At AdventureWomen, we’ve gathered a wonderful community of interesting, fun and intrepid women who’ve traveled with us over the past 35 years. Until now, we’ve not fully tapped into that treasure trove of valuable insights and wisdom, but that’s about to change. We want to know what our AdventureWomen have to say about so many things. Recently, we asked a small sample of them about which 3 word phrases they most identified with our brand.
Guess which one came out #1?
“Invest In Yourself.”
And why is it so important to be good to yourself?
Here are four great reasons:
#1: Just being yourself is liberating and energizing.
Research shows that if you feel uncomfortable being yourself and/or put on “masks”, pretending to be or feeling the need to be someone else, you bring more stress into your life. Over our lifetimes, any ingrained habit can become hard to adjust but awareness is the first step. Just try to notice when you start to react to a situation in a defensive mode (where you fear criticism, belittling, anger, etc.), and try to slowly change your behavior in that situation. Think confidence and courage. Believe that your perspective is worthy and matters. And consider, of course, if all else fails, trying to limit your exposure to these people and/or situations that put you in a defensive posture.
#2: Self-compassion is as important as compassion towards others.
Self-compassion is defined in academic circles in terms of three characteristics: mindfulness, common humanity and kindness. Mindfulness is paying attention to your own thoughts and feelings and accepting these rather than suppressing them or being persuaded by those of others. Common humanity is realizing that many others share your feelings and experiences. And kindness, well all AdventureWomen know about that! Higher levels of self-compassion reduces self-criticism which has been linked to higher levels of anxiety and depression, lower energy levels, procrastination. On the flip side, higher levels of self-compassion are associated with being more motivated, having higher standards, working harder and taking more personal responsibility for your actions.
#3: Forgive yourself for not being perfect (and for your mistakes).
Closely related (but slightly different from self-compassion) is self-forgiveness. The ability to forgive ourselves for mistakes has been shown to be critical to psychological well-being by reducing feelings of shame. Conversely, lower levels of self-forgiveness have been linked to higher risk of suicide, eating disorders, and alcohol abuse, among other problems. Research indicates that criminal offenders who recognize that “doing bad things” does not make them “bad people” have been shown to be less likely to continue engaging in criminal activity. And being remorseful versus being self-critical, has been shown to encourage positive social behaviors. Healthy self-forgiveness, however, also means retaining the self-awareness to take responsibility, to own up to your mistakes and make amends. Research shows that people who have more balanced, realistic views of themselves are the most likely to motivate themselves to make positive changes.
#4: Do something everyday which makes you feel good.
Finally, women are often the first to get caught up in helping those around them feel good. Their kids. Their partners and spouses. Their co-workers and friends. But what about helping you to feel good? The studies show that frequently rewarding yourself with something that makes you feel good or “makes you tick” as some would say, can reinforce feelings of self-compassion over time and improve your outlook on life in general. This investment in yourself also has a tendency to rub off on others.
How are you investing in yourself? Do share this with others if it resonates with you AdventureWomen and then… make your own list of next week’s inspirational to do’s!