Self Compassion: Do you have it?
For the month of May I’m going to focus on Self-Compassion and post all the articles and memes I can find that express the importance of caring for ourselves and the danger of falling for excessive self-criticism.
By now most of us have heard of ‘the carrot and the stick.’ We are taught from childhood (by parents, teachers, and coaches) to be motivated to achieve. Usually the stick does the trick (not the carrot.) Obviously, I’m talking about the tough love technique (without an actual stick); learn to work hard or end up grounded, humiliated, or punished in some way. These time tested techniques teach us to be hard on ourselves and to nit-pick situations to death when they don’t go our way, analyzing for failures perceived or real. For some this leads to achievement but for many more it leads to stifled motivation and a fear of failure.
What if the carrot was used instead? What if you were given the tools to help you in life? What if you were taught listening skills, analytical/critical-thinking skills, life-coaching skills and other ways to boost your confidence and give you the real skills you need to understand the ups and downs of life without getting caught in the undertow. Rather than waiting for someone to show you compassion maybe you deserve to show your self a little compassion.
Not to blame the well-meaning people who helped shape us, they did the best they could. Here we are! Are we invested in seeking ways to supplement our learning? New ideas and new ways to express kindness and understanding for ourselves may help us to lead a well-rounded life, cope with hills and valleys, and lead us to a greater appreciation for our own journey?
There is an animated video from The School of Life (link below) on the topic of Self Compassion. I’ve added a breakdown on the main points if you don’t have time to watch it.
1. Realize the task was very hard – the mountain was high we may have fallen
2. We have tricky family histories – some of our troubles include that we were not set up to succeed
3. Media – un-dramatic quiet failure is the statistical norm, media exclusively portrays the wealthy, successful and genetically blessed, but it isn't a reflection of real life
4. Tough self-critical people don't believe in luck they take full responsibility. However, dumb luck is a genuine part of life, you can be as vigilant as possible but things happen (some good, some bad)
5. Your whole worth is not dependent on your achievement – rehearse internal voices (kind words that others have shared about you) independent of achievement you are still a wonderful person
6. This too shall pass – reduce expectations to zero, take each thing as it comes