Be Your Own Legend
In the past few years Dr. Kirsten Neff has become one of my personal legends. In her teachings about the importance of self-compassion I learned that the actions of other people are not a direct evaluation of my worth. Read that again. We crave acknowledgement from others. “Good job,” or “you got this” really can be some of the greatest words we hear in life. When we were young, we were praised for the smallest acts. Cheers and clapping arrived for all of our momentous occasions like smiling, standing, or taking a step. Then somewhat abruptly these personalized salutes to our tiny successes begin to disappear. They were often replaced with expectations to do more and be more in life and we still look to those around us to tell us we are enough.
We often look to others to validate our beliefs and behaviours. Validate, I am not a big fan of this word. Who you are, your feelings, and how you see the world is valid because it belongs to you, not because someone tells you it is. We do not need to be told that we are doing well for it to be true, though I am aware of how nice it feels. We can do this for ourselves. Sounds weird right? Not really. We can cultivate an internal voice that encourages us, motivates us, and reminds us that when in doubt we are enough. Unfortunately, we often have the opposite voice, the critic that tells us what we are doing wrong or how to be better in an often not so kind way. What we need to do is nurture our own inner legend. It might feel strange or uncomfortable but what would you lose if you developed your own inner cheering section?
On those days when you are feeling down or having a challenging day ask yourself what would you like to hear from a person that you admire. Then write those words down and read them out loud or silently to yourself. Read through it a few times. Our minds do not actually know the difference between external or internal confirmation of our worth, they both have equal weighting. When we learn to self sooth and encourage ourselves, we increase our confidence, improve our ability to be self-compassionate, and increase our sense of calm. The hardest part of this practice is believing that we are worth it and developing the habit. I think somewhere along the line we came to believe that taking care of ourselves in these ways could lead to boastful or arrogant behaviours. There is a big difference between confidence and ego. Think of your own personal legend. Are they confident? Are they kind to themselves? Do they rely solely on others for comfort or a self-worth or do the exhibit the ability to generate this within themselves? The irony of what we were taught is that in actuality the opposite is true. The more we work on our own inner self with kindness and compassion the more we have to offer others.
The next time you find yourself seeking reassurance take some time to think about how you are legendary in your own life, even in the smallest of ways. Allow yourself to sit with those accomplishments. You are doing a good job, you really are, but you do not need me to tell you that, you got this.
The content provided in this article is for information purposes only. It is not meant as a substitute for professional medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you find yourself in distress, please reach out to your local physician who can provide mental health resources in your community.