How to have your own back

My best friend in middle school was a high baller shot caller. She was cooler than me by miles. Trampoline in the back yard. Pinball machine, pool table, and full bar in the basement! Man! 

And her dad was awesome. 

He’d drive us to school in his Mercedes (which even at 12 I understood meant this family was way more hip than mine!). Before he would drive away he would roll down the passenger window, lean over and say, “MAKE IT HAPPEN TODAY GIRLS!” 

We would walk away mortified. Or at least I acted like I was mortified. 

If I could have articulated back then that having someone give me that much positive encouraging attention totally made my day – I would have sent him a cake pops basket. 

We’ve all heard this before – 

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Well, I for one, would do a ton of stuff! 

And you know what helps us be able to do a ton of stuff in the midst of fear? 


Knowing someone has our back. 

I’ve been more adventurous and brave when I have had someone there by my side reminding me that I totally have this! I can do it!

So much of our time is spent jumping through hoops to earn support. And clinging to the little we receive.

My friend’s dad was my have-your-back person. That short last-minute message was a wonderful psychic balm as I walked the scary halls of Hidden Valley Jr High. 

From what I have seen in my office, and have worked on myself, is that we can also create our OWN support, encouragement and confidence. Because sometimes people aren’t able to be our cheering section.

Check out these beginning steps to a mindful way of teaching yourself how to approach your day that you can feel supported, encouraged, and capable of having a MAKE IT HAPPEN day!!

1. How you are talking to yourself?

The majority of us are critical of ourselves. Automatic negative or self-defeating thoughts are on constant circulation in our minds. Assessing our every move. It’s important to know how we are processing our experiences before we can change anything.

2. How does it feel to be self-critical?

Take a minute to really feel what it’s like to have this inner a-hole coach on the sidelines making harsh comments about what you are eating for lunch or how you spent 4 hours watching The Office on Comedy Central instead of cleaning your house.

Do you feel uplifted? Heavy? A bit shamed? Motivated? Unfortunately, this isn’t multiple choice. You’ve got to find out for yourself what its like to be in this incessant atmosphere of criticism. 

3. How about throw in a change of perspective?

Now, imagine you are working a movie camera. Pull back from the scene and notice that this is ONE way of looking at things. To help you find another angle, challenge yourself to notice your surroundings. Name a few things you notice. 

The grain of the wood on your office desk. 

A sound. I LOVE the sound of my dog’s toenails on the hardwood floor. 

A feeling in your physical body. Tightness. Tired. Headache. Whatever is most obvious to you.

Breathing. Simple. Easy. Full breath in and out. Then ask, what’s going on around you?

Realize that your inner voice is pliable. It can shift to your immediate present moment reality and help you recognize the other experiences happening concurrently. 

This might be the most important realization in this process. 

4. How can I be helpful to myself right now?

What would be most helpful as we are feeling something uncomfortable. Keeping in mind that yes, chocolate, wine, Netflix are all ‘comforting’ in moderation. Okay? 

This is more like what you would have wanted from your parents, or teachers or coaches when you were a kid. What could they have said to you that would have given you that little boost of “I GOT THIS”?

Then say it to yourself. take a minute to yourself, slow down, place your hand on your heart and say, “Its okay. This is scary/hard/uncomfortable, but we are still good.”

I would have liked to hear, 

“Ah man! Aren’t you amazing! You really played a great game even though you guys lost.” 

“I see you really tried on that project and I’m proud of you for all the time and effort you put in.” 

I would have loved to be reminded that the ONE thing I was focusing on that was going wrong or not like I wanted it to, wasn’t the FINAL verdict on whether I was okay as a person. 

That the ONE thing was just ONE thing. 

It was ONE thing in a series of a hundred million things that I could use to assess if I was okay. 

We gotta remind ourselves of this sometimes. And that’s okay. It’s part of being a grown up. 

Try it out for yourself. Would love to hear how it goes!

tl;dr version —

  1. Notice the critic
  2. Slow down and see its view point is not the only one
  3. Practice mindfulness of reality – there are other things going on here outside of my thoughts
  4. Ask yourself what you need right now to move forward
  5. Set that up for yourself – show yourself you are listening
  6. Repeat as much as possible