How many times a week do we have to reset our computer programs, update our various apps and log out and try again? Although this can cause stress and take some time we figure it is needed and we do it to keep things running in the correct manner. We need to take the time to reset ourselves as well. As a season change approaches, we are often hard on ourselves for not keeping New Year’s commitments or various other things we thought we would do for ourselves or our life. We often look at the things we have not done, kept up with or changed and become our own worst critics. We all are very negative to ourselves at times, when we may just need to refresh the page and be kind to ourselves.
So how do we do this in our hectic, often negative world? Well, think small to start. Can you reevaluate with a “best friend” perspective? Often when we view ourselves, we are very critical, negative, and psychologically “beat ourselves up”. Let’s try viewing ourselves from a “best friend” perspective, with a kind and gentle approach, knowing that we are trying our hardest and that’s OK. This is also often referred to as “Wise Mind” in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). This approach encourages you to bring in the emotional and reasonable, rational and thinking parts of yourself to centered and become wise. This is often a state that people struggle to acquire. It can be obtained through a “Mindfulness Practice”
My favorite author on Mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh, describes this practice as: “Mindfulness shows us what is happening in our bodies, our emotions, our minds, and in the world. Through mindfulness we avoid harming ourselves and others” Dan Siegel states, “Mindfulness, in its most general sense, is about waking up from a life on automatic, and being sensitive to the novelty in our everyday experience.” The Mayo Clinic has a definition also. “Mindfulness is the act of being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling at every moment- without interpretation or judgement”
All that can sound pretty amazing as well as difficult. It can be, let’s go back to trying to treat and listen to ourselves as we would a best friend. We are never as critical to a best friend as we are to ourselves. We listen, enjoy and take care of best friends. So, start simple, reboot yourself with a walk outdoors, a yoga class, a free afternoon, and a few kind words to yourself and enjoy a new season or rebirth.
CATHRYN E. KNEZEVICH
M.ED., LPCC DBT IOP DIRECTOR