Becoming More Comfortable With YourselfMay 11, 2022
Where do our biggest mental and emotional problems come from? Well, they can oftentimes stem from our own perceptions and opinions of ourselves. Happiness and fulfillment are many times less about what happens to us than they are about how we interpret and react to people, events, and surroundings.
A rich man can be poor in spirit, and a poor man can be wealthy and satisfied. Someone with a hundred “friends” can feel all alone and angst-ridden, and a person who lives alone can feel connected and comfortable.
If someone pays us a compliment, it only makes us feel good if we internalize that compliment, and if someone throws judgement or harsh words at us, those things only make us feel terrible if we cling to them and take them seriously.
In the past I've written about little pieces of wisdom that I’ve seen over the years printed on Yogi brand tea packages (I knew I saved them for something!), and in this post I continue with that reflection.
The aphorisms that I’m focusing on in this post are specifically geared toward making us stronger and more content internally. Because if we don’t have that inner love and strength—that comfort level with ourselves—then the stress and vagaries of the outside world can toss us this way and that.
Love yourself more this month. Find little ways to get more comfortable with yourself, and the rest of the world will begin to look a little brighter in return.
“Practice compassion, forgiveness, and kindness.”
If you want to break away some of the “sludge” that might be clogging up your mind and heart and preventing you from experiencing calm, joy, or optimism, then this is a good place to start. And we need to apply this dictum of compassion not only to our family, friends, and the outside world, but to ourselves.
How much time and energy do we waste dwelling on ways in which others have wronged us (in ways real or perceived)? And how often have we allowed those wrongs to affect our self-perception?
Also, how much time do we waste in a “spirit of competition” with the outside world? And how often does all of this add up to us dwelling on our own past mistakes or allowing a mean-spirited voice to infect our head on a given day?
Get past the negativity and move forward with compassion, forgiveness, and kindness. Both toward others, and toward yourself.
“Self-reliance is the greatest art.”
We all need love and support. And at times—especially when we are on our last dollar or at the end of our proverbial mental and emotional ropes—we need to rely on the compassion, advice, and even charity of others. But in the long run, a spirit of self-reliance is going to ensure that we can survive future calamity and, at the end of the day, be content with our own company during prosperous times.
Learn how to rely on yourself more, learn how to trust yourself more, and learn how to love yourself more. That way, no matter where you go and no matter how good or bad the fortunes of the day, you will be okay.
“Socialize with compassion, kindness, and grace.”
I think that this one is especially useful for people like me, people who have traditionally struggled with a little bit of social anxiety. Because what is social anxiety, at its heart? It is often a fear that we are being negatively judged, that we aren’t good enough. It is a hyper-focus on self instead of a healthy focus on the needs, opinions, and companionship of others.
No matter if social anxiety is a struggle for you or not, take this one to heart and try to truly “connect” with those around you the next time you are socializing. Ask questions about them, and really listen when they give answers. Give them compassion, kindness, and attention, and see if that has the pleasant byproduct of putting you into a better emotional place.
“Experience will give you wisdom.”
The beauty of this phrase is that it allows you to envision yourself growing with each day of your life. Succeed or fail, we are constantly able to gain wisdom just by existing and trying. I know from experience that the greatest wisdom in my life wasn’t gained from school curriculum or work training. Rather, it was gained from experience. From personal triumphs, and mistakes. From times of intense pain, too.
Approach each week of your life with an open heart, knowing that succeed or “fail," pleasure or pain, you are getting wiser and stronger. Keep gaining little bits of life experience each week, and think about how that is leading to your growth.
“Happiness comes from contentment.”
Usually we spend our days thinking about what we want to be "different" in our lives. We think about how we need to elevate our educational or professional standing, we think about how we can improve our social standing, and we think about how we need to earn more money. We think about how we need to change our diet, how we need to change our thinking, and how we need to just CHANGE in general. We plan for newer cars, bigger houses, more efficient personal routines, and on and on.
And goals are important.
But do we take time to simply be content?
Today, take a deep breath and forget about advancement for a moment. Forget about proving yourself. Forget about changing. Think of everything you have to be grateful for—your home, your car, a job that provides, a relationship you treasure, a little bit of free time, a pet or child that brings you joy, the fact that you aren’t in the middle of a war, an aspect of your health that is in order, etc.—and allow that focus to bring you contentment. As I try to remind my coaching clients (and myself), “You are right where you need to be in God’s plan for you today.”
I hope that these reflections have given you something peaceful and positive to think about today. Until next time,
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