I’ve been doing an awful lot of soul searching lately. There are certain moments of your life that, for a variety of reasons, you find yourself thinking about your age, your mortality and how you are spending your time. Over the next six months, I have two books coming out. One is my fifth with Dr Richard Bandler on learning to think on purpose. The other is with my training partner for many years Brian Colbert. The one with Brian involves us sharing some of our deepest and darkest thoughts on a wide range of psychological problems. In writing it, we decided we would be brutally honest about our own failings and flaws (at least the ones we are currently aware of). My own process of this involved accepting quite a lot of what was ‘wrong’ with me.
Some people in my life suggest that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with me and that I’m perfect the way I am. Others point out ‘suggestions’ on a continuous basis for what I should change. It appears as another decade ends that I haven’t yet made it. In fact, when I consider where I am in contrast to where I have been, it’s easy to feel like I am not much further along than I was ten years ago. But perhaps that’s the wrong way to look at things.
For more than fifteen years, I’ve travelled the world delivering trainings and talks to thirty countries teaching people to take charge of their mind and life and change how they communicate. That has been my job. My career. The books I have written are my attempt to do the same for an even wider audience. In truth, even over the last year, I’ve struggled with some personal challenges. Emotionally I haven’t always been as in control as I would like to be for a variety of reasons. I’m not super proud of some of the things I’ve said or done.
In the industry I’m in, most trainers and speakers feel an obligation to show that they are always in control and in a perfect state. There is the idea that, in order to do what we do, you must always shine with happiness and good feelings. Like Instagram makes us often feel like everyone we know is always on holidays or vacation, the marketing of the gurus and experts in this area often makes it seem like they have all the answers and when you study what they know you can be there too.
The reality is this isn’t how life works. The trainings and talks we deliver don’t make you achieve the life of your dreams. They offer you a set of principles, tools or strategies that you can use to think better than you have, act better than you have and communicate better than you have. But we’re not all perfect. We still make mistakes and mess up. This doesn’t mean you need to throw everything you’ve ever heard from us out though. Instead, I hope, you can understand that no matter how well put together someone is, there is a depth to that person and a multitude of qualities good and bad.
The richness of the human personality is part of what makes us so magnificent. We are not all good or all bad. We are not all smart or all dumb. We are a mixture of attributes and the paradoxical combination of such qualities is what makes us so fascinating.
We crave such characters in television shows and films we watch. Depth. Because we understand that fundamentally we all have a certain depth to us.
Being compassionate to yourself means accepting the whole of you. It means acknowledging the things that you have done wrong, said wrong or when you’ve been wrong and being okay with it. It means treating yourself with care and love and seeing yourself as an individual that you care for.
So often we act as if we don’t exist. We forget ourselves in our efforts to put everyone else first… but this is a fatal mistake that we and they will pay for. It is so important that you treat yourself with love and compassion. It is what sets an example to those around you and it’s what gives you the strength that we all need to face the tough times of this world.
Notice how you speak to yourself and work hard at being sweeter and kinder. You spend 24 hours a day with yourself. It is so important that you make sure the one person you spend all that time with is caring towards you. It will also make you more considerate and compassionate to others. Whatever way you treat yourself becomes easy to practice in how you talk to others.
Make a real concrete effort to be good to yourself and kind, caring and loving. For the time you spend on this earth is hard enough without you being hard on you too. Love yourself and it will make life infinitely better.