Self-Compassion radically changed my view of myself and relationship with humanity as a whole.
Coming from a black and white religious background where if you ever made a mistake you were considered “bad,” this was radical. Shifting to a self-compassion mindset has allowed me to care for myself like a friend, and allows me to be imperfect and okay.
I’ve been reading Kristin Neff’s book titled “Self Compassion: The proven power of being kind to yourself” and in it she shares exercises to help start this type of mindset shift (I'd Highly recommend this book btw, and there's also an audiobook for you audio listeners like me.)
An exercise I adapted for myself is to place my hand on my heart when I am having big feelings.
This could be anger, sadness, overwhelm, anxiety, anything. And to speak kindly to myself. I say
I am having a hard time, and I’m going to be okay. Everyone has a hard time, sometimes. This is really hard for me and I am doing my best. It is human to feel this way.
Usually by this point I am already starting to feel a sense of self awareness and come back into my front logical brain. I sometimes rub my arms, give myself a hug, touch my own forehead to mine in the mirror if I need to.
I then ask myself “What do I need right now that I can offer myself?” I sometimes stretch, drink a glass of water, or just take deep breaths.
Self-compassion, to me, is the mindset of seeing myself as human, and a part of the human race. It has me see myself not as special and separate, but as connected and equal. It is acting out the belief that I deserve the same care and love everyone does.
It is showing myself the care I would show a loved one.
I have always felt the weight of another person's presence. I feel the weight of their humanity and the respect that comes with that. I treat other people as fully human, and as trying their best. I believe that people only cause harm because they themselves have been harmed and not been able to heal. Almost no one is malicious.
I have been extending this courtesy to everyone most of my life. It was only when I started practicing self compassion that I realized I myself deserved that same care, respect, and weight.
I, too, am a human. I, too, am worthy. I am neither superior or inferior, I just am.
The beauty of this for me is that it takes the pressure of comparison away. If I no longer have to be “super” anything I can feel free to make mistakes and keep trying. I can feel free to aim big and mess up and carry on.
I can actually live.
When I make those mistakes I can place my hand on my heart and say “This is hard, I am having a hard time, and I am going to be okay. Everyone has a hard time sometimes. I am doing my best right now.”
Hey you, reader, you deserve the same care and respect you show to others. You are whole, imperfect and incredible. You don't have to be anything super, you can just be and that is more than fucking enough.
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