Last week I posted about the importance of looking after yourself, and recharging when necessary. I create my posts with insights in mind, and a wish for readers to enjoy the insight, ponder on it maybe, and act on it if necessary.
Let’s take last week’s example…
Insight: Taking time to relax is an important part of looking after yourself
Enjoyment: Ooh yes I’d love a bubble bath – what a good idea!
Potential action: Bubble bath tonight
Ponder: Mmm, yes I do need to take more time for myself – not sure I have time though. Maybe I can make some time tonight. I’ll think about it later.
Ideally, what would happen next is that you would make some “me time” to enjoy a lovely bubble bath, and you would feel really relaxed and recharged for the next day 🙂
Wait a minute! What is this? Thunderbolts of lightning?! What on earth is going on?
The lightning represents the onslaught of negative thoughts you can experience when you dare to put yourself first
Negative thought about a bubble bath: You shouldn’t need to relax, just get on with it
Any thoughts that say you “should”, “must”, “always”, “never” are the most mean, pressurising thoughts you can have:
- You should do housework instead of relaxing, it won’t do itself
- You must go out tonight, even if you are absolutely shattered
- Always say yes if someone asks you a favour, you can’t let them down
- Never expect anyone to help you, you can just do it yourself
Your thoughts can snowball into harsh negative assumptions:
- If you let the housework slide, you are a bad mother and wife
- Your friends will definitely judge you if you cancel plans
- Your reputation for being helpful will be ruined if you say no today
- You are a failure if you need some help, you should be able to do anything
All you wanted to do was something caring for yourself, and you get attacked by negative thoughts. No wonder you feel all over the place – sad, anxious, weak, useless.
- Thoughts are thoughts, they are not facts
- Negative thoughts happen automatically – we can choose how to respond to them
- We can notice our thoughts – we can notice they are negative
- We do not have to engage with or dwell on these negative thoughts
- We could explore evidence for our negative thoughts… OR
- We can simply acknowledge our negative thoughts are there – without them affecting our emotions
Back to the bubble bath…
You shouldn’t need to relax, just get on with it
Acknowledgement: I am experiencing a strong negative thought about this
Q: What would I say to my best friend about them having a bubble bath tonight?
Best friend: You have had a busy day, a bath won’t take long, you deserve a break
If you can be this kind to your best friend, then you can be kind to yourself too 🙂
The lightning may come; the mean thoughts may get triggered, but with practice you can tune into being your own best friend by being kind, caring, and understanding – this self-compassion will help you look after yourself, and nurture your overall level of happiness.
Bubble bath anyone?