I’d hazard a guess that most of us are pretty familiar with the Golden Rule: treat others as you wish to be treated. While many strive to follow this simple rule and conduct themselves accordingly, very few of us turn that mentality towards ourselves. What if we treated ourselves the way we strive to treat others? I’ve dubbed it The Platinum Rule.
The Platinum Rule is pretty simple: be as kind to yourself as you try to be to others.
Most of us aren’t great at showing ourselves kindness, patience, and compassion. As our own worst critics, we tend to come down hard on ourselves for everything from simple slip-ups to life-changing mistakes or decisions. We doubt ourselves. We use harsh words in our self-talk and we neglect to care for ourselves in the moments we need it most.
The evidence supporting the importance of positive self-talk is overwhelming. When we use positive self-talk, we’re more likely to feel confident and be productive so it’s not surprising that negative self-talk hinders our ability to do well.
Think about it: how can you feel good if you’re telling yourself that you’re not?
Setting a commitment to practice positive self-talk was an important lesson I took away from my experience with counselling, last year along with generally just being kinder to myself. But it’s important to note: I committed to a practice, which means I need to be mindful of my self-talk every day. It’s a daily thing, not a one-off and I’m not perfect. Which is totally OK.
During my first week at a new job, instead of focusing on showing up every day and getting myself established, I berated myself for not making it to the gym, snacking on chocolate in my office, and spending too little time with my loved ones. Once I realized what I was doing, I was able to curb the behavior and – more importantly – reprioritize the activities I need to do in order to feel my best.
It’s generally been my experience that when I treat myself well, I’m better equipped to treat others well, too. I’m a more patient mother when I’ve shown myself patience and understanding. I’m a more loving partner when I’ve remembered to love myself. I can do better work when I’ve put a little work into caring for myself and making sure my needs are met. It’s not particularly difficult to do, even if it’s occasionally a bit of challenge to remember to treat myself with kindness and compassion.
You can start by simply saying “You got this,” to yourself in the morning. Let go of the guilt when you miss the first 20 minutes of the Christmas concert (they sounded terrible, anyway, let’s be real). Forgive yourself for not getting to the laundry. Forget about that one time you accidentally did that thing in front of your colleagues. Say “please” and “thank you” to yoursrelf. Say nice things to yourself.
You are worth far more than your weight in gold – or platinum – and you should absolutely treat yourself as such.