I remind myself to be kind to myself and, as slightly as ridiculous as it may sound, to treat myself in the same gentle way I’d want to treat a daughter of mine. It really helps.
Thanks Emma Stone, that doesn’t sound ridiculous at all. Self-love begins with being kind to ourselves, and we can practice it through simple yet powerful reminders like what Emma suggests.
When we are our best selves, speaking to our children, our siblings, or our best friends, we are loving, encouraging and supportive. We see what is beautiful and unique about them. We love and appreciate their strengths, and even more the times they fall and resolve to get back up again and do better. So, how can we use and cultivate that gentle voice towards ourselves?
Here are three tips:
1. Notice your inner dialogue and pause when negative thoughts arise
We have between 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day, but how many of these thoughts are completely loving, encouraging and supportive of ourselves and others?
Negative thoughts often arise when we feel we are lacking something in our lives. For example, you made a mistake at work, and now you feel you may lack the trust, respect, or love of your co-workers. Or, scrolling through your Facebook feed you see that a friend just came back from a vacation, and her pictures make you feel like you lack the time, freedom, and money to do the same. And so, negative thoughts arise that may make us feel worried, embarrassed, annoyed, judgmental, insecure and more. This is when the Emma Stone visualization applies!
Notice when these negative thoughts arise and try to refrain from judgment. Have compassion for yourself, like you would for your son or daughter. These thoughts are normal. Pause and remind yourself that you’re doing fine; life is a work in progress; you’re human. By spotting our feelings of lack before they evolve into insecurity and negative feelings towards others, we strengthen our self-love and emotional well-being.
2. Let go of comparing yourself to others
We so often compare ourselves to others, which makes us experience negativity inside. Our social media lives are the easiest illustration. Others’ picture-perfect lives can make us feel like our own lives are unworthy and unsuccessful in comparison. So what would Emma Stone do?!
Well, first remember that there is no one on this planet like you, so you cannot fairly compare yourself to someone else. And moreover, as humans, we struggle in our own unique ways, which is what makes our life inspiring and rewarding. When we overcome our challenges, we feel joyful, powerful, and accomplished.
So, perhaps a friend just landed a promotion while you are on the hunt for a new job, or a family member announces an engagement when you have recently ended a relationship. Remember, they are on a path completely different from yours, and whether you see it or not, those you compare yourself to are challenged in other ways. As dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov once said – “I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.”
3. Make your “happy place” list
Make a list of the things that lift you up and bring you to a “happy place”, and keep it in your wallet or on your phone. This is the list you can return to when you are having a less than amazing day and feel negative thoughts take over.
Start by picturing the place where you feel totally at ease, calm, happy, and positive. Perhaps, this is even a place you went to as a young girl. Write it down and imagine yourself being there when you’re going through hard times. Think about how it feels, what it smells like, what it looks like, and the people that might be with you.
Then add people you can call, books or quotes you can you read, and a reminder of your best qualities and accomplishments to your “happy place” list, all of which can help you shift your perspective and active kindness towards yourself when negative thoughts arise.