If you are an ambitious woman and a perfectionist, you tend to be hard on yourself when things don’t go smoothly. You like to have your fingers in way too many pies at the time, and you’re a bit like a headless chook … then you criticise yourself for not doing enough.
You believe if you try harder, you will be able to do it all. All you need is to find the right system that works for you. Yet, somehow you never manage to complete all the things on your breathlessly long to-do list.
Ahhhh! Sounds familiar?
Believe me; you are not alone. The above is a description of my old self.
In this blog post, I’m showing you how to transform self-criticism into self-compassion so that you can finally accept your “imperfections”.
WHAT DOES SELF-COMPASSION MEAN?
Self-compassion is the most misunderstood life skill. Yet it is an essential skill for your happiness. In a nutshell, self-compassion is being kind to yourself the way you are kind to your best friend.
It never occurs to us to say to a co-worker, “You stupid cow! How could you misspell the word elicit on your report and then sent it to your boss without the proofreading?” But how many times have we bullied ourselves in that way?
I like this quote from Kristen Neff, “Unlike self-criticism, which asks if you are good enough, self-compassion asks what’s good for you?”
It’s worth paying attention to how you treat yourself daily? Kindly or badly?
HOW DO YOU GIVE YOURSELF SELF-COMPASSION?
Giving yourself self-compassion is no different than being compassionate to your friend. A simple but effective exercise for beginners is speaking to yourself kindly when you don’t cross off all the tasks on your to-do list, make a mistake or when you are overwhelmingly busy, yelling at your children and regretting it.
To help you learn self-compassion hands-on, here is a simple exercise you can incorporate into daily life. It’ll take you 3-5 min.
Whenever you make a mistake, fail, feel hurt, angry, shame, or any other unpleasant emotion, sit down, put your both hands over your heart and ask yourself, “What would I say to my best friend in this situation?” Then say it to yourself.
WHY IS SELF-COMPASSION SO HARD?
There are many reasons for it. I’ll list the most important three.
Reason #1: No one showed us what self-compassion looks like. It’s not a common skill. You’ve been criticising yourself for 30, 40, 50 years. Of course, self-compassion feels wrong, unnatural, and hard. It’s a new muscle that you need to develop—as with all habits, developing a self-compassion habit takes time and feels hard at the beginning.
Reason #2: Self-compassion can elicit backdraft. Backdraft is an expression that firefighters use when a fire has used all the oxygen. When new oxygen is introduced through an open window, the air rushes in, and flames rush out. The same is when we open our closed harts with self-compassion. When we let self-love in old pain rushes out.
Reason #3: Most of the time, we are not mindful. Therefore, not always aware of our suffering or self-criticism. Mindfulness means that we accept the present moment as it is. That usually brings up in us a lot of resistance. We tend to fight our difficult feelings which just add fuel to the fire.
WHAT ARE EXAMPLES OF SELF-COMPASSION?
Self-compassion is an amazing skill you can apply to all difficult situations in your life. Some examples of self-compassion are:
- Speaking to yourself kindly when making a mistake or saying something stupid.
- Asking yourself what your needs are and meeting your needs daily – especially if you have a busy women syndrome and you feel guilty when you rest.
- Feeling, allowing, and soothing your painful emotions while giving yourself a lot of tenderness.
- Connecting with your higher self and your inner wisdom when you’re not sure what to do next.
- Transforming anger with self-compassion.
- Forgiving yourself and others for mistakes.
- Accepting yourself the way you are and being tolerant of your shortcomings.
I can’t tell you how much self-compassion changed my life for the better. I used to be an ambitious woman who was extremely busy from the moment I got up to the moment my head hit the pillow. I was proud of doing it all until I was diagnosed with adrenalin burnout. If you still are not sure if self-compassion is for you let me tell you the benefits of self-compassion: Less depression, MORE happiness. Less anxiety, MORE self-acceptance. Less stress, MORE Self-Confidence. Less shame, MORE physical health.
Want to be more kind to yourself? Click here to learn how to leave all the stress behind when things go wrong!
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