I lay down on my mat at the end of my first Level 2 yoga class. It was tough. I had to modify many of the moves and there were some I couldn’t do. As I settled down for our final savasana, I thought to myself, ‘Ok, now I can go over all the things that I did wrong.’
It was at that very moment the yoga instructor softly said, ‘Relax. Let go of your practice. Hold no judgment or thought about what you did. You came. You practiced. What has happened has happened, now it’s time to just be still and rest.’
Her soft words hit me hard.
I had just attended my first advanced yoga class. Sure I found it challenging, but I tried. I gave every posture a go and I stayed until the end. Why was I ready to ignore all the positives and focus on negative thoughts that really were irrelevant and unconstructive?
My yoga instructor’s words stayed with me for a long time. They really made me reevaluate the way I speak to myself and more than that, they made me more aware of what I was choosing to focus on.
Overall, I try to stay very focused and positive. I have a lot of goals and things I want to accomplish and I know they will require discipline and hard work. At the same time, I know I can be very hard on myself. While reality checks are important, harsh, disparaging comments towards myself are not.
Before each round of the Whole Life Challenge, I choose a word or phrase as my focus, such as consistency and positivity. This time around, I’ve decided to use the word: kindness.
Kindness may see like a strange word to have, but I think it’s an important one for me at this point in my life. The kindness that I am talking about, however, is not about kindness to others. Kindness to others comes easily. There’s nothing I enjoy more than teaching, coaching, and mentoring. In fact, it is because of what I have been able to give others that I have been able to get through the past year and a half.
However, when it has come to myself – my thoughts in my head, the words I say to myself, the feelings in my heart … it has been very different. It took me a lot of willpower just to make it through 2018 standing. Now that I’ve made it to 2019, I am going to attempt to do more than just get from one day to the next. This year I want to focus more on actually living each day. It’s still hard for me to say that as I have a lot of lingering survivor’s guilt and grief after losing my brother … but this year I want to be kind to myself.
I want to push myself to work hard and accompany that effort with encouraging words.
I want to be brave and try new things and I want to approach each venture with positivity – and if I do not succeed, then I will learn from my effort instead of criticize myself for not doing well.
I do not want to use the words fail, incapable, or unworthy.
I’ve always believed that if you want different results, you have to do something different. I have followed this through with my actions many times – but I never really changed the way I speak to myself/about myself. I think it’s time to add this to the mix.
This year, I am committing to being my own cheerleader. I am going to accept responsibility when and where appropriate and I am not going to take on burdens that are not mine to carry. I will enthusiastically learn from my mistakes and I will not dwell on errors and moments that do not positively contribute to my forward movement. I will not hold myself back. I will be present. I will be brave. I will finish what I start.
And, as I work on all of these things, I will speak to myself kindly, treat myself kindly, and think about myself kindly.