I hope you took some time over the last two weeks to think about a relationship in your life that has been suffering; that you’ve reflected on your memories of time spent with that person.
If you recall, I encouraged you to remove all judgment and consider only the positives that this connection brought to your life.
You may have completed my Let Go of What’s Holding You Back checklist and worksheet to help you decide whether to let go with grace or take steps to restore that relationship.
If you’ve chosen to restore a relationship to a place of importance in your life and you’ve set new boundaries, it’s time to talk about how to embrace the path forward.
We’ll frame that path in the context of forgiveness, acceptance, and enjoyment.
For many of us, all the strain and added stress from the pandemic and a contentious election year transferred over to our relationships. The loss of face-to-face interaction during stay-at-home measures meant communication had to happen in new and challenging ways, like video, text, email, etc. Our messages and meaning may have gotten lost in translation. We may have felt misunderstood or unheard, and the other person may have felt that way too. And when frustrations boiled over, grace was not always extended.
All of this is understandable. The absence of social interaction has deeply affected relationships. To be able to embrace the path forward, we must first extend forgiveness for all missteps made during this time — to yourself and to the other person.
If we hope to restore a relationship, acceptance must follow forgiveness. You or the other person may have acted in ways that have created feelings of guilt or shame. Practicing self-love can be a powerful first step to overcome these feelings and move towards acceptance of yourself and the other person.
Moving forward, life will return to a version of normalcy. But it is helpful to acknowledge that things may never be the same for this relationship. In some cases, scars from past hurts will remain, but there may also be opportunities for deeper and more meaningful connections.
We must acknowledge the collective loss of connection we have all experienced. We’ve lost precious time together, whether it be family celebrations, life milestones, or normal social activities. The enjoyment we derive from these moments of connection cannot be underestimated. They are crucial to our overall quality of life.
Focusing on enjoying life is a great first step not only to reconnect with this person but to restore some sense of normalcy to your own life. Think about what it was you missed about the other person and relationship. What drew you to each other in the first place? What did you enjoy doing together? Maybe it was that weekly cup of coffee, a chat at the mailbox, or a morning dog walk together. Now is the time to rekindle those simple moments of enjoyment.
Embracing the Path Forward Through Human Connection
In time, we’ll resume some semblance of our past routines and day-to-day life.
Whatever that looks like, we will always have an innate human need for connection. And relationships are essential for our overall wellness.
Your social connections will come from existing relationships and any new ones you choose to cultivate. As for this particular relationship — it has suffered so it is fragile. Restoring it may not be easy, but it is possible when you practice forgiveness, acceptance, and enjoyment.
Before you get started, check in with yourself and your feelings. What is your general attitude as you consider restoration? Then click here to claim your FREE gift, A Checklist For Keeping a Positive Attitude, to help you maintain an optimistic mindset along the way.
Make an effort to stay open to the new things you might discover about yourself and the other person along the way. I wish you luck in your relationship repair.
Until next time, click here and sign up for my future articles to be delivered to your inbox.
The past year’s been difficult to say the least. Our day-to-day lives continue to be impacted by a deadly pandemic. Many of us have lost our livelihoods and loved ones.
Our faith in American democracy and its leaders has been tested as we continue to see what extreme divisiveness can do to a society.
The lack of contact, connection, and understanding has been hard on so many relationships. Whether you have one that’s suffered due to lack of contact or the realization that you don’t share quite the same worldview, this period has revealed a lot about personal relationships.
Perhaps you’ve been disappointed by a shift in a relationship that’s important to you…
Maybe you’re thinking that now that life is starting a return to “normal” and political temperatures are tamping down a bit, you’d like to direct some attention to restoring a relationship with a family member or friend. If so, you’re not alone…
The word “restore” keeps popping up lately. It’s a subject that’s been on my mind, maybe for you too.
So I thought we could spend this time in April focusing on how to restore relationships. That starts with evaluating the relationship that has suffered and determining if there is a path forward.
Restoring a Relationship: Is There a Path Forward?
There are many things that could have contributed to the fracturing of relationships over the last year or so…
Perhaps you stayed connected with a close friend through a monthly lunch date. Without that face-to-face connection, neither of you have really made an effort to stay in touch.
Maybe the differences in how you managed your health risk during COVID restrictions created a deep divide between you and a sibling.
Or maybe the thoughtful public policy discussions you used to enjoy with a friend have evolved over time into something you want no part of.
These are familiar examples of what’s been happening to relationships during these uncertain times.
