3 ways to be your best self

3 ways to be your best self

Happiness means different things to different people.

But one of the simplest ways to think about happiness and success is … living our best lives and being our best selves.

This article by Eric Barker focuses on 3 great research-backed ways to achieve this…

How should we treat other people? Well, if you look at ancient traditions, they’re very often on the same page. Golden Rule for the win:

  • King James Bible: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them.”
  • Hinduism: “Knowing how painful it is to himself, a person should never do to others what he dislikes when done to him by others.”
  • Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor.”
  • Islam: “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”

But there’s another question that gets a lot less attention:

How should you treat you?

On this subject we hear a lot of conflicting stuff. Some say confidence is critical and we should always be pumping ourselves up. Others say humility is key and we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. And some think we should be hard on ourselves in order to become the best we can be.

But I read something recently that really clicked. It actually made me stop and say, “Wow.”

From 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos:

Treat yourself as if you were someone you were responsible for helping.

Sure, you might be indulgent or impulsively do something you enjoy — but how often do you really approach yourself with the care and concern that you do for a friend in need, a beloved family member, an adorable pet, or a child in your care?

We’ll tell others they need to ask for help — but not reach out when we need it. We’ll be there for friends during difficult times — but not be as sympathetic with ourselves when the problems are our own. And all too often we believe in others when we don’t believe in ourselves.

Heck, even your car gets a tune up now and then but we have no such program of care and maintenance for our own lives.

And then I realized why this idea clicked with me so strongly: it’s supported by no small number of scientific studies.

Research by Kristin Neff, a professor at University of Texas at Austin, has shown something that you’ll probably intuitively agree with: you’re often far harder on yourself than others. Why is that?

Part of it comes down to neuroscience. Your brain is wired to care for friends in need. But that same system doesn’t naturally kick in when we beat ourselves up. When I spoke with Kristin, here’s what she said:

When a friend fails, you don’t feel threatened. You can easily access a part of your physiology: the care-giving system. As mammals we all have part of ourselves that is devoted to care-giving for a friend in need. But when I’m threatened my natural response is fight, flight or freeze. Now, of course, that system developed in order to protect our bodily self, but the problem is that when we fail, our self-concept gets threatened and our body reacts exactly the same way. When we feel threatened we can’t access the care-giving system. Our most immediate and strongest reaction is this fight or flight response. We fight the problem — which is ourselves. We attack ourselves, we judge ourselves, or we feel really isolated. In a way, I think that’s the reason it’s so much easier to be kind to others than ourselves, because we aren’t threatened by others’ problems. We are being hard on ourselves and we’re tapping into the reptilian brain as opposed to the more mature care-giving area.

So we can really benefit by treating ourselves like someone we’re responsible for helping.

Let’s look at three ways the research shows this perspective can lead to a better life — and to your best self…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE