Updated: Sep 30, 2021
You’ll notice that I use the word practice ... a lot.
And here’s why.
The vast majority of what we think and how we feel, along with our attitudes, perspectives, reactions, and behaviours are mostly conditioned habits, which we have firmly established over the years with lots of repetition.
Now, if you happen to be living a mostly mindful, content, free-from-suffering life, then kudos my friend, you have my utmost admiration. Sadly, for many of us this is not the case—especially when it comes to Loving and accepting ourselves.
With a sincere commitment to Loving ourselves, we can do a YOU-turn and go on a diet of Self-Love, which trains us to be aware of self-sabotaging, unloving habits and teaches us to consciously replace them with nurturing, self-supporting practices.
Naturally, when we decide to make a change we want to be successful. But habits, by their very nature, are deeply ingrained in our everyday existence. As
a result, they can be tricky to notice, let alone replace. With this in mind, we should expect to make some progress AND, from time to time, fall back into old familiar, often comfortable ways. By acknowledging and accepting this two steps forward, one step back dance, we can approach our unwanted patterns with tremendous self-compassion and an encouraging mindset.
Taking a rigid stance of, “I will change,” sets us up for disappointment and feeling like a failure when we stumble—which will likely happen (Welcome to the human table, pull up a chair). And when we trip up, we’re apt to tell ourselves, “Obviously, I can’t do it.” And, then, we give up.
On the other hand saying, “I will try,” lacks conviction. We’re starting out with self doubt and at the first sign of defeat, we can tell ourselves that we did indeed try but we couldn’t do it. And, then, we give up.
Ah, but when we declare, “I will practice,” it’s implied that slipups are going to occur AND with continued practice, we can—and will—make progress.
Bonus Gift: A Shade of Grey
I tend to be a black or white / all or nothing / in for a dime, in for a dollar (you get the picture) kind of person. And it has not served me well, as reflected in the above examples. So, I’m always searching for shades of grey in my outlook and I found some in cultivating a practice mindset. Expecting and accepting that I’m not going to be perfect right out of the gate (or ever!) enables me to give myself an ever Lovin’ break when I fall short AND invites me to merely continue to practice.
Now, this is HUGE PROGRESS!