How do you show up for your best self?
Let’s face it: living through a pandemic has been hard on the best of us. Constantly being forced to adapt and re-evaluate how we live and work is understandably exhausting. And what’s worse, in our efforts to take care of others, we so often completely forget to take care of ourselves. But how can we fully show up for others when we’re not showing up for our best selves? How can we possibly live our best lives without including ourselves in our efforts to care, protect, and love?
Demonstrating care and affection for ourselves begins with self-compassion for our suffering no matter the degree or severity because denying our suffering makes us more prone to self-sabotage.
Practicing self-compassion means acknowledging that we may be engaging in self-sabotage: we anticipate a real or imagined obstacle to living our best life and use it as an excuse for inaction. We practice true self-compassion when we recognize this as an ineffective mechanism against suffering and notice this behavior.
As a clinical psychologist and author Alice Boyes, Ph.D., writes for Harvard Business Review, practicing self-compassion has four components:
- Practicing a kind tone (and language) that appeals to you.
- Accepting pain and suffering is part of being human.
- Allowing and recognizing all feelings (without attachment).
- Anticipating that you can and will do the best you can at any point in time.
Self-sabotage can be insidiously subtle, and we must stay mindful of our bad habits if we are to teach ourselves to shift our awareness toward self-compassion.
When the topic of self-sabotage comes up with my coaching clients [link to your services or testimonials], we talk about how cunning self-sabotage can be, especially for highly intelligent and successful people. For example, resting on past accomplishments (too much positive thinking) can sabotage future success.
Here are eight other ways we self-sabotage:
- Negative thinking (“I’m not good enough.”)
- Withholding/silence (Not contributing/responding/offering ideas.)
- Delaying action (Failing to act.)
- Excuse making (“I don’t have the time/resources.”)
- Failure to accept responsibility (Similar to excuse-making, we may point to others or circumstances outside our control.)
- Adopting a “good-enough” attitude to avoid failure/rejection. (Becoming too risk-averse.)
- Focusing more on feelings rather than facts. (Creating stories to justify avoiding responsibilities)
- Allowing (or encouraging) distractions to derail us. (Procrastination and focusing on low-priority tasks)
I’ll admit it…#1 and #8 get in my way of showing up as my best self. What about you? How frequently do you recognize your self-sabotaging thoughts and feelings and what are your techniques for shifting your self-sabotage into self-compassion? I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me here and on LinkedIn.