In order to restore a relationship — whether it be with a coworker, friend, sibling, or other family member — first you need to determine if there’s a path forward. And if there is, how to go about easing back into a relationship that serves you both. Let’s go a little deeper.
At some point in our lives, we’ve all had to take stock of a relationship. We’ve had to decide whether that connection served either one of us and contributed to our growth and happiness.
And don’t get me wrong, variety is the spice of life. I believe surrounding ourselves with different people with unique perspectives, personalities, and experiences makes life interesting and fulfilling. Not to mention it’s one way we humans learn empathy.
But the unusual external stressors we have been experiencing may have identified things we didn’t see before. And depending on what they are, we may have some difficult decisions to make. We might need to ask ourselves if those differences add richness or opportunities for personal growth or do they detract from our happiness and well being. You’ll need to consider that carefully.
If you’ve determined that a relationship that has been damaged is important to you, that the person means more to you than whatever it is that divides you, it’s time to make a commitment to reconnect.
I encourage you to be the first to reach out in an effort to repair. But before you do, take time to center yourself. Consider all the positive memories you have of times together and decide that you’ll keep those interactions at the forefront of your mind. Appreciate all the things you have in common and whatever it was that brought you together in the first place.
To restore a relationship, it’s best for you to choose to stay in the present if you want to enjoy the relationship going forward. That will likely involve establishing new boundaries. For example, you might be making a conscious choice to only engage with the other person in ways that restore harmony to your relationship.
Test the new relationship boundary by planning time to enjoy a hobby together. Start reconnecting slowly and see where things lead.
Up Next: How to Restore a Relationship Part 2
Stay tuned for my next article which will explore how to embrace the path forward for a relationship you’d like to restore. It’s about learning to forgive, accept and enjoy.
Make sure to click here and sign up for my future articles so that you receive them in your inbox.
Until next time, I encourage you to think about the relationships in your life that have been suffering. Take time to reflect on your memories of time spent with that person. Remove all judgment and consider only what that connection brought to your life.
And to help you determine whether it’s a relationship worth restoring, click here now for my complimentary Let Go of What’s Holding You Back checklist and worksheet. This gift provides helpful tips for letting go of the things that cause struggle and overwhelm, thus allowing for more ease.
The checklist is a great reminder of what to let go of so you can accelerate greater freedom, flow, and fulfillment in your life. And the worksheet walks you through how to let go of the specific things that you feel you need to let go of, giving you the steps to do this. You’ll be able to let go of the past and move into a future that you have designed.
Imagine a world that is more loving, more compassionate, and more forgiving. There is less racial injustice. Communities and people from different backgrounds embrace each other. Everybody is treated equally under the law and in reality.
It almost seems like a utopia too good to be true, right?
Yet, it’s a mission that is just and worth standing for. I believe compassion is the key to manifesting a world that is freer and more equitable. But before we can change society, we must start with ourselves. Enriching the lives of the people within your community begins with having compassion for yourself.
What Does It Mean To Have Compassion For Yourself?
The myths surrounding self-compassion are abundant:
- It’s self-indulgent
- It’s selfish
- It’s for weak-willed people.
But here’s the truth. Compassion is necessary for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Compassion is what encourages you to care for your body and your mind.
Think about this.
If you own a pet, you care for them. You feed them high-quality pet food, bathe them, buy them toys. You love to spoil your non-human companion.
Yet so many women fail to direct this affection within.
When you neglect your well-being, you deny yourself the resources needed to live a beautiful and thriving life. Can you imagine a life where you’re:
- Full of inspiration
- Abundant with energy
- Loved and fulfilled
- Guided by meaning and purpose
This is the power of self-compassion. And when you build a well of love and compassion with yourself, you can then share it with others.
That is why I encourage you to prioritize enriching your life first and then expand your circle of influence to encompass the people within your community and country.
Why is Self-Compassion Important for Enriching Other People’s Lives?
Even if your own relationships are in order, you’re living in a bubble. The world outside your bubble needs your support too.
People are suffering. Botham Jean, Aura Rosser, Philando Castille, and more have died under a system of racism. We’re seeing more headlines of deaths and injustices every week.
And it’s within your power to extend your hand to help. It’s within your power to express compassion towards those who need it most.
However, you must first fill your own well. Practicing compassion towards others begins with practicing compassion toward yourself.
Here’s how you can do it.
