This week I’m lucky to get to share some words of wisdom from the wonderful woman who had a huge role in helping me leave an unhappy career over two years ago. I know like many of you, I’m really hard on myself when I make a mistake, so it always helps to remember the perspective Melanie offers here.
Treat Yourself as You Treat Others
Growing up, I was told to treat others as I would like to be treated. You’ve probably heard some version of this principle. And yes, it’s a great principle. Treating others well is respectful, kind and good for emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
But I think we have a bigger problem. I believe most of the time, most of us treat others better than we treat ourselves. We are kind and loving and supportive and take time out of our day to do favors and pick friends up when they’re down. But what about when you’re down? Are you kind and loving and encouraging? Not from what I can see. It’s more likely you follow the “kick them when they’re down” philosophy with yourself.
Think about it. The last time you overindulged, or didn’t meet a deadline, or said something slightly inappropriate, did you then say to yourself, “there, there sweetie, it’s okay, you’ll do better next time”? I think not. If I know you, and I do, because we’re not so different; you scolded yourself, felt disappointed in yourself, and compared yourself to everyone you know who does it better.
With every cell in my body I want to scream, “Stop It!” It’s not nice. It’s not kind. And it doesn’t work! Beating yourself up is violence. Being cruel to yourself is cruelty just the same as being cruel to another or to an animal. If you wouldn’t do it to them, why is okay to do it to you? I hope I’ve gotten your attention. If you’re up for it, accept this as an assignment. Spend this week contemplating this question: “If I abhor violence in the world, how is it okay for me to be violent (verbally counts) with myself?”
You may encounter an internal argument about why it’s necessary to be hard on yourself. If you do, gently ask yourself this question, “what would happen if I didn’t believe that?” If your mind comes up with a good argument, ask the question again. Please share with us what you learn.
Melanie Smithson is the author of Stress Free in 30 Seconds: A Slightly Irreverent Approach to Navigating Life’s Challenges and the e-book, Reclaiming an Adult Relationship to Play. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Board Certified Dance Movement Therapist, Certified Sedona Method Coach and co-owns Smithson Clinic, Inc. (www.smithsonclinic.com) with her husband, Gail in Lakewood, Colorado, where they live with their supreme playmate, the four-legged Beatrice. Melanie offers workshops and trainings throughout the world.
To learn more about Melanie, visit www.melaniesmithson.com