Here at FSW, the mission is to help you use your wisdom to grow, pivot, and thrive. But sometimes there are things to do before this, like being tender with yourself.
Wait a minute, Virginia: Why can’t I just barrel through growing now, or start with a 40-point checklist of steps to finish in four hours?
Because…there’s a thing called burn out.
Some might say it’s in the workplace; some may say it happens in homes and relationships, too. I’d like to think that burn out can happen within ourselves when we don’t practice self-tenderness. Self-tenderness doesn’t seem like a real word, but let’s unpack this idea for a second.
There are many cases where we look for tenderness outside ourselves, like a security blanket or feel-good-hug. Maybe we look for that relationship to fill a void, or we keep people at arm’s length to feel safer. Perhaps we want more money, or pile on the activities to do, or climb the career ladder to feel secure or self-love.
Point is, nothing outside yourself can be perfectly tender with you like your inner, loving self. No job. No human. No animal. I type “perfectly,” because there are things outside our control that just aren’t perfect. Loved ones, other people, events, COVID, the economy… the list is long.
What is in our control are our own choices to do our best with what we’ve got at this moment in time. So, let’s look at this holistically, mind, body, and soul.
4 Simple Steps to Engaging In Self-Tenderness:
1) Recognize your uniqueness.
Now, there’s a balance between knowing and owning who you are and not being an ego-maniac. Still, with seven billion people on the planet, that means there have been seven billion births, stories, paths, etc. Today, we are seeing the questioning of outdated status quos and seeing a change that can be positive – unique shifts have been made because of a belief in living better. Some of these shifts occurred in the name of loving others and living with real, deep compassion. Self-love and tenderness are integral to compassionate living, uniqueness, walking your own path, and helping others.
2) Soften the voice of self-hatred.
This step is difficult sometimes and complicated – let’s just put that out there. How easy is it for our minds to run rampant? It’s a thing. We’re here on this planet as humans living and growing via experiences, and sometimes our experiences are incredibly challenging. Sometimes we harm ourselves through self-hatred, which feels belittling, or it feels like we’re in a fog. But there’s a reason why we can try to treat ourselves with more tenderness: we weren’t born hateful. We have all heard messages outside ourselves that push conditions, beliefs, and attitudes our way. Those experiences shape us, but choice-by-choice we can remold our daily life. So, how do we do this?
Next time that voice of self-hatred comes up, consider:
- Where’s this message even coming from (or from whom)?
- Is it even true? Like, really, really true?
- What if this voice sounded less like a nagging, cruel tone and more like a softer, conversationalist that you can more easily address. Take that tone within this inner dialogue, acknowledge it, then reframe it knowing that the tone just stems from scared, hurt humanness.
3) Acknowledge and engage in activities that soothe and sustain you.
Already discussed at FSW are ways in which you can shift feeling powerless, attend to self-care, and pay attention to what you need now.
Think of the soothing activities and try to adapt to the changing times, and I get it’s hard. Can’t get to the gym right now? Do some yoga or do laps around the kitchen table. Can’t take a trip to that national park you’ve always wanted to go to? Look up pictures in a book or on a device, or maybe seek out a virtual tour or videos of a calming place. Listen to audio clips of bird calls or ocean waves. Can’t get a hug right now because of social distancing? Hold a warm cup of tea, wrap yourself in a blanket, and listen to some soothing or chill music, if that’s your thing.
Don’t just “think tender thoughts;” commit to being tender and nurturing to yourself through sensory activities felt with the body.
4) Show yourself tenderness, because you deserve it as a part of this living, changing universe.
This one is abstract, but I fully believe you are an integral part of this place, this Universe. You are a beautiful combination of your body, eternal light, and wisdom, even if you don’t feel like it all the time. Yes, there can be some ugly things in the world, but there is still light, growth, and moments of awe – out there and in you. There is so much we cannot explain or begin to comprehend, but try to see yourself in this large picture of balanced and integrated living, worthy of value and self-tenderness. You deserve it.
What do you think you can do today, mind, body, and soul, to offer tenderness to yourself? What kind of self-hateful talk would you shift? What would your loving, wise Self say to you right now?
Let me know in the comments below how you’ll bring tenderness to yourself more often, or even to others. If you want to keep it private, click here to send me a message. As always, I appreciate the opportunity to help you find that wisdom inside, listen to it, and love it. Namaste, friends.