3 Ways to Practice Self-Compassion to Enrich Your Life and the People Around You
#1 Advocate for Your Well-Being
When you hear about horrific murders, like what happened to Stephon Clark, you feel compelled to advocate for those who suffer from racial discrimination. This is an important mission and I encourage you to educate yourself with anti-racism resources and join causes that oppose racism and police brutality.
At the same time, I encourage you to advocate for yourself to become a better and healthier you. You may want to charge full-force ahead, but doing this will leave you feeling burned out and overwhelmed.
Remember to take care of yourself. If you’re feeling mentally strained, try going on a digital detox for a few days. Unplug from social media, turn off the television, and stop reading the headlines. During your detox, practice more self-care:
- Read a favorite book
- Go for a long walk outside
- Light some candles and indulge in a warm bubble bath
- Have a movie night with your family
Practice self-compassion by giving yourself permission to relax and pamper yourself when you’re feeling signs of burnout.
What is one thing you do to practice self-care when you’re feeling tired? Share it in the comments below!
#2 Keep a Self-Compassion Journal
Dr. Kristin Neff says that journaling is one of the best ways to express your emotions and it’s often linked to mental and physical well-being. This is one reason why journaling is a part of my morning activity. Writing in my journal has become a spiritual practice that helps me be more present and mindful of how I’m feeling in the moment.
“As you write,” Dr. Neff says, “try to be accepting and non-judgmental of your experience, not belittling it or making it overly dramatic.”
The point of this exercise is to acknowledge the full-range of emotions you’re experiencing at this moment without judging yourself. Whether it’s anger, disappointment, sadness, or another emotion, acknowledge what you’re feeling as you write about it.
In your journaling practice, your body could be telling you things you didn’t recognize earlier. You might realize that you’re stressed and need to take a step away from work. Or you might have a stroke of inspiration and tap into your creative flow.
#3 Ask for Help When You Need It
Learning how to love yourself can be difficult when you’re already overwhelmed with life.
You have to work. Put food on the table. Care for the children. Run errands.
You’re so busy! How would you even find the time to practice mindful self-compassion?
When you’re feeling overworked and burned out, self-compassion can often look like enlisting others’ aid.
If you need help restoring order to your hectic life, I encourage you to accept my gift of an “Overcoming Overwhelm” Discovery session. In this 60-minute consultation you’ll:
- Reveal a clear and compelling vision of what else is possible for your life when you no longer have so much on your plate and are enjoying your life again.
- Get simple and practical tips for how to break free from your symptoms of overwhelm.
- Tap into greater energy and inspiration.
- Explore how having a partner on your journey will provide a shortcut to all that you desire.
Click here now to sign up for a complimentary “Overcoming Overwhelm” Discovery session.
Practicing self-compassion can be one of the greatest challenges you encounter. It can be a struggle to accept and love yourself.
Yet it’s a worthwhile challenge. Because self-compassion is necessary for your personal growth and fulfillment of your potential. As a more compassionate woman, you have a greater capacity to enrich your family. And if you’re called to be an advocate, you can tap into your resources and help those who need it most.
What do you think of when you hear the words “white privilege”?
They make some people shift uncomfortably in their seats. I think this is because it doesn’t get discussed enough.
In this social climate, following the recent tragedies of racial injustice — George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor — it’s time to unpack white privilege.
It’s important to not only understand what white privilege is but also how you can use it as a resource in the stand for equality and justice.
What Is White Privilege?
White privilege is defined as “institutional and cultural preferential treatment and exemption from racial and national oppression” for white people (Racial Equality Tools).
Unfortunately, in a society as free as ours, racism still exists. People of color experience prejudice that white people don’t. And it’s black people, like Tamir Rice, Atatiana Jefferson, and Eric Garner, who have suffered from racial discrimination.
As a white person with white privilege, I move through the world differently and in many ways unhindered as compared to a person of color.
Examples of White Privilege (You May Not Know About)
White privilege exists in ways you may never have realized before. It exists in seemingly minor and mundane things:
- Finding makeup in your skin tone
- Finding hair products for your hair texture
- Reading books and watching movies with characters that share your life experience.
White privilege can also determine how people perceive you — judgment based entirely on the color of your skin. I can walk around my neighborhood without people thinking I don’t belong. When a police officer pulls me over, I don’t immediately fear for my life. I have the privilege of carrying on with my day without thinking about how people will perceive me because of my skin tone.
But what if you’re Black?
