Most of us have been hammered with the Golden Rule…”do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” And mostly, we do.
The question today is, “How do you treat yourself?”
Jordan Peterson, author of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, suggests that you turn the Golden Rule towards yourself…that you treat yourself as though you were someone you were responsible for helping.
Too often we’re harder on ourselves than we are on others. Kristin Neff, professor at the University of Texas at Austin, suggests via her neuroscience research that we’re hard wired to care for our friends in need. “We aren’t threatened when a friend fails, says Neff. “When we ourselves fail, however, our self-concept gets threatened and our body reacts with the fight/flight/freeze response. We attack ourselves, we judge ourselves and/or we feel isolated.”
How can we treat ourselves better so our best selves can shine?
- To make better decisions, think of your best friend. What would you tell your best friend to do in a particular situation? What advice would you give to someone else? Dan Ariely with Duke University suggests “taking the outside perspective” by “loving yourself as your neighbor.”
- To be healthier, think of your dog or your cat. The pet industry is booming. Why? People buy healthier food for their pets than they buy for themselves. People are more likely to take their dogs for more walks/hikes than they do on their own without a dog. People are more likely to fill and use prescription medicines properly for their dog/cat than they are for themselves. Be as kind, generous, loving to yourself as you are to your pet.
- To be happier, think of your Grandma. Imagine your Grandma who loves you saying kind words to you. Imagine the safe place your Grandma created for you. Imagine your Grandma patting you on the back or giving you a hug as a way to communicate how proud she was of you. Do all those things for yourself.
- To be more confident, think about reframing the observations made by your inner critic so that you talk to yourself in your head with kind, friendly positive words. When you beat up on yourself, whose job is it to defend you?
- Remember that the one person in your life who is available 24/7 to provide you with care and kindness is you.
- Also remember what you do to help someone when you really love him or her. Show that same love towards yourself.
Kristin Neff’s research indicates that being compassionate towards others and being compassionate towards yourself are two separate things. You have to create the habit of being compassionate towards yourself. Train the voice in your head, truly the only voice that matters, to be as kind, as generous, as compassionate, as loving towards yourself as it is to others and voila, your best self will feel safe to appear and sparkle.