Monday, September 13, 2010

7 Steps To Nurturing Your Inner Child

(courtesy of Huffington Post and Lauren Mackler)

I actually just stumbled across this fabulous article on my morning blog perusal.  So fabulous in fact, that I decided to share it with all of you!

This Huffington Post feature looks at how we need to take a parental approach to our own emotional health, sanity and bodies.  The article states that we need to be more comforting, more positive, and ultimately more forgiving of ourselves. In reality, the truth is many of us don’t often (read-ever) ‘nurture’ ourselves.  We rarely get enough sleep, too often eat poorly, are self-critical and most importantly, fail to fill ourselves with encouraging, loving messages.

Unfortunately, the result of not properly caring for ourselves, of not keeping promises, or being compassionate is that we often become are too hard on ourselves. We become insecure, negative, critical and resentful.

I think I'm probably not alone in saying we live in a "generation of perfectionism".  We have breed centuries upon centuries of girls, children, teenagers and young women who strive to be nothing short of perfect.  Whether it's career, relationship, school, sports or image, far too many of us are lost in a sea of critiscism.

When did the term "I'm my worst critic" start becoming a good thing?

Skip to Lauren Mackler's article...

My favorite (and painfully true) quote of the article reads:

“In fact, if most people treated others the way they treat themselves, they wouldn't have many friends!”


I would never ask of my friends, what I ask of myself.  I would never tell a friend to get up after 5 hours of sleep to run a 12km.  I would never tell a friend to wear a baggy shirt because she looked fat, and I would certainly NEVER tell a friend they couldn’t have that last bit of desert!

So according to Lisa Mackler, here are some steps on how we can start “nurturing the inner child”

Send loving messages to yourself. Tell yourself, "I love you and appreciate who you are."  When you're struggling or feeling low, be supportive by saying, "I'm here for you. You're not alone."

Take good care of yourself. A loving parent would make sure you eat right and get plenty of rest, sleep, fresh air and exercise. Keep yourself healthy and fit.

Do nice things for yourself. Get into the habit of doing special things for yourself. Make yourself a cup of tea with the nurturing energy that you'd have when preparing tea for someone you love. Make yourself a candlelight dinner -- a delicious meal in a special setting. Coddle yourself. Treat yourself as a loving parent would treat you.

Set healthy boundaries with others. Let people know what you want and don't want. Tell them what's okay for you and what's not. A loving parent makes sure his or her child's needs are met.

Become your own advocate. If someone was unkind, hostile or verbally abusive to your child, you'd stand up for him. Protect yourself as a nurturing parent would protect you.

Believe in yourself.  A nurturing parent says, "You can do it." "I believe in you." Become your strongest supporter, coach and cheerleader.

And lastly and most important: Be compassionate with yourself. Have compassion for your humanity and your flaws. You're human and you're going to make mistakes. Look at yourself through the eyes of a loving parent; don't punish or criticize yourself. Reassure yourself. Comfort yourself. Accept yourself unconditionally. And show that same compassion for your own parents and others, because they, too, are human.

Lauren Mackler is a world-renowned coach, host of the LIFE KEYS radio show, and author of the international bestseller, Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Lifewww.laurenmackler.com

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