September 28, 2020
Word of the Week: Lovingkindness
I spent a lot of my time in graduate school researching why women are so hard on themselves. I was personally interested in this topic because I’ve had a harsh inner critic for most of my life and was always told it was because I set too high of expectations for myself. But then I started coaching other women—other brilliant, accomplished women—who also struggled with harsh inner critics, and I began to ask myself: What about society is making all of these amazing women doubt themselves even with a proven track record of success? What if women weren’t born perfectionists but are sculpted into them?
This sent me down a two-year rabbit hole, scouring every academic paper written on perfectionism. I examined the many different manifestations of perfectionism—anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, workaholism, alcoholism, cheating, divorce, imposter syndrome, micromanaging, disordered eating—and started to see major threads that led back to the ways in which people internalize the expectations imposed upon them and the ways in which institutions (like the academic system, workplace and Hollywood) perpetuate the problem.
One of my favorite findings, the one that made me tear up, was that contrary to popular belief, self-compassion, not self-criticism, is the most effective way to motivate yourself and others. It can feel really unnatural—coming from a society that teaches you to hate yourself to self-improvement. Instead of harping on your mistakes or demanding you do better next time, extending lovingkindness to yourself when you feel like a failure, will help you bounce back more quickly. How beautiful is that?
As the Monday Vibes community is all about being kinder to yourself, this month, I’m so excited to feature London-based MV subscriber and product and brand strategist Safia Tapal, who is on her own courageous self-love journey:
How you are currently spending your energy:
Developing my intuition, both personally—through mindful self-compassion and somatic work—and professionally to help me find the next right fit. I’m working up the courage to create a personal website as a product and brand strategist, and part of that process is writing more frequently to develop (and find) my voice.
Why do you love Monday Vibes:
It’s raw, authentic and—as much as it’s overused—unique. I look forward to reading each MV email and find a lot of the messages and anecdotes Elizabeth shares very relatable. She’s thoughtful in the way she writes; it makes the content resonate in a way that I don’t find often.
What’s your current fave self-care ritual:
I’ve started doing 30 minutes of Downward-Facing Dog every morning, which I find soothing and relaxing. I don’t count it as exercise—even though it is movement—but rather a grounding way to start my day. I also spend about 30 to 45 minutes every morning making a hearty and veggie-filled breakfast, which I love.
What song are you currently jamming out to:
Man Kunto Maula by Abi Sampa (Follow the Spotify playlist “Jam it Out with Elizabeth” to stay up-to-date with the weekly tunes 🎵)
How would your BFF describe you in 3 emojis:
What gift would you like to offer the MV community:
I’ve recently really enjoyed First We Make the Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson.
Where people can find you to say hi:
So grateful for each and every one of you!