>”…self-transformation doesn’t happen overnight…”
I read that in the Feb. 2011 issue of Yoga Journal. There’s a really great article in this issue called Nuture the New You…I needed something like that about right now.
It starts out like this:
“Every resolution to change begins with a burst of hope. You feel great when you do yoga, so you vow to practice every day. Or maybe you realize that your afternoon coffee breaks drain your energy, so you pledge to cut back. When you make these promises, you feel light hearted, elated, perhaps even connected to your higher Self. You’re ready to honor your longing for health and happiness. And deep down, you know you’re up to the challenge.
But after the initial enthusiasm wears off and you hit your first setback (the tempting latte, the skipped yoga practice), your inner critic pipes up, “What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you make this simple change?” The voice gets louder and meaner, and soon self-doubt creeps in. Perhaps you try to rally by setting stricter goals, or maybe you decide the resolution isn’t so important after all. Either way, your inspiration fades — and poof! — your old habits return.”
That intro could have been written about me. That is exactly what happens with me.
I am so hard on myself. Things I would never say to a friend or loved one, I wouldn’t hesitate to say to myself. And as this article asks…if we know that it doesn’t help, then why do we do it?
The article says that we do it because we are mistaking the behavior we want to change for who we are rather than just a bad habit we want to ditch. Right there is my disconnect. So wait a minute…I want to stop being unhealthy…so I try to change this by starting new habits and trying to stay away from the old. It works out just fine for about 3-4weeks…sometimes longer…but sooner or later, I return to old habits. And then I get pissed and think, “things never change” and completely give up because I feel like a loser. But if I look at this habit (of being unhealthy) as a behavior that I’m trying to change…a series of behaviors that I’m trying to change…so that when I have a slip up, I can see that it’s really okay if I keep going because it’s a process and processes take time…so if I stick with it, the bad habit will wane and new habits will form.
Cultivating self-compassion seems to be another little guidepost on my quest to a healthier life. How to do it? From that same article (referenced above):
“An essential teaching on compassion appears in Yoga Sutra I.33. This sutra advises us to cultivate love for those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, joy for those who are virtuous, and equanimity for those who make mistakes.”
So how will I cultivate self-compassion today? Tonight? By not freaking out just because I didn’t work out today. By giving myself a break. It’s Sunday…I ate healthy and exercised over the weekend. Everything is okay. I’m on the road to happy…