Truth be told, I try to publish a blog every Friday and usually try to have it written by Wednesday. However, it is almost 11pm on Thursday night as I start this, as it has been a busy week and as I have been filled with thoughts, it was more challenging to pin one down this week. I try to write about things that have arisen in the week from clients or my own struggles and work on making things real and how we are all doing our best to cope with the daily struggle. Tonight, I too, am trying to be kind to myself and show compassion towards myself for being a little less on top of things this week.
That all being said, I’ve had a few people who are very close to me struggling quite a bit with having self-compassion this week- leading my heart in that direction tonight. When things aren’t going right and we feel that things just aren’t falling into place like we once believed they would, we tend to blame ourselves. “It must be me,” seems like the “go to” answer during these times. I’ve heard that Self-Compassion is “the golden rule in reverse.” Instead of treating others how you would like to be treated, it is treating yourself how you would treat a close friend or family member.
How do we do this? As we all know this sounds great but is much easier to say than to implement.
Rather than self-blame, or by totally ignoring the issue-we can mindfully acknowledge the current state of pain. Bring awareness to the thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations that are experienced as a result of the situation. Do your best to do this without judgement. Just notice, almost as from a distance. Think of this as a bird’s eye view, seeing everything clearly but without the judgment of being “in it.”
Remind yourself of the common thread of humanity in the way that we all experience suffering at some time in our life. We are all striving for growth, happiness, and love and yet we all make mistakes sometimes and each person matters. And…if each person matters and suffering is not comparable…then YOU MATTER TOO!
Be kind to yourself. When you find yourself being critical, acknowledge the thought as such, and let the thought go. “I recognize this as a critical thought. I see it and I choose to let it go.” Work on responding with gentle empathy, as you might with an upset or crying child.
There are meditations and activities to increase your level of self-compassion on Dr. Kristin Neff’s website at Self-Compassion and one specific tool that she teaches that is quick and easy to implement can be found here. She has spent much of her career on this subject and also holds workshops on self-compassion for the general public.
Showing ourselves the same love and compassion we show others is not always easy and takes ongoing practice. It is like a muscle we can strengthen and the more we use it, the easier it becomes. So be kind to yourself on the good days and embrace all the greatness that you are. On the not so great days, be extra loving, empathetic, and remind yourself to look for the best in yourself in the same way you do others. Breathe in love, breath out gratitude.
As always, if you would like some one on one coaching around something related to this or moving through barriers that have kept you stuck, I’d love to talk more with you. Please see my contact page for information on setting up a free 30 minute consultation call with me.