Show Up for Your Best SelfMay 13, 2022
How are you showing up for your best self?
The last few years have not been easy. Remaining open, yet vigilant; positive, yet cautious; and resilient, yet flexible has stretched our capabilities and capacity to levels we never expected within our lifetime. For many of us, caring for loved ones (and perhaps businesses or careers) has taken precedence over care for our self. Ironically, if we don’t consciously show up for our self and be mindful in developing our very best self, how can we expect to fully recover ourselves and thereby care for others?
We have many distracting priorities that compete with developing our best self and living our best life? We know that wisdom and a clear purpose will help us to tap into what’s best for us during a time of distraction and uncertainty? However, there is more. We know what we must do, but often need more support and structure to do what is best for us. That’s when we need self-coaching to guide us from “knowing” to “action”.
Care and Compassion
Demonstrating care (and affection) for ourselves requires self-compassion. Self-compassion is possible with a foundation of self-regard1 which includes self-respect and self-trust. Everyone suffers in life at some point and to some degree. Suffering is part of being human as is the opposite, happiness. Unfortunately, denying our suffering may make us more prone to self-sabotage and unhappiness.
Practising self-compassion means acknowledging that we might be self-handicapping2. Strangely, we anticipate a real or imagined obstacle to living our best life and then use that obstacle as an excuse for inaction. Self-compassion triggers our wisdom to recognize when and how we are self-handicapping and to acknowledge that this is an ineffective mechanism and an unhealthy response to suffering. A healthy level of self-awareness1 and a practice of self-compassion helps us to notice this trend or default in our behaviour.
In her article Be Kinder to Yourself 3, clinical psychologist and author Alice Boyes, PhD, explains that the practice of self-compassion has four components:
- Using a kind tone and language that appeals to you. Remember that words have power. Firm and gentle works for me.
- Accepting that pain and suffering are part of being human.
- Allowing and recognizing all feelings - without suppressing, exaggerating, or ruminating.
- Anticipating (trusting) that you will make the best decision you can at any point in time.
Unfortunately, our self-handicapping can be very subtle. It’s also one of the ways we get stuck, trapped in the familiar and sometimes the worse bad habit loop.
Feelings are everywhere. Be gentle. ~ J. Masai
The topic of self-sabotage comes up with my coaching clients in many areas of personal and professional life especially when the imposter syndrome comes up when we are most vulnerable. Self-sabotage can be insidious and cunning especially for high performers. For example, while celebrating our accomplishments boosts our confidence in our capabilities (what’s worked in the past), resting on past accomplishments can make us overconfident and perhaps arrogant (nothing new to learn) and thereby sabotage future success.
Too much success gets you resting on your laurels and creates a kind of quicksand that you can’t get out of. – Colin Henry Wilson (1931-2013) English writer, philosopher, and novelist.
Here are nine other ways we self-handicap along with a few points of corrective action:
- Negative thinking: “I’m not good at this.” “I have nothing to contribute.” “My opinions do not matter.”
- Withholding/silence: Not contributing/responding/offering ideas.
- Delaying action: Procrastination, failing to take the next “simple” step, or failing to act altogether.
- Excuse making: “I don’t have the time/resources.” If time is the excuse, we need to rewrite the “time-management” story. It’s a myth.
- Failure to accept responsibility: Like excuse making, we might point to others or circumstances outside of our control. Being accountable to yourself and building self-trust is liberating.
- Adopting a “good-enough” attitude to avoid failure or rejection. Unfortunately, there has been much rhetoric around identifying self with being just good enough in response and backlash towards “perfectionism”. Minimizing our self-identity to being “good enough” undermines our ability to evaluate risk and stifles our growth. Small steps towards “better” can make a big difference.
- Imbalance of focus: Tunnel vision and micromanaging.
- Being driven solely by feelings rather than examining facts. Being impulsive rather than testing reality.1
- Allowing or encouraging distractions and compulsive behaviour to derail us1.
Are any of these behaviours familiar to you? Are you now able to recognize self-handicapping?
When you are ready for the deep work, the effort is worth it: YOU are worth it. And you don’t have to do it alone. If you need help, ask someone who you identify as an expert companion, a trusted mentor, or a qualified professional. If I can be assistance, please let me know.
- Receive Maestro's Encore blog in your inbox with VIP content and offers to accelerate your emotional well-being and resilience. Start with your 90-day EQ Mini Plan.
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- Check out the online mini-course Your Building Blocks to Emotional Well-Being and Resilience.
- Follow connections and references to emotional intelligence by investing in your own copy of The EQ Edge - Emotional Intelligence and Your Success, Steven J. Stein, PH.D. and Howard E. Book M.D.
- References to Emotional Intelligence realms: Self-Perception, Self-Expression, Decision Making. Start with your 90-day EQ Mini Plan.
- Self-handicapping – “avoiding effort in hopes of keeping potential failure from hurting self-esteem”. Edward E. Jones and Steven Berglas.
- Be Kinder to Yourself, Alice Boyes, PhD, Harvard Business Review, January 12, 2021
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