As new beginnings approach and opportunities and growth present themselves, it’s easy to feel a sense of doubt while faced with the unknown.
I have found a key difference in the way we speak to ourselves in moments of uncertainty, compared to the way we speak to those we love enduring moments of uncertainty.
A few weeks ago, a friend called me and expressed her concerns regarding her departure for college; she was worried about socializing in the age of COVID. I told her to have compassion for herself when faced with a new beginning. However, as I was telling her to be gentle with herself, I realized that I should be taking my own advice.
Since this conversation with my friend, I’ve been practicing a mindfulness exercise. As I experience thoughts of frustration and inner doubt going into my freshman year, I’m encouraging myself to face these emotions with compassion, and to speak to myself as though I am speaking to my best friend.
The kindness we show those we love stems from the role we play––we view the situation they’re experiencing as an outsider. Therefore, we’re able to face the situation with grace and understand all points of view. When we speak to ourselves, we’re often judgmental, cruel, and dismissive. However, we must show ourselves more love and acceptance amidst unknown factors and unfamiliar situations.
The second aspect of this exercise I’ve been implementing into my daily routine is to picture how my younger, spunkier self would handle the discomfort or the unfamiliarity. When we’re young, we lead with courage and excitement because we haven’t yet faced many of the cruel realities of the world we live in. I remember when I first entered my kindergarten classroom, I wore mismatched socks, a bright jumper, and a variety of hair accessories. That strong, blonde, curly haired girl had no sense of preconceived notions of others or their thoughts of me.
I encourage you to go about your new beginnings with a sense of compassion for yourself and a positive outlook for the adventure that lies ahead. I invite you to take on these unfamiliar conversations and situations as your care-free, younger self would! Lead with love, and remember to focus on the importance of positive, inner dialogue when you interview for that new position downtown, when you hop on that Zoom class call, and in all aspects of your life.