Breathing Room (+ Freedom) July 21, 2013 08:00


I bet you don't give yourself much of it, do you?
Now, I don't just mean giving yourself room to move and breathe comfortably, although that's just as important. When I talk about breathing room, I mean being self-compassionate and being able to forgive yourself so that you can move forward.
Let's be honest now. Giving ourselves room to breathe is just another one of those things we often say we'll do, but flounder with when it comes to actually doing being more patient, practicing gratitude, remembering the daily joys in life, taking real breaks, and not thinking about work every waking moment.
But when you're caught struggling, making mistakes, feeling lost, battling with insecurity or stumbling into failure, your ideas (hopes, dreams) can feel like they're closing in on you. Overwhelming you. And to make matters worse, let me guess...
You punish yourself.
You call yourself out on all your perceived flaws, feel guilty about stepping away from work, worry about what other people think/say about you, and blame yourself for not being stronger. Maybe you've even expressed some variation of the following:
Idiot. What's the point? No one will ever take you seriously. You're a useless nobody!
The chaos of your own self-deprecating thoughts can feel like they're swirling uncontrollably around you. Honestly, sometimes I wish there was just an "off" switch to simply shut them down. Although such an option doesn't exist, there is another way...
Listen and (re)discover the good within yourself...because it's there.
You just need to give yourself the chance to plant the seeds.
Yes, it's always tougher to remember your best self, but you deserve better and so does the work you have to offer to the world. Deep down, the seeds of self-compassion are fighting for the space to grow. Give them the freedom to take root by asking yourself:
What accomplishments have I made in the past or today? What can others always count on me for?
No matter how big or small, take a few minutes to write them down, now. Please? ;) If you're not sure or if your mind is feeling too cluttered by your own thoughts, then ask someone else who knows you well.
And if you catch yourself getting caught up in the tangles of your own negativity and personal takedowns again, pause, take a breath, ask yourself these questions again and repeat.
I know it's not easy. After all, most of us aren't masters at being our own cheerleaders, but in the end we have to be.
What does your inner critic like to say to you and how do you like to handle it?