Most of the time, we remember to congratulate other people’s accomplishments, to appreciate their actions and to celebrate the beauty we see in them. Likewise, when a loved one makes a mistake or when we see a negative side of that person, we can sincerely tell ourselves that it is entirely normal to make mistakes, and that they will learn from them.
But how do we treat ourselves? Do we show ourselves the same care, love, and compassion that we show to the people around us? How kind are we to ourselves? Can we show ourselves even more compassion?
It’s not always easy to celebrate what we have, to appreciate what we have experienced, or to thank ourselves for our achievements. We can be cruel to ourselves, focusing on our negative sides, failures and mistakes. There is a critical voice inside us that whispers, “You did it wrong, you failed, this accomplishment was just a coincidence.” Most of the time, these are the internalized opinions of others based on the relationships we have had and the things we have learned and observed since childhood. These voices have been with you for so long and sound so real that they may not be so easy to silence. This is very understandable, yet it is possible to add new voices that are compassionate and understanding, in order to slightly lower the volume of the others.
To do this, start by looking at yourself from the outside rather than the inside. If you could look at yourself as if you were a close friend or loved one, what would you see and what would you congratulate yourself for? It may not be so easy at first to mute that critical inner voice that has been with you for years, but don’t let that get you down. It’s because you’ve fallen out of the habit. Fortunately, habits can be changed, new habits can be acquired, and the mind can be transformed. Past experiences, memories, and negative experiences may make it difficult to recognize and articulate the positive aspects of your life. We all have painful experiences, but we can celebrate who we are by focussing on the positive and the good in our lives, and on what we can accomplish. It is up to us whether or not to notice and focus on what we are capable of, our achievements, and the things in your life that we are grateful for. As you practice this more and more, your perspective, as well as your attitude towards your mistakes and negative situations, will become more gentle, understanding, and compassionate. Plus, you shouldn’t save your congratulations and celebrations just for your greatest accomplishments. Start with small, concrete, and relevant moments. To begin with, congratulate yourself for having come so far without giving up, despite the many hardships in your life. For being here right now and dedicating time to goodness. There are countless moments in our lives that we fail to notice since they seem normal, and yet which we can still celebrate.
You may feel guilty or constantly regret the mistakes you have made or things you could not do in the past. You may not be able to show yourself the same understanding that you show to others by telling yourself, “It’s ok, people make mistakes.” In fact, just remembering that you are human allows you to approach yourself with understanding, affection and kindness. Realize that you do not always have to do the right thing, and can make mistakes. Also, congratulate yourself for being able to create this space for yourself. Yes, you will need to admit that your mistakes may have caused some problems in your life. However, neither you nor your life is solely defined by your mistakes. By reminding yourself of this, you can approach yourself with compassion and calmly decide how to handle your mistakes. Besides, making mistakes is not always a bad thing. Our mistakes can show us the truth and what we actually need. One way to live a satisfying life is to accept your positive or negative experiences, what you have done, and congratulating yourself for every step you take. You are a whole, including things you can and cannot do, you love and do not like, things that make you angry, sad, and happy. Life is a collection of all your experiences. Now, you can take a breath. After reading or listening to this article, take a moment think about what comes to mind and congratulate yourself for fitting so many experiences into your life.