Practice Emotional Hygiene
Emotional Hygiene. What in the world is that? It is the habit of taking care of our minds just like physical hygiene is the habit of taking care of our bodies. And as I was thinking about what I wanted to include on our Journey Toward Authenticity, one thing came to my mind almost immediately. How we take care of ourselves emotionally.
The world is full of people who will gladly judge us, criticize us, reject us, etc… but our biggest problem isn’t the damage that others inflict upon us. It is the damage we do to ourselves.Our problem isn't the damage others inflict upon us. It is the damage we do to ourselves. #truth #AuthenticLiving #EmotionalHygiene #write31days Click To Tweet
When we experience an emotional pain (loss, rejection, failure) we are the first to not only agree with the pain, but to confound it. We even add to it and make it worse! Ever heard the phrase, “I am my own worst enemy?” Well, it’s true.
I try to make it a point to watch an encouraging or inspiring video of a speaker every day. It’s a habit I have begun to help me in my calling as a speaker and I have found that Ted.com is a great place to find them. That is where I came across Guy Winch, PhD. He is a psychologist and his platform is emotional hygiene, or emotional first aid. I knew as soon as I heard him that I had to share his message with you (see video below).
Too many of us deal with common psychological-health issues on our own, says Guy Winch. But we don’t have to. He makes a compelling case to practice emotional hygiene — taking care of our emotions, our minds, with the same diligence we take care of our bodies.
It is a short, yet profound presentation and a great place to begin our series on how to be more authentic. Because if we can’t truly love ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to?If we can't truly love ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to? #truth #AuthenticLiving #EmotionalHygiene #write31days Click To Tweet
In the video Guy brings up a great point… if a friend broke her leg, more than likely we wouldn’t tell her to “go for a walk and get over it.” Instead, we would take her to the emergency room for treatment. Yet, when someone we know experiences an emotional pain, we tend to brush it off and tell them, albeit nicely, to get over it and move on.
Emotional pain is real.
And sometimes when we feel it, we feed it. I know I’m guilty. When someone criticizes me (I know, hard to believe but it does happen 🙂 ) I start to replay what they said in my mind. I tell myself that it must be true. I’ll add something else to it, something they never said. Then I”ll add more to that and end up in a place way beyond the initial criticism. This is not a healthy emotional hygiene routine. People will hurt us. It’s inevitable. But we need to have a healthy emotional hygiene routine in place so we can handle those moments well when they come. We must be our own best cheerleaders. It is crucial to our emotional and physical health.
This road to authenticity is not an easy one. We will experience good days and bad days. And that’s ok. Being authentic is being present in those moments and accepting the way we feel. What we don’t want to do is get stuck there and feed that emotion with negative self-talk.
The assignment for today, should you choose to accept it, is to analyze your emotional hygiene routine. If you see an area that you need to work on then focus on it all week, until it becomes a habit for you. You may recognize more than one area that needs attention but don’t overwhelm yourself. Work on one at a time. I also encourage you to share what you discover with a close friend or someone you can trust. It will keep you accountable. If you feel comfortable, you are more than welcome to share them with us too. But no pressure. 🙂
- Watch the video below.
- Name the four actions Guy suggests to start focusing on emotional hygiene.
- Chose one action and commit to work on it all week.
- Share your thoughts and struggles on each action with someone you trust. Which one is the easiest for you? Which one is the hardest?
Good luck and know that this journey toward authenticity is a long one. Any progress is still movement forward so reward yourself when you deserve it.
This is day two of the 31-Day Journey Toward Authenticity series! To see all the posts in the series, click HERE.