I find that the Christmas and New Year’s holidays bring along a time of personal reflection for me and many other people. The slowing down at the end of the year, receiving cards from old friends, seeing extended family members, etc. makes me revisit the events of the past year and take toll of it all.
It really is a wonderful time of year to sit and reflect on where you are, what you are doing, how you are feeling and what you are planning for yourself for the near future. During such times of reflection, however, we are often quite harsh on ourselves and we are quick to note the negative instead of highlighting the positive. Therefore, I challenge you now to take some time to reflect on yourself and your life in a thoughtful and compassionate manner.
Over the years in practice as a psychologist, I have recognized a theme where people, in general, do not act compassionately and lovingly toward themselves. What I have seen is a trend where people are more than happy to put others above themselves and care for others first, but these same people are often lacking in the self-compassion and self-care departments. On top of that, our society is largely negative and drama driven. As a result, we are often quick to judge others who excel and we are taught to downplay our strengths and feel a sense of embarrassment or even shame about our accomplishments. This self-critical path only leads to negative energy, negative moods and negative consequences, and is one to be avoided.
Instead, let’s take the path less traveled. Let’s pave our own way, because we can, and because it will lead to positive consequences. Let’s take this special time of year to do some personal reflections and begin changing the way we talk to and treat ourselves. Start with some small steps TODAY by saying something like “nice work,” “job well done,” “that was a definite accomplishment,” or “I can and will keep trying because I am improving with every step.” Be kind, compassionate, mindful and purposeful as you reflect on the past year and the year to come. Then, commit to making this style of self talk and personal reflection your own norm instead of an exception.
Article by Dr. Lori
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