*Updated March 10, 2018
So much about living a full and rich life is having a genuine, loving relationship with yourself, yet because we’re wired to run from pain, we tend to take off when things get rough.
Maybe you spend your time focusing on others and their struggles to avoid your own.
Maybe you numb out with food or shopping or the internet.
Listen, I’m as guilty as the rest of them, so this week I’m sharing five tools I use to get me to hang around with me a little more often in hopes of helping you stay in close contact with your magnificent self.
So without further ado, here are my Five Essential Tools to Be Your Own Bestie:
1. Journal. Having a beautiful journal you can turn to when you need to unload, process, grieve, vent, or get centered is a must. What often stops people from using it is the idea that you need to write in it every day or that the entries must be profound prose.
My journal is a friend who is always nearby and available when I need it. In my way. On my terms.
It feels great to use it to empty my brain, dialogue with Little Kerri, or write angry letters to situations or people who have pissed me off. Unlike some human sounding boards, I don’t have to worry about my journal trying to “fix” my dilemma, one-up me with a worse challenge, or offer unsolicited advice.
Being a less-than-daily journaler used to stop me from ever reaching for it because, after all, the “experts” say you should journal every single day. Nope. Not this girl. At times, I may go months without opening it. Other times, it’s with me wherever I am. I get to decide how I use it and when. And that’s pretty freeing and incredibly empowering.
2. Happy Moments Jar. “Gratitude” is quite the buzz word and for good reason. When you intentionally identify what you’re grateful for, you train yourself to look for the positive, and when you look hard enough for something, you’ll find it.
So, instead of searching for evidence of how hard life is or how shitty your luck is, spend a couple minutes each day documenting things for which you are grateful.
I keep a square, glass vase on my desk. I think of a highlight from my day, write it down, and add it to this Happy Moments Jar. I do this for the full year (almost every day), and then, on New Year’s Eve, I open the jar and read them all.
I write my highlight on the back of that day’s page from my Louise Hay’s You Can Do It daily desk calendar. That way, I have the memory, the date, and an affirmation from that day.
3. Belief Book. This is a great tool to help you flip a blocking belief. If you’ve recently identified some thinking that’s getting in your way, such as “I’ll never get my act together,” “I’ll always be broke,” or “It’s not safe to be seen,” spend some time creating an opposite, empowering belief and use your Belief Book to train your brain to think in this new way.
I know, I know. How many journals, books, and papers can you have on your nightstand, but it’s a good idea to keep this one there as well. You’ll pull it out only when you’re working on flipping a belief.
Once you have your new, empowering phrase or affirmation that directly counteracts the blocking belief that’s tripping you up, write it 10 times each night, right before bed. Do this for as long as you need to feel it take root, but at least, one week.
Planting the new belief seeds when you’re about to have the best access to your subconscious (when you’re sleeping) is powerful stuff.
For more steps to flip a limiting belief, check out this blog post.
4. Photo of yourself as a child. Having this handy and visible is a fast way to reconnect your young, creative, deep-feeling self with the responsible, taskmaster, grown-up self. Looking into the face of yourself as a child makes it easier to stop the negative ticker tape running in your head. It makes you pause before saying something like “I’m such an idiot!” or “I look so fat in this.” Would you say those things to that sweet little girl or boy? I doubt it.
I keep my photo on the side of my refrigerator and I look at her often. I imagine what kind of loving messages she could use and I silently encourage her, reassure her, and remind her of just how freakin’ awesome she is.
Taking care of myself in this way helps me feel safer to play bigger in the world, be braver in my business, make healthier choices in my life, and deepen relationships by practicing vulnerability. Yup, all this from my kindergarten school picture.
5. A kudos file. There may be times when, no matter how deeply you dig, you cannot come up with evidence of why you don’t suck. Enter, the kudos file. Anytime you receive an email, social media comment, greeting card, or any other kind of note where someone has expressed how great, beautiful, thoughtful, brave, smart, you are, file it away in a folder marked “kudos.” I have both an electronic folder and a regular file folder.
On days when I am feeling particularly low, unmotivated, unproductive, fat, ugly, or afraid, I read some of my kudos notes to get back in touch with some self-love and compassion. And you know what? It works.
You are with you the most so isn’t it worth cultivating this relationship more than any other?
OK, your turn. I’d love to know what tools you use to learn, grow, and take exceptional care of your sweet self. Let’s chat in the comments below.