Hi all! This week has been incredible. I can’t believe it’s already the final day of my challenge to introduce mindfulness into my life, sponsored by Onken’s Embrace Spoonfulness initiative.
On Day 1 I took my first steps towards integrating a mindful outlook, on Day 2 I shared how I was bringing mindfulness into my work, on Day 3 I looked at mindful eating and on Day 4 I shared a mindful breathing exercise that’s working really well for me.
Today, I’m addressing something that’s perhaps a little tougher to talk about: self-judgment.
What do I mean by self-judgment?
The challenges of being an adult in the modern world are not to be underestimated. We fulfil several roles – professional, spousal, parental etc – and the old saying that ‘there’s never enough hours in the day’ has never seemed more true to me that is does today.
So we push ourselves, don’t we? Harder and harder. With the intention of getting the very best we can.
Critical thoughts towards ourself become commonplace. They can almost seem motivating. “If I didn’t worry so much about not being a good enough mum/employee/friend, I wouldn’t try hard enough” – sound familiar?
Despite the excuses of a busy life and the normalcy of being hard on ourselves, if we’re honest, pushing isn’t good for us.
If we’re really honest, we know that we’re best in all our roles, professional and personal, when we’re being kindest to ourselves.
But it’s not just about being our best for others, we fundamentally deserve to be happy, don’t we? And that starts with us.
Letting go of worries
Mindful breathing is a great place to start when addressing your worries.
Once you bring yourself to a calm, centred position through a few minutes of meditation, one technique involves visualising your worries as a word or symbol, and then imagining it in a bubble that slowly shrinks and floats away.
The intention is to regain perspective on the worry as you do so, to recognise that something that seems insurmountable is not. It can be overcome.
A method that I’m using, again following a period of mediation, is to work to achieve a sense of objectivity and to thereby extend the same kindness to myself that I extend to others.
I am working to mindfully value my own happiness as I value that of my family and friends.
To do this, I don’t try to ignore my critical inner voice, as trying to deny intrusive or negative thoughts can be frightening and feel like a battle within yourself. Instead, I hear them, but I assess them objectively.
I imagine my inner voice is speaking to someone I care for, and have a natural empathy for, such as a child or family member.
For example, if my inner voice is scolding me for not getting enough done in a day, I imagine that voice is speaking to my husband, or my daughter, or even a colleague. Choose a person to picture that works for you.
Would I scold them so harshly? Would I dismiss all the effort they’d put in? Or would I celebrate their efforts, recognise their victories, and encourage them to do the same?
It’s the latter, of course, and I find that focussing on this makes self-compassion much easier to achieve.
Remember, we are not here to work and serve until we drop, we’re here to make the best of our lives and the lives of those around us. To laugh, love and nurture ourselves.
If you’re feeling inspired to explore mindfulness, please do keep in touch and let me know how you get on. My challenge for this week is over, but my journey has only just begun.
I have lots to learn, lots to read, lots to reflect on, and I’d love to continue to share that journey with you all.
This post is sponsored by Onken. For more tips on how to live a more Spoonful life, tasty recipes and to view the full range visit www.onken.co.uk