Lesson for 2013: Kindness to Self

flowersI was recently asked by my friend, the excellent Chicago-based Fundraising Consultant Mark Warner (MDW Consulting), to write a guest column for his January newsletter. I decided that I would share with readers a short list that changed my life in 2012, taken from Howard Schubiner’s excellent book, Unlearn your Pain. Nominally the book is about back pain, but the words below can be used effectively in work and career situations to unblock situations and to help move forward with projects and goals in a positive, healthy way. I have used these with my clients and will continue to do so in 2013. Schubiner’s words are simple, yet powerful, as quoted below:

“One of the most important aspects of…improving your psychological health is to be kind to yourself. I cannot emphasize this enough. It is very easy to develop and maintain a self-critical attitude. I urge you to take time each day to be kind to yourself. You can do this…by catching yourself in self-critical thoughts, and by doing some things for yourself. If you forget a task or don’t finish all the work or errands on your list, be kind to yourself.

Here are some examples of what I mean by being kind to yourself.

  1. Accepting that you are human and that you cannot be everything to everyone.
  2. Accepting your faults and realizing that you are a good person.
  3. Forgiving yourself for your mistakes, just as you would forgive others whom you love.
  4. Learning to say “no” to certain requests.
  5. Sending positive and caring messages to yourself.
  6. Recognizing that many others have been in your situation and have survived and thrived.
  7. Accepting your feeling as being normal.
  8. Catching yourself when you send critical messages to yourself and replacing those with kind and understanding messages.
  9. Figuring out what you need and not being shy about asking for it or taking steps to attain it.
  10. Taking time for yourself to do things just for you or just to allow you to relax and enjoy life.
  11. Standing up for yourself.
  12. Realizing that you are an important person on this earth and that you deserve to be happy and healthy.”

Read this list everyday, and you will find that certain burdens, fears, or concerns will dissipate, freeing your mind and your energy for active pursuit of your goals and happiness. My best wishes to you for a happy, healthy and productive 2013!