dandelion-321297_1920This week a friend whom I like and respect said to me ‘I am trying to be gentle and forgive myself’.

Now what awful crime do you think she committed that would require her to be gentle and forgive herself? Well let me tell you, and sadly, I honestly don’t know how many of you will share my opinion that she is being harsh on herself.

Her crime was…

wait for it ….

she drank a cup of coffee when she was on a detox!

Now this is not a blog on the value of detoxing. That is another blog for another day.

This is a blog about how harsh we are on ourselves. I am aware that a coffee would have made her feel yucky (yes, I believe that is the technical term), but that is not what she was not what she said. She said she had to be ‘gentle’ and ‘forgiving’, for the atrocity of drinking caffeine whilst on a detox.

Why mindset matters

As a coach, I specialise in mindset and part of having a mindset that leads us to take good care of ourselves and make good choices for ourselves is the language we use when we are talking to ourselves.

Now imagine for a moment I had written this at the top of the page:

This week I was talking to a friend and she told me she drank a cup of coffee whilst on a detox and I said to her ‘I am trying to be gentle and forgive you’.

How harsh does that sound?

We have expectations of ourselves we would never put on others, we talk to ourselves in a way we would never find acceptable when talking to someone else.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a really big fan of being gentle and forgiving ourselves, but I think we need to stop and ask is this really something I require forgiveness for?

We are continually setting ourselves up for failure, whether it be in a detox, parenting, friendship, relationships, and work or in business. We set our standards high. We all know that detox is tough (especially the first time), but I felt sad about my friend’s expectations for herself.

And then I looked at my to do list for the day. I felt overwhelmed just looking at it. I am a single Mum raising two children on my own and I run my own business, so this to do list was on top of client time and parenting time. I thought to myself that I want to reduce my output, because it seems like I never get enough done. But I think in hindsight I can get to the end of the day and look more objectively at what I have achieved and instead of looking at what I didn’t get done. I could say to myself what I would say to a friend, giving all the variables: ‘You did good!’ ‘Well done!’ ‘I am proud of you!’

Action tip

If you feel like you haven’t achieved anything because your to do list never seems to get any smaller, try this:

  • At the end of the day, find a nice quiet place. This might be your home office, a bench in the park, a rock by the river. Where ever you feel at peace and inspired.
  • Take a pen and notebook with you. If you have a journal, use that.
  • Write at the top of the page: ‘Things I did today’
  • Then list things you did. They might be big things like ‘launched my own website’, or things that are just hard for you at the moment like ‘got out of bed’. Write down everything you can think of.
  • When you can’t think of anymore, pause and reflect on what you have achieved today. Take time to acknowledge where you’ve succeeded and even, yes, where you can improve. But acknowledge your successes first.
  • Say to yourself: ‘I did well today.’ Really commit to it. Then write ‘I am a success’ next to your list.

Check in with yourself

We are all required to check our self-talk and how it affects our state of mind because if we can learn to be kind to ourselves with our words, then we will stop being so defensive about who we are and we will get to know what is we are passionate about.