Stop Beating Yourself Up: 5 Self-Compassion Essentials
When you’re hurting. When you’ve made a mistake. Or, when you’re feeling angry, sad, embarrassed, jealous, inadequate, [insert painful feeling here] …
Which of these put-downs do you say to yourself?
“It’s no big deal.”
“Stupid. Why’d you do that!?”
“Just get over it.”
“Just let it go.”
“What’s wrong with you?”
“I can’t believe I did that.”
“That was dumb.”
Be honest now... What do you say to yourself in moments of struggle?
Most people tend toward one extreme or the other. You might avoid or ignore your feelings by brushing it off and minimizing how you feel. Or, you might overidentify and drown in your feelings and thoughts, replaying mistakes and negative self-talk over and over and over again.
Self-compassion requires that you take the middle road. You need to acknowledge your thoughts and feelings for what they are. And, just allow them to be there.
It’s impossible to ignore your feelings and be compassionate at the same time.
And, it’s impossible to be judgemental and compassionate at the same time.
You might want to run and avoid the pain, but that only prolongs the hurt. Rather than ignore what is real, you need to do what might feel counter-intuitive. You need to turn toward the feelings. Allow them to be there. See them for what they are.
Many people tell me they have good self-awareness. And, I believe it. However, self-awareness without criticism and judgement is very rare. True self-compassion requires that you acknowledge your feelings with warmth, loving kindness, and open curiosity.
How do you do this, you ask?
Place your hand on your heart and declare that you will honour your feelings.
State out loud all of the feelings, thoughts and even body sensations (eg, knot in stomach, tight chest, busy brain, clenched jaw), that you feel.
Say, “Of course, I feel………. because…….”. When you fill in the “because……” you don’t need to “make things up” or “look for excuses”. Just repeat the situation out loud.
Say, “It’s ok to feel………”.
Now here’s the essential step. You need to remind yourself that other people feel the same way, especially if they are in the same situation.
The step is difficult for many people because you often feel alone or like no one gets it. I’m here to tell you, that after 30-years as a counsellor, I KNOW that your feelings are NOT unusual. They are actually, typical. I don’t want to minimize your feelings. Instead, I’m telling you this, to let you know that you are in good company. To remind you, that your feelings are normal and you are not alone.
If you would like support to work these steps, you can book an appointment here.