Do to others as you would have them do to you.
The Golden Rule is a cross-cultural ethical principle throughout the world. We teach our kids to treat others well by considering how they would like to be treated. That’s the standard of social interaction.
But what about ourselves?
I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to treat myself miserably. This may be surprising, given that I’m very holistic and big into every self-development and personal care trend out there. I’ve studied different methods for years, worked through healing, learned different mindsets, completed workshops, you name it.
However, my internal monologue is still quite unfavorable despite all my efforts. I don’t give myself nearly enough credit, grace, understanding or space. I have to remind myself constantly to be my own friend. In other words, I need to learn to reverse this rule into myself and use it as a reminder to cut myself a little slack once in awhile.
In all honesty, I’ve been in a major rut lately. We have an infant in the house that we were elated to bring home through the journey of adoption. That journey was long and challenging and even though we waited and invested into every part of it joyfully and with intention, that doesn’t make it easy. Like any new mom or new-again mom, I had a high standard (read: perfectionist) of my ability to smoothly transition. Then COVID-19 came along and everything changed again. Mentally, I knew all the “it’s not easy” and “allow some time” statements of this period for our family, but as I was saying those things to others around me I noticed I was not repeating them to myself.
How could I turn this around?
Write Yourself a Letter
There is an exercise that I often suggest to friends or clients when they are feeling down on themselves: write yourself a letter as your own best friend. So I did just that. I wanted to discover what it would feel like to receive some compassion from myself. I realized as I wrote that I kept going farther back in time; my negative self-talk was not even based on current events, but actually rooted in some past trauma from which I still struggle to disconnect from. It really helped me refocus my energy and gain some clarity and perspective on myself.
Realize Your Strengths
As I was struggling to improve my positive self-talk, I thought back to my years as a manager in professional settings. Every new employee we brought on was provided with some training, orientation and time to work into the responsibilities of their new role. I am now a stay-at-home mom with an infant and an elementary school student whom I’m educating at home. That’s my new role. We’re just starting to get into a flow; it didn’t happen overnight. Now a few months in, I’m slowly feeling more effective in my duties throughout the day.
This may be just for today, but I can still count in weeks my time in this new “position.” I’d say having a few great days on the job in the first couple months is pretty good. If I were reviewing an employee I would give them high remarks at an initial review. Yet, when it comes to myself I struggle to give any wiggle room. I have a tendency to set my own expectations so high that I can’t possibly meet them. Does this sound familiar?
Reverse the Golden Rule for yourself and treat your self how YOU want to be treated. Look at the various areas of your life and your roles, and check in with yourself from time-to-time.
Words of Affirmation
I will NOT let thoughts control the way I feel today.
When challenges arise I will take a breath, stay positive and work on a solution.
My life is beautiful right now with all the positive and negative things in it.
I am enough and I am complete!
I repeat these 4 simple reminders to myself as if coming from my own friend. As I speak the Golden Rule into my children and try to teach them how to treat others, I only hope to be a guiding example of also how I treat myself and how they should treat themselves. I can’t forget that in addition to helping them share, be respectful and kind, that they need to learn how to treat themselves, too.
I want to instill in them that family, friends and responsibilities are important and that we should keep our commitments to others and to ourselves. Am I keeping commitments to myself or am I dropping myself for everyone else?
Today I will reverse this Golden Rule and treat myself like I would any other beautiful mom out there; with more compassion, less judgement and heart-felt appreciation for every effort throughout the day.