it.”
Just because we are not harder on ourselves, it doesn’t mean we won’t succeed. We will, if we cut ourselves some slack, learn from our experiences, and get ready to take responsibility and move on!
Self-compassion is a great way to love yourself and remember that you have the power because you are not trying to argue and judge yourself down! You are merely giving yourself some time to pause before you start again.
So relax, allow life to take its course at times even if you think you are losing control, and open your heart to yourself.
The greatest love of all is to love yourself. Cheers!