As a coach and meditation teacher I talk about self compassion a lot. Why? Because it is at the root of much of our discomfort. We can be horribly mean to ourselves. Often, in ways we may not always be consciously aware of. Think about it for a moment. In any given day, can you even count the amount of times that some negative thought about yourself passed through your mind? Could be a judgement, an unrealistic expectation, some self limiting thinking? Think about how much energy that can drain from your daily life. If your mind is kept busy in a self negative state you probably won’t have the vitality and joy to fully embrace your daily life. I am right there with you!
How we are with the world is a mirror for how we are with ourselves. Judgements, expectations, rules, and regulations, etc, etc, etc…
So, the question is, are you practicing self compassion? Chances are , not always. Are you practicing self compassion consciously? Maybe , maybe not. But if you have landed on this page , chances are , that you are on a path of spiritual development. If that’s the case, what would be the first stop on this path? Self compassion.
Let’s talk about what it really means to be self compassionate . Seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? Well, often people confuse it with self centeredness, or being selfish even narcissism. And… not to be confused with self esteem- which can come in to play if you feel that you don’t deserve to be self compassionate. For a further definition check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-compassion
Ok – So, How do we improve and practice daily conscious compassion for self?
Why We Need to Practice Self-Compassion
Well for one, it’s starts with awareness.
You will find that in almost every blog I write , I will mention awareness as the starting point. Why? Because it is always the first step in creating self transformation.
We first must become aware of how we are thinking , feeling, doing, before we can make any changes.
With my clients, I often talk about ‘flash card thoughts’ – They are the negative thoughts that come up so quickly, we may not even realize it and then BOOM! What happens? WE stop, we doubt, we get blocked , feel fatigue . Any of those sound familiar? Then what happens? We may feel fear, anxiety, maybe even hopelessness. The outcome: reduced energy, vitality and joy.
An Easy Self-Compassion Practice
How about keeping track of all the ways that you are hard on your self? A suggestion would be to spend a week really focusing on this. Perhaps keep a log, or small notebook, a counter… you decide what works best for you. You may be amazed how often a negative thought pops up. Write down the ones that seem to be the most repetitive.
Those little voices that tell you, ‘you are not good enough’, attractive enough, talented enough, smart enough, not creative…. etc, etc, etc…. Although those thoughts may sometimes feels very true or very real, they are not!
Once you have developed a deeper awareness of your thoughts, YOU have the power to change them.
Finding tools that can support you is really helpful. Ie: meditation, vis-ualizations, writing. To truly transform ourselves is not magic. It takes discipline and de-termination.
Think about what qualities you have or would want in a best friend. Maybe write them down. Some examples; kindness, generosity, warmth, love, loyalty, trust, sense of humor etc…. Whatever is important to you. NOW, ask yourself if you practice those qualities with yourself???
Imagine that ideal best friend is a mirror image of you, always there to support and love you unconditionally. How does that feel? Pretty good I bet…
Be your own best friend. Be kind to yourself. Love yourself and you will find that love extending outward to the world… We need that more than ever…