This is Angelou Ezeilo, one of our honorees.
She’s pictured here sitting onstage during Radical Self-Expression Summit, in all her splendor. I love this photo because it looks to me like Angelou is in a moment of self-reflection. I find the practice of self-reflection so vital to my stress-management and overall wellness. I also find though, that my moments of self-reflection can easily spiral into self-deprecation (beating up on myself) if I am not mindful. How about you? When you reflect on your day, or a specific experience you’ve recently had, do you beat up on yourself when it comes to the parts you “could’ve handled better” or the parts you “wish you hadn’t done/said”?
If you do, you’re not alone, but you are also at risk. You are at risk of creating an unhealthy relationship between your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions. And when there is discord in your relationship between what you think, how you feel, and how you act, you cannot support yourself through your decisions. You cannot be with your thoughts without feeling anxiety and fear. And you cannot nurture yourself the way you are designed to, by Creator.
The radical message embedded in Angelou’s beautiful photo is this:
Make time to be with your thoughts, and when you do, make it a point to listen to the voice you hear. If it is riddled with judgment and blame, start practicing statements of compassion, until it becomes easier and easier for you to shift from the critical voice to the compassionate one.
Here are a few statements of compassion that I use to reel myself in when I find myself in that space:
– I’ve already survived plenty of nearly unthinkable ills; my thoughts will not join that list of ills.
– I love myself, and I will not add myself to the list of voices of condescension, blame, and misplaced fear.
– It’s okay for me to look at a choice I made as bad or poor, but it is not okay for me to paint my entire being with the color of that choice. I can choose something else next time, and I choose now to act in that knowing.
While you’re here, think of one more statement of compassion that is specific to you, and test it out in a mirror now.
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