What’s your first reaction when you think of being ‘self-compassionate’?
“yea, I know I should be, but I just don’t have time”; or
“well, that’s just pure selfishness”; or
“I’ve started to give myself just five mins self-care each day, and can feel the difference already”?
Self-Compassion gets a really bad rap in today’s world of do-more/have-more/I-have-to-look-after-others-before-myself. However, well-documented scientific research now shows that treating your Self with self-compassion increases your self-confidence, resilience and happiness and also contributes to a heartfelt life.
Last month’s article created a huge response, and many thanks to all who connected through email or my website. This month, I’m offering some further simple tools for you to choose from to enhance your self-compassion (let’s call it S-C for short).
But first let’s clear up some myths:
- “Being self-compassionate is selfish”. It’s the opposite, actually. By allowing yourself to be fully aware of your needs and pay attention to them, you’ll have more energy and love to give to others.
- “It means you don’t take responsibility for your life and choices”. Being self-compassionate simply means you try and understand yourself from a place of self-acceptance and empathy.
- “This is all just gooey-wooey, cheesey, stuff”. Look at the well-documented scientific research out of major institutions like Harvard and University of Austin in Texas. By tapping into the benefits of S-C, you will be happier, more resilient in challenging times, less stressed, more confident and less anxious, according to a 2015 analysis of 79 studies that found S-C is linked to better overall wellbeing.
As you treat yourself with the same level of kindness that you would treat others, your self-worth goes up. Your mind understands that you are valuing yourself. You are changing the neural pathways in your brain. On our biofeedback loop, this impacts us at all levels: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Four Simple Tips
- Be Aware
The first step in addressing a problem is admitting it exists. In the case of S-C, that means noticing the times your inner dialogue sounds more like an enemy than a friend.
- Realise you are (sometimes) already doing it
It’s important to know when you are already showing S-C. When I ask audience members at my workshops if they were self-kind that day, some people raise their hands. In fact, they all should do so as they are there at my workshops!
Most people are highly self-critical, and the idea of S-C can seem really strange. But acknowledging when you’ve practiced it shifts you into a S-C mindset.
Keep a private journal, to log simple instances of when you’ve shown S-C. You can’t refute the evidence.
- Permission to focus on You
While you may be concerned that taking care of you means neglecting loved ones, when you show yourself S-C, you have more emotional resources to give to others. Try it for 30 days, log the evidence.
- Be Aware of your Self talk
When you find yourself snarled up in thoughts like “I really messed up; I got that really wrong; I’m so !*&^%* stupid;” take a breath. Ask yourself if you would speak to a good friend in that way? Chances are you wouldn’t. Simply change your tone – either verbally in your mind, or out loud. What can also be a powerful help is to write a letter to yourself from the viewpoint of an unconditional, non-judgemental and loving friend. Yep – weird, but it works.
“I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent. They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.” Dr. Kristin Neff
Visit my FREE 30-Day Self Compassion Project, starting in late March 2016, to join with other women and explore how you can develop self-compassion habits that stay with you and support you in living your choice of a heartfelt life.
I’d love your feedback and thoughts. Email me: email@example.com. Visit www.trudyarthurs.com to subscribe for my regular free newsletter – you’ll receive a free Compassionate Confidence e-book when it’s published . Looking forward to connecting with you, really soon.
Tootles, with love, for now.
© Dancing Leopards Ltd 2016