Shola Richard, a workplace civility activist, explains how he always brings his daughter and dog when walking around his neighborhood. When people see him, he’s just like any other “loving dad and pet owner.”
But everything changes when he’s alone. Instead, people see him as an “athletically-built black man in a cloth mask who is walking around in a place where he doesn’t belong.”
We see instances of white privilege every day, yet some white people close their eyes.
Why Some White People Stay Silent
The concept of white privilege is uncomfortable for most white people.
A common criticism is that not everybody who is white has overtly benefited from white privilege. And many white people who achieve success believe it’s entirely because of their hard work.
Here’s what Teaching Tolerance has to say about it:
“White privilege is not the assumption that everything a white person has accomplished is unearned … Instead, white privilege should be viewed as a built-in advantage, separate from one’s level of income or effort.”
Built-in advantages, like employers choosing a resume with a more white-sounding name or being approved for a home loan because you come from a “white neighborhood.”
White privilege can be difficult to digest. You probably feel ashamed or guilty.
But what if you can turn that shame into determination? What if you can use white privilege as a resource — a resource to help you stand for equality and compassion? What if your white privilege can help you create the positive change you want to see in your community?
This is how I do it.
How I Use my White Privilege to Stand for Racial Equality
I Call Out Injustice When I See It
When I see tragic headlines, like the horrific murder of Trayvon Martin, I call it out.
I do my research. I talk about it with my family. I share it with my friends across social media.
We must shine a light on injustice and stand for positive change and accountability.
We have a voice and our voice has power.
Use your voice to raise awareness and stand for equality.
I Teach Love and Compassion
I can never fully empathize with the hardships that a person of color experiences. But this inability to fully empathize does not mean I should do nothing.
What I can do is use my platform to teach self-love and self-compassion. Because your circle of influence starts with you. When you learn how to love yourself and be compassionate to yourself, you can slowly push that circle outward.
You have more power to help others.
You have more space in your mind and heart to lift other people.
You can take that compassion and love for yourself and share it with others.
And in these times of social unrest, we need compassion more than ever because positive change is rooted in kindness and a willingness to help others.
I Empower YOU So You Can Empower Others
In my articles, I often talk about self-care. And I do my best to address women who are busy professionals and entrepreneurs.
The landscape has changed for women. We’re feeling overwhelmed with life more than ever.
But when we neglect our health, everything collapses. When women are burned out, unfulfilled, and unhappy, society declines.
That’s why I use the various experiences and knowledge I’ve accumulated to empower you through self-care. Because self-care is what encourages you to be:
- Physically healthy
- Mentally sharp
- Emotionally resilient
I want you to feel powerful so that you can make beautiful changes in your own life and have the strength and resources to create positive change in other peoples’ lives.
I empower you so that you can empower others.
In the comments below, use your voice now to share one thing you’re doing to create positive change in your own life and/or the lives of others.
Become an Ally
Spreading awareness about racial equality starts with becoming aware yourself. Begin with educating yourself about racial equality and anti-racism. After you do this, you can then learn how to use your resources to spread equality and compassion.
And if you’re called to be an activist, you can use your white privilege to your advantage as you ally with those who suffer from racial prejudice and discrimination.
To learn more about racism towards people of color, here’s a list of anti-racist resources for becoming a white ally. If you haven’t already, help spread the message of Black Lives Matter and sign this public open letter to end racism and stop police brutality.
Also, sign up for my email list to receive valuable and actionable tips on self-care and living your best life — because creating positive change in other people’s lives starts with how you treat yourself.
When you express compassion towards another person, you wrap them in a kind and caring energy. Within that energy, that person feels your love, empathy and desire to ease their struggles.
For many people, perhaps even for you, it’s easy to express compassion when your loved ones are undergoing hardships.
But can you direct that compassion inward?
When you’re tired, overwhelmed, and feeling the signs of burnout, can you express love and forgiveness towards yourself?
It can be a little difficult, right?
You might even feel guilty about practicing self-compassion. And this guilt likely stems from internalizing a few myths about self-compassion.
What Self-Compassion Is Not
It isn’t self-indulgent
Self-compassion isn’t a convenient excuse to “treat yourself”. Rather, it’s a deliberate practice of directing kindness inwards, especially when you’re scattered, forgetful, and drained from overworking yourself.
You aren’t a stone wall, immune to the daily hustle and bustle. You’re human. You feel things. You need things. You desire things.
You especially need time for yourself to avoid burning out.
