A Lesson in Self-Kindness

Posted by Alina Liao on

Last week, I shared how I've been struggling with my depression. I'd been pouring out all my harsh, negative self-talk onto paper through my self care journaling in my Custom Wellness Journal. 

This past Sunday, I held our second Wellness Journaling Mini-Retreat on Journal for Self-Kindness. (Yes, ironic, but also quite fitting.) In this wellness journaling retreat, we first journaled to process an area in our lives where we've been harsh on ourselves. I wrote how yes, I'd been harsh on myself. But, honestly, I still felt like I deserved the harshness...

Then in our next round of self care journaling, we explored where our self-criticism is coming from. One of the prompts was, "Do I expect more of myself than I expect of others? Why?"

In journaling in my custom wellness journal to that prompt, I realized that I had subconsciously been comparing myself to my father, who, in my view, has done SO much more in his life with SO much less. That comparison was fueling my feeling not enough, my shame, my self-loathing.

Then, in the last round of our self care journaling, we journaled to practice self-kindness in the moment. One of the prompts was, "What are fair, kind expectations of myself?"

I looked at that self care journaling prompt, and before I could over-think it, my inner wisest self shouted:

"Alina, you are not your father.
You are your own person.
You cannot be anyone else but you.
So stop trying to be someone else.
You cannot follow someone else's path.
You cannot mimic someone else's path.
You have to find and create your own path.
This is YOUR path to create."

I realized, "I have to do this my way." With this realization in my self care journaling came an image of blank canvas. That image invited me to exhale, and to release the unfair expectations I've been putting on myself. With that release of expectation came release of the shame.

I'm still working through the negative self-talk, but now, I understand more of where it's coming from. I can reconjure the image of the blank canvass to remind myself to release expectation and be fair to myself.

What about you? What expectations are you holding that might be unfair to you? What are fair, kind expectations for yourself?

Give it a try in your self care journaling. Grab that pen and paper, let your pen flow, let your heart flow. You got this.

With love and kindness,
Alina Liao, founder of Zenit
Feel it, write it, Zenit

depression guided journal guided journaling healing journal healing journey mental health mental health journaling mental health journey self care self care journaling wellness wellness journaling

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