You wouldn’t do this to a friend

Apr 10, 2020

Would you speak to a friend that way?

 I’ve asked this question countless times when I hear someone berating herself for not doing enough or somehow failing to meet (her own ridiculously high) expectations. The answer, of course, is always no. It can be an effective way to be a lot kinder to ourselves.

But it’s not always enough.

I’ve noticed lately that this phrase isn’t working for me personally. It’s lost its oomph and I’m able to bat it away like shooing a fly. Which then gives me more space to hold myself to standards I can’t possibly meet right now. Luckily I thought of a new way to handle this.

Instead of simply asking myself “Would you speak to a friend that way?” I actually imagine one of my dearest friends speaking to me. I picture her in front of me as she says something along the lines of  “Well, I didn’t write that newsletter/lose any weight/clean the bathroom/get a new client this week.” It’s suddenly so easy to feel the compassion I feel for her and sweep myself up in that too. Instead of compassion as a concept, it’s a real and true feeling. Once I feel that, I’m able to reset (my own ridiculously high) expectations and do what I can.

I wrote last week about giving yourself permission. I think this visual exercise is a great companion, making both a 1-2 punch that will help keep you sane and your stress levels lower.

Be your own friend this week. And next week. And the week after that. This is a great time to learn self-compassion and have that in your toolkit for the rest of your life.

Take good care of yourself and remember, you can do this.

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