It isn’t selfish
Love and kindness is an infinite resource. When you enjoy it for yourself, you can create more and share it with the people around you.
You’re entitled to appreciate and celebrate yourself. I encourage that you do so, and often.
When you love and care for yourself, your improved well-being helps you recover and shields you from burnout.
It isn’t for the weak
Self-compassion is for the strong.
When your inner and outer worlds pull you in every direction, highlight your flaws, and drain your energy, it’s difficult to be kind to yourself.
But having the strength to express kindness and forgiveness to yourself when you’re feeling burned out…
That demands incredible strength and resolve.
How Does Self-Compassion Help You Avoid Burnout?
Burning out often leads to feeling guilty because you know you can do more or do better. This adds to the frustration and other symptoms that accumulate after pushing yourself too hard for too long.
At this point, you’re exhausted, stressed, and desperate for a solution.
Self-compassion protects you from reaching this critical breaking point, by encouraging you to take care of your body and mind.
Expressing kindness to yourself teaches you to accept your short-comings. Forgiving yourself gives you permission to learn and grow from your stumbles.
What are some challenges in your own life right now? What events are leaving you drained or stressed? Keep these in mind as you read through the following tips for practicing self-compassion.
4 Tips on How to Cultivate Self-Compassion
#1 Practice Mindfulness
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, sit down in a comfortable chair and close your eyes.
Listen to your body.
Do you feel any tightness or heaviness? How about any aches or tingling? Notice them and accept they exist.
How about your mind?
Do you feel like your thoughts are scattered? Are you experiencing moments of self-doubt or guilt? Notice them and accept they exist.
Be fully present within your body and mind. This self-compassion exercise helps you accept your thoughts and feelings without assigning judgment.
Self-compassion isn’t about fixing yourself. Rather, it helps you notice your struggles and accept that they’re a natural part of life.
#2 Forgive Yourself
Perfection is a myth.
The faster that sinks in, the quicker you’ll recover from mistakes.
If you’ve set your New Year’s intention but you’ve already fallen off track, take a moment to accept that you’ve stumbled. Forgive yourself, and then take small actions to get back on track.
The trick to preventing burnout is shifting your perspective.
Don’t judge yourself for the number of times you’ve fallen. Rather, celebrate each time you practice self-compassion by forgiving yourself and standing back up.
#3 Make Space for Your Inner Advocate
You’re probably deeply familiar with your inner critic.
Sometimes your inner critic is helpful. She points out areas where you can improve. But sometimes she is overflowing with pessimism. She fills your mind with self-doubt and worry.
It’s time to introduce your inner critic to your inner advocate.
When your inner critic faults you for unfinished errands or pushes you to overwork yourself, your inner advocate will be your voice of reason.
Each time your inner critic slings negativity at you, let your inner advocate shield you with reminders of your strengths and achievements.
You’ve done so much to get to where you are today. Your inner advocate can be your spokesperson for self-kindness and encouragement.
#4 Give Yourself a Break
Try driving a car without any gas in the tank. It just doesn’t work.
It’s the same when you burn out. Your body and mind won’t function the way you need them to.
Self-compassion gives you permission to take breaks when you need to.
And it doesn’t have to be a week-long vacation; it can be a night to yourself.
Practice sensory self-care by running a warm bath with candles. Massage on your favorite lotion. Eat a wholesome meal.
These brief moments of self-compassion teach you that breaks are necessary to your well-being.
Love Yourself Today
Self-compassion is challenging. It’s difficult to accept and love ourselves, especially when we’ve fallen short of our goals.
You build self-compassion into your daily life by prioritizing it and making it a habit. To form a long-lasting habit, you practice it deliberately and consistently.
Self-compassion is no exception. When you practice the above tips everyday, it becomes easier to recover from your mistakes and to forgive your shortcomings.
To help you create the habit of self-compassion, I’m gifting you with my free From Burnout to Balance 7-Day Self-Love Challenge.
During these 7 days, we’ll look at what’s really going on beneath the signs of burnout and I’ll give you simple strategies for how to compassionately turn things around so you can get on the path towards balance and enjoying your life (again).
If you’re ready to break out of the burnout cycle and desire to be…
- Relaxed and confident, knowing you’re tending to the most important priorities
- Energized, clear and focused
- Calm, easy-going and peaceful
- Sleeping like a baby and waking up rested
- Engaged, inspired and passionate about your life
Join me by clicking here to sign up for my next From Burnout to Balance 7-Day Self-Love Challenge. It’s Free!