Minutes to hours. Hours to days. Days to weeks. Weeks to months to years. Seasons. Relationships. Homes. Jobs. Identity. Child to teen to adult. Every cell in our bodies. How we see ourselves. . . .
Everything in life is a transition filled with change—beginnings, middles and endings. Some of these transitions happen so subtlety we hardly notice, little by little. These waves of life can occur suddenly, sometimes feeling like we’ve run into a brick wall. Regardless, transitions will come, the unsteady ground, the slippery slope. While we experience many positive transitions and shifts, I want to spend some time on those moments that feel less than positive and downright hard!
So much of how we flow, or not, through transitions is dependent on our mindsets, our view of the world. We have learned tools and coping mechanisms for change from a very young age, some of them more helpful than others.
Life comes along just at the moment we think we have it all figured out, and shakes things up again. In these times we can find ourselves running astray from tools and practices we know will provide a soft landing, or at least one where we don’t crash and burn. Whether the impetus is external, internal, or both(!), we can find ourselves in a slump, making choices (consciously or subconsciously) that are less than optimal.
Last week I was in one of these slumps. Depression reared it’s head. Even though I “know” better, I strayed from things that help, things that inspire me and keep me steady. Low energy prevailed and I skipped many workouts, I ate foods I know negatively impact my emotional state. I spent too much time on social media and started down the rabbit whole of comparison and feelings of less-than. I watched too much news and started to feel withdrawn and isolated. My inner critic, which I’ve worked with for years to embrace and understand, said “Who are you to do these things? What value do you bring? And by the way, you shouldn’t be feeling this way because you have it good.” Woe is me, etc., etc.
One morning late last week after finishing my daily meditation practice I felt acute awareness of how I had strayed from the things/practices/tools I can influence, things I can control, practices that give me peace. Thankfully my training kicked in, and with it a flood of self-compassion. Acknowledging life is filled with challenges and difficulties, offering myself some kindness, and trusting I had a way to move forward again, and again. This self-compassion did not make excuses for my choices, it did not ridicule me. This compassion reminded me there will always be highs and lows, but by offering kindness I am empowered to hit “reset.”
In these times, practices like meditation, or mindfulness, journaling, a nightly rating (how did I do today on a scale of 1-10), asking trusted friends or family for honest feedback, can help grow our awareness—half the battle is acknowledging a shift, seeing that you are in it. What tools do you have to grow and maintain awareness? How do you check in with yourself?
Once acknowledged, it’s time to take a moment to offer yourself some kindness! This can be hard for people, but know that those who practice self compassion regularly have greater growth mindset.
1. Take a breath in, and acknowledge you are experiencing suffering.
2. Take another breath, and offer yourself some kindness—it’s going to be ok.
3. Take another breath and remember someone out there is, or has, felt exactly the way you do know. You are not alone.
This mini-practice was inspired by the great work of Kristin Neff, a leading researcher on self-compassion.
Try this practice tonight and see how it feels. Later tomorrow I’ll post Part 2 which will explore a bit more on self-compassion and get into my view on the reset—what that might mean, how you might do it, and you’ll get a first glimpse of a new offering coming to my website, The Daily Reset. Stay tuned and thank you for reading!