Upon occasion, there is a straw that breaks the camel's back, and I find myself on the verge of a meltdown. Often it's a very silly straw. Usually it has to do with some "first world problem" like the fact that the coffee I was REALLY looking forward to was made not quite the way I wanted it but I've already driven away and there's no fixing it now, or maybe that I have to spend money on something like dental work instead of "fun stuff" and it puts me in a pout. Whatever it is, it's definitely not a big deal, and my wise, adult mind can recognize all of this. Nevertheless, I find myself battling tears of frustration while simultaneously berating myself for getting so worked up over something so stupid.
Surely, I'm not alone in this. (Or some variation of this.) Please, tell me I'm not alone in this!
I'm just going to assume that I'm not special, and that therefore my little trick might be helpful to others, too. So here it is:
Step 1: analyze the background situation.
Maybe you're sleep-deprived. Maybe you haven't had enough to eat. Maybe you've been holding your sh*t together related to some pretty stressful things for a while now, and you're just TIRED.
Step 2: think about a child you know.
Now think about what a monster this child turns into when he or she is "stressed" in the ways mentioned in Step 1 (or their kid-equivalents, since mortgage payments, job pressures, and the like obviously don't apply at age two or whatever).
Step 3: apply the understanding (and maybe even love) you are able to feel for the child in Step 2 to yourself.
That's it! Hopefully you're at minimum able to stop beating yourself up for having feelings that are completely and totally human, and are at least one step closer to being able to let go and rise above whatever disappointment derailed you momentarily. It's really ok. It happens to everyone.
Terms like "self-love" and "self-compassion" can sound a little touchy-feely, and often I'm too much of a grinch to want to go there. I tend to be pretty hard on myself, and I know that's not always helpful or productive. That's why sometimes it helps me to try to treat myself with the love and understanding I'd at least attempt to show a child, and to remember that I'm only human, and therefore will likely be cranky if I'm not well-fed or well-rested. You've been warned. ;)