I recently stumbled across a very interesting study on self compassion performed by researchers at Duke University, Wake Forest University, and Louisiana University. You can read the full study here, but some of the main takeaways from the study were that (I am paraphrasing here):
-People who were self compassionate tended to be more optimistic and had a tendency not to believe that their problems were worse than other people's problems.
-A person with a high level of self compassion experiences feeling of kindness towards oneself, and takes on a nonjudgmental attitude towards their own inadequacies and failures, recognizing that experiencing those failures is normal.
-People who were self compassionate had less sadness, anxiety, and negative feelings.
I found this study so interesting and felt like it parallels so many of the things I have written about here on my blog. I have shared with you guys my own personal story of how when I was younger I did not have much self confidence, or what I consider to be 'true' self confidence. Others probably thought I was confident, and I was outgoing, but the way I spoke to myself was not very kind. It took years for me to build up my own self confidence and what I now know is also self compassion. I started by setting very tiny, small goals for myself. I started with super small, micro goals, and I wrote them down. Part of my problem was that I was always telling people I was going to do these huge things, these giant accomplishments, these large projects, and I never would be able to get it done. I always felt like a failure because I was trying to paint this picture to people of someone I wasn't. Finally I got to the point where I realized that wasn't working for me. People were seeing me as kind of a bullshitter, as someone who talked a big game but didn't follow up, and my own self confidence was chipping away because I never could do what I said I was going to do. One day, I just decided I was going to change. I started by creating tiny goals. Things as small as: I am going to go for a 5 minute walk today. I am going to go to bed by 10:30. I am going to make it to all my appointments/classes on time (I was in college when this started). I am only going to take on projects I know with 100% confidence I can complete. And I wrote every single micro goal down.
In hindsight, it is pretty cool to see how things changed, although at the time I didn't realize how my own self confidence was truly changing. Each time I hit one of my micro goals, I put a big, giant check mark next to the goal. Sometimes I would set the same goal again, and sometimes I would make my next goal just a tiny bit harder. Each time I set a goal, I would write it down on my whiteboard and put a huge check mark next to it when I accomplished it. Slowly but surely, I was building my own self confidence and I started speaking more kindly to myself. I was proving to myself that I actually could say I was going to do something and then actually do it. I didn't have to be the person who 'talked a big game' anymore, because I was setting realistic limits. Instead of feeling like a failure all the time, I started to really feel proud of myself. Of course I had plenty of failures along the way, but I was proving to myself that you could fail with realistic goals that were eventually achievable, instead of failing in pursuit of an unrealistic goal.
Does this sound familiar to you at all? Can you relate to that? Have you ever said you were going to start going to the gym or start eating healthier, only to not follow through and then feel like a failure? I've been there too. Here is the advice I would give you. Start small. Super small. Instead of saying you are going to make it to the gym six days a week, start with one day a week. Or if one day a week is unrealistic, start with a family walk at night to the stop sign at the end of the road and back. When you start small, as you achieve those goals, it builds your confidence and creates an excitement and a snowball effect where you want to achieve the next goal. Instead of saying you are going to eat six small meals a day, start with just drinking enough water. Aim for eight glasses of water. Once you have that down then you can tackle the next step. You can change the conversation in your head from, "I suck, I am such a failure" to "I am so proud of myself for achieving that goal".
The reason for talking about all this, is because this morning I was invited to the Morning Show at Fox 4 Beaumont to talk about this topic. For Breast Cancer Awareness we wanted to do a Beauty Boot Camp segment talking about self love, and I knew the best way for me to talk about this was to share my own experience with a lack of confidence and that once I started speaking kindly to myself, I increased my self confidence, was happier, and as a result, saw better results with my weight loss attempts.
On the Morning Show I shared with you guys some of my favorite tips, and I wanted to make sure they were also in my blog for people who aren't local to Beaumont.
Natural Face Cleanser/Moisturizer:
I learned this little tip from my friend Lindsey Behrens, owner of Behrens Artistry. I have an entire drawer in my bathroom full of face cleansers and moisturizers that I have bought in my life, but this all natural routine works better than any product I've ever purchased. All you need are these two items:
Apple Cider Vinegar ($3-4 at any grocery store usually found in the condiments aisle):
And Virgin Coconut Oil ($5-8 at most grocery stores, usually found near the olive oil or baking aisle):
I keep these two items on my bathroom sink next to a container of cotton balls. Each night after I wash my face I soak a cotton ball (sometimes I need two) with apple cider vinegar and rub that over my face. Then, I take a tiny bit of coconut oil on my fingers (maybe a teaspoon or so) and rub it into my skin. The vinegar will slightly sting, so if you want to dilute it a bit with water that is ok, and make sure not to get too close to your eyes. Apple cider vinegar tightens, brightens and freshens the skin and prevents dry skin and breakouts. The vinegar scent fades as soon as it dries, but if the scent bothers you, you can add a drop or two of any essential oil (lavender or lemon would be great). The coconut oil works as a natural moisturizer and also works great at getting eye makeup off. Your face will be slightly oily when you go to bed, but when you wake up you will have the softest, freshest skin ever. I've told all my sisters and best friends about this routine and they now swear by it too!
At Home Workout:
Tricep Dip: 10 reps
Wall Sit: 30 seconds
Tricep Kickback: 10 reps (per arm)
Step Ups: 10 steps (per leg)
Repeat 3 times
I also talk about a post it note tip that works really well for me and helps to keep my positive self-talk in check, so hopefully you caught the segment and were able to learn about that also.
I hope this post was helpful for you! Do you struggle with speaking kindly to yourself? Have you ever written down your goals before? I would love to hear your stories in the comments below. If you have found something that works great for you that I didn't mention, I would love to hear about it below!