Lately, I’ve been noticing more and more how critical of an ingredient self-compassion is in allowing us to be present and there for others authentically with humility and an open heart.
What if the first thought we had in relation to self-compassion was humility instead of ego?
The influence our degree of self-compassion has in how we experience life and our enjoyment of it daily is vast.
To carry a joy and excitement for life, not only when we’re on holiday or on a trip – but every day as we meet others, our lives, our careers, and our self! To listen and hear, to see, be, and feel.
The most common thing that occurs when we abandon our self-compassion is our inability to effectively use these inherent human functions we’re born with.
Now more than ever, there is a dire need for a shift in our mindset on self-compassion. What it means, and what it truly does for us.
HOW LACKING SELF-COMPASSION HURTS US IN OUR LIVES:
- We are never fully satisfied or feel good enough in our workplace due to a constant stream of self-doubt and self-criticism
- Our productivity and performance is impacted, we even work ourselves to burnout and hurt our professional relationships.
- In our relationships, we project our self-criticism by being critical of how others should behave to make us happy, making it difficult for true connection and vulnerability.
- We unintentionally yet continuously create a rift within our connections with others and a lack of empathy within our connections (think interrupting our friends when they’re talking)
- We fail to show up authentically! Even for the most special occasions, our presence can’t meet others while buried in shame, pain, and heaviness, causing us to be less engaged in conversations, distracted, and self-isolate
Being self-compassionate is not only empowering, but it is also proven to:
- Improve our mental health by reducing depression, anxiety, stress, and substance abuse.
- Enhance our physical health, including improved immune system and lower blood pressure
- Increase our coping skills and emotional resilience
- Betters our professional and academic performance
- Create motivation for making change in our life
Who knew a little kindness could go so far. Oscar Wilde said, “to love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” I heard this quote on my meditation, Monday morning after sending the first edition of Sunday Tea with the topic of Self-love and was all smiles by the synchronicity. Twisting the words a bit to a natural truth to our existence – being in love with life itself can arguably be the biggest gift of life to be awake to.
PRACTICAL TIPS TO CULTIVATE SELF-COMPASSION:
As a recovering perfectionist, I am an enthusiast for positive affirmations as a tool for self-compassion in that they help us reframe and transform our negative beliefs! They can be a cushion to cozy into from negative thoughts.
Good news is I won’t sound like a broken record because there are many ways to practice self-compassion in your daily life – so if positive affirmations aren’t for you. – NO FRET there are many other ways to cultivate self-compassion:
- Validate your emotions: allow yourself to feel your emotions without judging them for coming through. We were created with emotions to experience and grow through life with them..
- Ask and discern what they’re teaching you as opposed to resorting to escaping or numbing how we feel? The more we avoid our feelings, the more they persist. You may be surprised how quickly it may pass if you allow it to come through – kind of like the relief after a good cry!
- Prioritize activities that nourish your mind, body, and inner being;
- Practice mindfulness by spending a day or half-day without your phone to give your mind space, in the present moment and not feel at the whim of technology or constant context switching!
- Become aware of your thoughts! Ask yourself if your thoughts are a reflection of facts or just negative personal beliefs
- Give back to your body! It could be taking your favorite exercise class (pilates anyone?) to treat your muscle memory to something new.
- Give your mind, soul, and body a treat by going on a 30 minute walk outside for fresh air and energy! Imagine if we were outside as much as we spend time scrolling through social media.
- Treat yourself to a massage at least, once a month!! Your body deserves a good massage or movement activity that gets your energy moving. If massage isn’t for you, try acupuncture with an expert or foam rolling at home! Imagine, 60 minutes to honor our body once a month (minimum), is only 12 self-love hours a year – in comparison to the average adult that sits about 2-3,000 hours per year (according to the journal of occupational and environmental medicine). That is some shocking stats to learn our body is sitting for about 83-125 FULL DAYS!!! Is that a big motivator to GET UP or what?
- Create a thank-me list: think of the things you love and appreciate about yourself; say it outloud or write it in your phone or notebook so it’s accessible – front and center to lean on. Make it at least 10 things ! bonus tea if it’s more!!
- Having this on hand is so helpful when we get self-critical or say, “I’m so lazy”, or “I never get things right” to one of your favorite qualities or skills like being an awesome cook!
- All this to say, think about your positive qualities, things you like about yourself, your talents, skills, traits, personality, relationships, and accomplishments. Being a caring mom or dad? Reliable sibling or friend? A loyal Wife, Husband or Partner? A loving Son or Daughter? A devoted colleague? The list can go on.
- We show up as so many different people in different contexts every day! Honor yourself.
- Forgive yourself! Acknowledge where you made a mistake, learn from it and move on. No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes!
- As soon as we forgive ourself, we create the space for healing and growth to happen.
- Accept your flaws, and imperfections. It’s okay to be human!!
- Write yourself a letter of forgiveness by writing out everything you’re angry yourself about followed by a love letter to give yourself the self-love and appreciation you deserve
Remember, self-compassion and kindness (or anything self-growth) isn’t overnight! It takes time, messing up, effort, and patience. Be kind to yourself just as you are with a baby learning to walk. It is so much about small steps, being aware when we forget, and trying again. Otherwise, we’d never learn to walk!!
I’d love to hear from you if you have any thoughts or comments.