Hey there– long time no see. Thanks for stopping by.
For today’s topic, a fairly recent concept emerged within my inner thoughts when I explore (in hindsight) interpersonal relationships and interactions. While every individual can have different responses and reactions to different interactions, if an individual approaches me with their own difficulties and seeks comfort, reassurance, or help, I find myself providing or meeting their relational longing or desire. If they are struggling with self-image or self-perception, I provide them my perspective to help reframe their understanding of how they view themselves. If they need clarity and support on a presenting or pressing concern, I provide my input without giving advice. I have been conditioned and socialized (and perhaps this is a manifestation of my own needs, but this is for another day) throughout my life to give other individuals this grace, this forgiveness and unconditional positive regard. If this is a relatable topic or you have found yourself providing this care for others, why is it that we practice grace for other individuals, but not for ourselves?
Think of a time when you’ve beat yourself down. It could have happened earlier today or even now. You won’t be asked to share, but I’d like you to think about this experience. I often find myself looking back at previous interactions with other people and identify my own understanding of how I approached it. I’ll look at what I said, how I presented myself, what I wanted to project to the other person, alternatives to the above-mentioned, and I will try to navigate hypothetical situations that could have occurred. With this, I will engage in negative self-beliefs, negative cognitive patterns, and overall intrusive, automatic thoughts because I feel like I didn’t do enough or didn’t think enough in the moment. I’ll think of myself less, almost as a motivator to encourage me to be more thoughtful the next time.
“I could have done this better”
“This alternative would have been more productive”
“I’m so wack for saying this instead of that”
For me, there’s a tendency to be my own greatest critique, but in that same vein, I’ve constructed and framed my critiques as helpful, and as a result, continue to recycle. This tendency requires a tremendous amount of effort to explore for myself because I’ve seen the benefits in how it informs my future interactions and decisions, but I know innately this practice is maladaptive, or atleast the frame of mind is. Why is it that I can provide grace, the same grace, forgiveness, and respect to other people, but not myself? Why was this never taught? To love yourself unconditionally? How do you even begin this dialogue with yourself?
In terms of how I’ve been addressing this framework, I think of myself as a separate entity in an effort to work within my own construal that have been instilled since I was a child. If I have a tendency to give others grace, and if I place myself within that perspective that I am a separate being, I can also practice grace for myself. It seems a little confusing, but this has helped me practice grace in a helpful and healthy way (or healthier). I am able to grow and forgive myself because I have created that effort for myself. Instead of growing from a negative environment or space that I have created and perpetually never challenged, I am now facilitating a relatively more positive space within my intrapsychic. It is because I have reframed and put in effort that I have this opportunity. It’s empowering to think that I have more control over my life than I once thought.