It's that time of the year where everyone is making resolutions. Most of us make these resolutions because we think we're not perfect enough. We do it because we believe that there's something wrong with us. However, when we fully accept ourselves as we are now, as human (every person on the planet has flaws), then we'll feel better about who we are in the moment. When we feel better about who we are, then we'll gain motivation to change.
I know that people think that if we're nice to ourselves and believe we are fine, then we'll be indifferent or lazy. Or that we need to dislike who we are to make ourselves change. You can do that, but the research shows that your change won't last as long or you will still be unhappy. It may even be the reason why most people don't keep resolutions.
Yet, when we show ourselves some compassion we'll feel better about our circumstances, we empathize with ourselves, and we support ourselves. Self-compassion doesn't mean that we tell ourselves that we don't need to grow. It's supporting ourselves through our changes. It's telling ourselves, "You're pretty awesome, how can you get better, how can you fix some of the uncomfortable areas of your life?" It's the opposite of "You suck and you need to get it together." It's not beating ourselves up if we don't change right away. It's recognizing that we'll always have imperfections and that's ok because everyone has somewhere they can grow no matter how perfect they seem.
I used to have resolutions every year that I never accomplished, and I beat myself up for not following through with them. Self-compassion was a game changer for me. When I started saying telling myself "I am ok" and "who I am is fine," I felt a little bit better about myself. As a result, I started making small changes towards those resolutions, and I stuck with it. Think about it, when a person makes a resolution to go to the gym, they go for a couple of days. They miss a day, or two, or a week and they chastise themselves for it. Then they don't go for 6 months. But if you miss a day and tell yourself "It's ok, I'm still on my path, I'll get back in the groove," then you start going more consistently. It may not be every day, but it will be a few times a week that and you keep with it. Then you motivate yourself to take it up a notch.
This is how I became an open water swimmer. I still don't swim every day, but I go consistently enough that I can do a mile in the ocean on any day. I never had an intent for swimming except that it was fun and it was good for my body. Now I do open water swim races. It's one of my favorite evolutions of myself, and it happened through self-compassion. I use self-compassion all the time when I am working on business goals, personal goals, and spiritual goals. Research proves that self-compassion generates motivation. People who use self-compassion don't worry about failure because they realize they're human. When you take away the fear of failure, you're motivated because you have nothing to lose.
I don't make resolutions anymore (no judgment if you do - they can be excellent) because I am always working on new challenges for myself. I don't worry about the outcome. I am imperfect and know that evolving in life by working on those imperfections brings me joy and makes life interesting. If I were perfect life would be boring.
Arathi Ramappa is a certified executive coach, certified spiritual life coach, speaker, and management consultant who helps individuals thrive in life and business. Using the concepts of emotional intelligence, self-compassion, and mindfulness, Arathi has helped clients start their own businesses, develop leadership skills, diminish conflict in relationships, implement positive behaviors, and increase confidence.
Arathi offers one-on-one coaching and emotional intelligence and conscious principles workshops to organizations. She created the EASE approach to help others Explore, Analyze, Strengthen, and Empower their thinking to identify and conquer obstacles to success and change their lives and businesses.
With twenty years of experience in business management coupled with certifications in coaching and emotional intelligence, Arathi’s background as a serial entrepreneur and a veteran in the start-up space has provided her with extensive cross-functional knowledge that she can apply to any situation or client. She has managed teams globally in places such as India, Japan, China, Germany, Canada, Taiwan, Eastern Europe, as well as the U.S., and has worked with a wide range of clients including from the financial, healthcare, cybersecurity, and fashion industries, among others.
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