Learning and Development Specialist Natalie Papini reminds us of the importance
of accepting yourself as you are, being kind to yourself and staying positive
on Evaluate Your Life Day.
Did you know that October 19th is ‘Evaluate Your Life Day’!?
Maybe you’ve been waiting for this day all year or maybe, like me,
you just found out that this is an actual thing. We’ve talked before
about the importance of reflecting on your goals, desires, and core values
and how they relate to your Profile journey.
While it is crucial to identify your core values and use them to help you
make your everyday lifestyle choices, it’s also important to treat
yourself with kindness. When you think about evaluations, its likely that
things like job performance or finances come to mind, but how often do
you take a step back to evaluate the way you treat yourself? Here are
two things to consider in order to develop a mentality that will allow
you to positively celebrate ‘Evaluate Your Life Day’ and focus
on how far you’ve come rather than how far you still have left to go:
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then
I am free to change.” –Carl Rogers
The message here is simple: when you accept who you are and where you are
in your journey, you are liberated to move forward to where you want to
be. How much time and energy do you waste dwelling on your current situation
(eating habits, weight, level of activity, etc,) in comparison to the
habits you envision for yourself at your goal weight? How many times do
you browse social media, only to compare yourself to others and make yourself
In a society preoccupied with self-loathing and constant evaluation of
how you stack up against your peers, you can choose to accept who you
are in this moment instead of fixating on who you are not. The energy
you expend obsessing over the reasons you’re not meeting your self-imposed
standards can be redirected toward making a positive change. When you
refuse to accept who you are right now, you put undue pressure on yourself
that is often the very thing that will keep you from changing for the better.
When was the last time you treated yourself as you would treat a good
friend? Let’s use the following scenario to illustrate this concept:
You had every intention of getting to the gym this morning before work,
but the snooze alarm lured you back into bed, and before you knew what
happened, it was time to get to the office.
How you respond to yourself can ebb and flow between being your own worst
critic to being a kind and understanding friend (and everything in between).
Let’s take a look at the differences between the following self-talk:
“I’m a lazy slob and it’s no wonder I’m not losing
weight as fast as I want to,” or “I must have been really
tired! I know I can get to the gym at a later time if I choose to do so.
Sleep and being well-rested is really important too.”
When confronted with a situation like this, ask yourself in the moment
“What would I say to my best friend if he or she found themselves
in this situation?” Chances are, you would opt to be supportive
instead of calling them “lazy slobs.” If this is so, then
why is it acceptable to say those things to yourself? Research suggests
that people believe they need to be self-critical to remain motivated
under the false assumption that they would be self-indulgent and lazy
if they were to show themselves the same kindness, care, and concern that
they show others.
In reality, findings indicate that individuals who treat themselves in
a kind way experience fewer bad feelings and, in turn, engage in healthier
behaviors. Research* shows that self-criticism actually works against
you to undermine your motivation to change. One way to jump-start your
Profile journey is to let go of being the “bad cop” and start
giving yourself the empathy, warmth, and acceptance you give to others.
So on this day (and every day for that matter) as you evaluate your life,
be kind to yourself. Doing so will transform the way you feel about yourself
and help you obtain the resolve it takes to navigate your journey successfully
and arrive at the place you envisioned when you started.
Davidson, R. (2007, Oct.). Changing the Brain by Transforming the Mind.
The Impact of Compassion Training on the Neural Systems of Emotion. Paper
presented at the 13th annual Mind and Life Institute Conference, Emory
University, Atlanta, GA.
Rockliff, H., Gilbert, P., McEwan, K., Lightman, S., & Glover, D.
(2008). A pilot exploration of heart rate variability and salivary cortisol
responses to compassion-focused imagery. Journal of Clinical Neuropsychiatry,
Rockliff, H., Karl, A., McEwan, K., Gilbert, J., Matos, M., & Gilbert,
P. (2011). Effects of Intranasal Oxytocin on 'Compassion Focused Imagery'.
Emotion. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0023861