Isn't it time we treated ourselves the way we treat others?
"Treat others the way you'd like to be treated" Quite often a phase we're reminded of and certainly one many do their best to achieve. Yet what happens when we turn that quote on it's head?
Let's imagine a friend whom you see relatively often. The friend is having a really tough time trying to juggle all the pressures that daily life is throwing at her. The stress is beginning to take its toll and she's started to wake at night.
Because she is tired, the morning routine has worsened. She gets up later, is more disorganised and there is often chaos at the breakfast table. The kids are playing up. She can't give them adequate attention. Her parents are absent. She doesn't even get to spend time with her husband. She's lost her way and feels like she's on a hamster wheel of life not able to get out of the vicious circle.
Already we're thinking up potential solutions, making assumptions, wondering how we can help, what to say - if we haven't already said it.
We might offer to help, provide childcare, or suggest she take time out. Most of all we take that time to listen. We ensure we know what's up; even if that means we listen to her cry. Lots. Bottom line, we're there for her.
If we're physically near during the conversation, we might even reach out and give her a hug, or gently rub her back to soothe her. Ultimately we give that friend the time they deserve. We are there. We are still. We listen, we're non-judgemental, we're positive and uplifting, and we provide words of encouragement.
It's a wonderful thing to have a friend like that.
So why do we not treat ourselves with the same compassion?
By turning the quote on its head, we can take time for ourselves, reflect and write down our concerns. We can brainstorm, be quiet and reflective and consider what we really want as opposed to just keep working ourselves hard in a fire-fighting scenario. Most of all we can be positive, encouraging and optimistic and we can believe we can do it.
Let's start treating ourselves the way we would treat others.
Yesterday, I sat with my daughter to write whilst she worked through her maths homework. Let's just say maths is not something she currently enjoys. She got to a question that stopped her in her tracks and quite dismissively she wanted to quit.
"I can't do this Mummy. It's so hard."
So after the chat about how I know she really can do it, how she's tackled things beforehand that now she finds easy, how I explored what it was that she found so difficult, I asked what she would do if her friend was stuck and couldn't do something.
"I'd tell her she could do it."
With that there was the light bulb moment, a little smile and she knew she could too.
"So I can really do this can't I?" she asked with a little cheeky smile.