GIVING YOURSELF GRACE AND THE CONCEPT OF SELF COMPASSION
Updated: Dec 28, 2017
Do you set goals for yourself? Are they realistic or out of this world dreams?
Either way, all of us have goals. I have lots of goals. One of the recent goals I set for myself in the short term, is to get in my pre-pregnancy jeans (most of them) by the end of this year. Or really before Mikey is 6 months old - so that would be January 19.
So how do you accomplish a goal? You set a REALISTIC timeline and then map out the steps and daily behaviors that you are going to do to help get yourself to that goal everyday. Here's the truth too - the goal I stated above is NOT going to happen overnight. And while that would be nice, what I love about Beachbody and coaching is the challenge groups and that I truly feel accountable to myself AND my challengers everyday. I feel accountable to work out, drink my shake, eat healthy and get one step closer to meeting MY goals while at the same time, helping and supporting others to meet their GOALS. It's amazing.
But here's the thing. With my weekly check ins that I do with each challenger, I get a lot of "yes, I'm loving this, I've been working out, etc." and I love those. But there are also lots of "this is HARD. I'm tired. My kids aren't sleeping and I'm feeling overwhelmed trying to stick to this calendar and fit in my work outs and LIFE just is getting in the way." Guess what? That is normal. And like any friend, coach, encourager (whatever you want to call me), I respond back and let them know this is NORMAL and it's not just them and this is HARD. Any change is hard. Working out is hard. Making healthy eating decisions is HARD. But guess what? Nothing that isn't hard along the way isn't worth it. And it's going to be worth it.
But one thing I've found is that so many people, myself included, have these high hopes in the beginning and then one mishap and BOOM. We feel so defeated that we want to quit. Like if we eat a doughnut on day 4 of the program that somehow, those 3 workouts and the 3 days of healthy eating decisions we made before are erased. It's so easy to dwell on that one failure and not focus on all the GOOD things you did do when you start any process of trying to meet any goal.
Here is what I've been learning. It's the one thing that keeps me sane.
I NEED TO GIVE MYSELF GRACE.
Wait - did you read that? I'll say it again - but directed towards you. On the course of any goal and in life....
YOU NEED TO GIVE YOURSELF GRACE.
The funny thing is, after having my third kiddo, I knew it would be hard. But I really felt like a woman that goes to my church that I was talking to about having 3 kids (she has 3 - now grown and older than me) that are closer together than my 3 too was speaking to me so loud and clear the other day. I was talking to her the other day at church and she was asking me how everything is going....I told her it was fine and it's just hard to do all that I want and need to do--- but I know that so many moms have done this before me and survived...so I know I can do it. I said like her and my MIL (Jimmy's 3 older brothers are each 14-16 months apart too). She said yes but then looked me in the eyes and told me...it's hard but worth it. But one huge difference between me and her was that I work full time and provide substantial income to my family (but the same sacrifice applies if you stay at home too!). And then she told me "give yourself grace". I'm not sure why- but she said it so firmly and was looking at me so hard I just felt like it was something that I needed to hear and really believe in. And do --- give myself grace. Like for real. Because the reality of the situation is, for me, I do love my job but this whole "doing it all business" is for the birds because there is never going to be enough time for it all. Too much laundry and other chores, a kid waking up when they shouldn't, having to work late when you don't want to...the list goes on. Moral of this crazy story?? GIVE YOURSELF GRACE. Your life is leaps and bounds different than pre kids. My rule is I do as much as I can and it cannot interfere with my time with my kids (i.e. I work out in the morning, when they are napping - on the weekends- or after they go to bed). Occasionally I'll do on weekend mornings too. But time with our kids is something we will never get back and I KNOW it's possible to get my pre baby body back!!! I was being critical of my stomach and Jimmy was like "BRITTANY YOU HAD A BABY. He was 9lbs- stop!".
And he's right. And she's right. So I finally accepted it. I need to do it. So I stopped getting so angry at myself for missing ONE workout. Or eating something not healthy at all.
Then at church a few weeks back, our pastor gave an amazing sermon on the concept of self compassion and yep, there it was again. LOUD AND CLEAR. I started this journey to meet health and fitness goals to feel good about myself and be more present and a better mom for myself and my family. And it has turned into so much more than a physical transformation. I'm LOVING the mental transformation and all that I'm learning about myself.
Here is the full sermon (it's long, but awesome). I have highlighted some of my favorite parts below though. And also, I love our pastor.
My favorite thing from Jason's 33 minute sermon was this. He cited a new study out of Berkeley that suggested the concept of self compassion versus self esteem. And that self compassion maybe the key to unblocking your true potential to greatness. Willingness to look at your own mistakes and shortcomings, to seek to understand why we do what it is we do and then stop that behavior. The bible verse that he references that explains this is Romans 7:15 where Paul said, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."
"Self compassion leads to a higher level of well-being. It may feel good, but it still has to go deeper than that. It's NOT the same thing as taking yourself off the hook or LOWERING the bar. You can be self-compassionate while still accepting responsibility for your actions and striving to achieve the most challenging goal. The difference lies not in where you want to end up, but how you handle the peaks and valleys. Who you are as a Christian is how you respond in the valleys and not the mountain tops."
I would say that doesn't just apply to your life as a Christian. Even if you're not a Christian, any journey that you are on, this is such an important principle when taking on any journey. And for many that want to start a health and fitness journey, there is always an excuse.
"People that are self-compassionate are more likely to see their weaknesses as changeable, rather than to embrace them as excuses."
I love love love this sentence. It shows you that just because you are one way today and have certain habits doesn't mean you cannot change them. It will NOT be easy, but ridding yourself of those excuses telling yourself "this is just me" or "I can't be like X". You can. So I know this is my health and fitness focused blog, but this journey is becoming so much more to me. And I can't help but sharing it. Because realizing these things is helping me navigate through the crazy of my life - and whether you have 1 kid, 3 kids or NO kids - life is crazy. Life gets in the way of your long term plans if you let it. But don't! Set your goals. Give yourself grace. Practice self compassion and you will rock it. And if you want me to be your cheerleader along the way, I sure will be!