For me, the best way to improve our wellbeing – on all levels – is to develop our awareness of what’s really going on within ourselves. To do this, it’s important to have a sense of open curiosity along with a deep compassion for our Self – to understand that we really were doing the best we could at the time, with the knowledge and resources we had available to us in that moment.
Looking back from where we are now, it’s easy for us to judge ourselves and to be critical: Why did I do that stupid thing? I should have known better! I should have said / done things differently!
But we ‘forget’ that in the now we have the benefit of learning from what happened, and also we’re no longer in the emotional intensity of that moment.
So, for me, the first thing for us to do is to pay attention to our self-talk. We are often our own worst critic! But when we speak critically and pick on someone’s faults, it feels like an attack and puts them on the defensive. And it’s no different when we’re talking to our Self. If, on the other hand, we can talk gently, with open curiosity, and just explore what happened, how we felt, and why we responded in the way that we did, it offers us great opportunities for learning more about ourselves, our needs, and where these aren’t currently being met. This then opens the door for us to respond with deep self-care, giving ourselves the time and space we need in order to address the issues that have come to light.
Another vital step is self-forgiveness. Often this can be a real challenge! It’s not about ‘letting ourselves off the hook’ but rather about facing the discomfort of really acknowledging the choices we’ve made and where they didn’t serve us, then choosing to let them go and to learn how to respond differently next time.
When we can take these steps, it helps us to let go of fear, guilt, anxiety and self-loathing and instead to build self-confidence, assurance and esteem. It also supports feelings of balance, groundedness, and overall wellbeing.