Have you had those moments filled with nagging voices in your head especially after something emotionally draining activity such as an interview, a test, an argument , a wedding, a break-up or even as simple as a comment on your blog-post or not exercising today. I have those constantly looming in my head:
“You have no discipline”
“How could I have done this”
” I should not have said this”
“Maybe I could have prepared better, written better , spoken better ” etc etc etc
Most of the times it is much more harsher than I want it to be.
Self-compassion has been my work-in-progress for a while now. I never consciously implement it until I reach a point where I just have made myself feel so miserable that I am forced to be kind. So when I saw that when this month’s topic on 1000 Voices for Compassion was Self-compassion I willed myself to practice and to write about it.
Self-compassion or self-love is a way of treating yourself better without any external influences. Showing compassion and kindness to yourself like how you would to another living being. Trusting yourself to be your friend.It is not to be confused with self-esteem or self-confidence. It is definitely not indulging yourself in a narcissistic way, swiping your credit card to feel better or posting a selfie for a 100 likes.
To understand better , what would you do when a dear friend fails in an examination? You tend to be kind and supportive (I suppose!). You help the person to deal with the situation and feel better. Tell them that this is not the end of the world and that they will get through it. Even make sure they find resources to get through it.
What would you do if the same happened to you? If it was me, I would beat myself up mentally, scold, curse and think of all worse possibilities.When you show kindness to a friend, why not yourself? After all, aren’t you more important? I know it is not the end of the world. But I wouldn’t want to believe it and no amount of coaxing from others is going to help me .. Other than myself. Until I tell myself that it is okay and that I am going to make sure I get through it, I am not going to feel better.
Ofcourse, you are probably thinking “Easy to say, but hard to practice”. Which is true! But it is definitely possible.
Research has proven that people who show self-love tend to fair better than those who are self -critical. People who are self-critical are much more stressed out, set higher standards and over time get weaker mentally . So why not try the research proven method?
‘To err is human’ – All of us make mistakes, consciously or unconsciously, the fact that we are mindful of it itself is a great step , so let that guide you towards the next step rather than beating yourself up for recognizing your mistake.
So how could you love yourself better? The first steps I took were to separate myself from the action. Every time I start feeling miserable about something, I think “How would I react if this happened to a friend?” How would I help someone else move on from this situation? And I would treat myself the same way . Don’t pity yourself or exaggerate your emotions. Consciously understand your feelings and work on the the next steps to move ahead. If approaching it in your head gets difficult then write them down on a piece of paper or type it up.
How does that help? I am on my own for the most part so the effort to treat myself better also helps with fighting occasional bouts of self-pity and loneliness. The need for another person to vent or hold on to reduces. You become more comfortable with yourself. When you start treating yourself better, you treat people around you better and you will receive the same back without setting expectations.
So the next time you blurt out something inappropriate, send a wrong email, flunk an interview or eat a few cheat meals, remind yourself that it’s okay. Do the right thing (apologizing, preparing better, exercising more) and move on. Nobody is perfect and nobody is going to get out alive anyway!
Be kind, to everyone including yourself !
Do you have any personal goals like this? Are you someone who practices self-compassion or want to do it or don’t want to do it? What did you think of this post?
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