Self compassion comes hardest to us when we need it most. When we have done something we are ashamed of, or fallen short off the mark we feel we need to meet, or have gone against are own values or aren’t who we thought we “should” be.
We usually meet all these situations with judgment, criticism and some kind of self defeating talk
Its no surprise though, we live in a society that encourages shame, that feeds the story of “not good enough” and usually cruel before and after pictures to encourage progress
We use examples of before and after as a way to shame anyone who identifies with the before encouraging us to become the after picture.
We are more than a before and after, we are a continuous process, living between these images. A continuous two steps forward and one step back. We are human after all.
Since when does being flawed, human and figuring stuff out make us inadequate?
Most of us see our perceived flaws as inadequacy that need fixing, rather than wounds that need loving. Thats because we have learned to be motivated by feelings of less than, of inadequacy and of not enough to move forward. I have found it unsustainable for most people to maintain when they are motivated by inadequacy.
It takes quite a bit of energy to change anything, think about changing your clothes, or a tyre or house or schools .. they all take a level of energy from us.
When we approach everything with a critical voice we spend an awful lot of our energy just being there, without any shift or changes being made.
Self compassion is a powerful tool in change that can be learned, fostered and used to motivate us as well as maintain changes.
There is more energy available to change something when self compassion is the base feeling being fed. It stops you throwing away everything because of one set back. It keeps you on track and gives you more energy to accomplish and attain the results you want! It also makes changing feel good, which increases your odds in actually changing it.
When I am working with a client and suggest self compassion as an intervention in their change process whether it be work related, weight related or relationship related its usually met with a confused look.
I believe that is because most of us were never taught to use kindness towards ourselves as a way of changing anything, instead what is role modeled is harsh critical self talk.
It just doesn’t work though and on the rare occasion when it does and you lose the weight or stop doing something or continue doing something else. The internal voice has been so cruel that you can’t enjoy being there or you move the goal posts or you never actually get the feeling you were hoping to get from the change
Often people worry that if they were kind to themselves they will get lazy or give up on the goal. The opposite usually happens though, the goal itself feels easier to attain and motivation comes more naturally.
I know its hard to comprehend but think about constantly giving out to a child, do they warm to the process as much as if you were supporting them in it? (Hypothetical question because the answer is they don’t!)
Self compassion has the power to change your relationships, your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being, your feeling towards life and the hope you have for the future.
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