A game-changer in the personal growth process.

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“Remember that if you really want to motivate yourself, love is more powerful than fear.” – Dr. Kristin Neff

There’s been a lot of moments recently when I could’ve been kinder to myself.

Like the times I’ve fallen back to old, maladaptive coping skills to handle my grief over Haylie.

Or the time I was upset over something someone said and verbally took it out on someone I love with my tone of voice.

Or the time I made a bad financial decision and unearthed my old story that I’ll never be good with money, why do I suck so much.

It can be so easy to be kind and gentle with others, allow them to be human, forgive them for their mistakes, and coach them to offer compassion to themselves, all while treating ourselves like a giant piece of shit.

I was first introduced to self-compassion by an eating disorder therapist.

Eating disorders are famous for the obsessive, critical, downright mean voice they implant in your head. The voice takes punches at your appearance, the type of person you are, everything you’ve done in your past, everything you’re doing in your present, and everything you’ll do in your future. It’s a constant echo of reminders that you’ve never been good enough, you’re not good enough now, and you’ll never be good enough.

This is where self-compassion comes in.

The practice of learning to talk back to (and challenge) that voice.

The truth is, we all have that voice to varying degrees.

I should’ve left earlier, now I’m going to be late – again. Why can’t I ever be on time?

I wish I had the energy after work to walk the dog. He deserves better than I’m giving him.

I can’t believe I responded to his text. It’s like I WANT to be hurt. What’s wrong with me?

Self-compassion is a skill that can be learned. The first step is catching yourself in those thoughts, and the second step is talking back to them.

I should’ve left earlier, now I’m going to be late – again. Why can’t I ever be on time?

I struggle with being on time, and I’m far from the only one. I’m going to aim to leave 2 minutes earlier next time, 5 minutes earlier the time after that, and 8 minutes earlier the time after that. Baby steps.

I wish I had the energy after work to walk the dog. He deserves better than I’m giving him.

I work long days and am drained when I get home. My dog may not understand my work schedule, but he understands that I love him and he’s cared for. I’ll aim to take him for a walk on my next day off and spend some extra time with him.

I can’t believe I responded to his text. It’s like I WANT to be hurt. What’s wrong with me?

I’m human and I crave attention and get lonely at times, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We all need connection. I know I need to make a list of nourishing activities I can do when I feel this way instead of reaching out to someone who I don’t need to be in my life. I’ll work on that list tonight.

Self-compassion is offering yourself gentleness. Understanding. Compassion.

It’s recognizing things you’re great at while you recognize you have things to work on.

It’s forgiving yourself for being human and making mistakes.

If these are things you have a hard time with, here’s a free worksheet to help you begin practicing self-compassion on paper. I hope it helps.

Now let’s collectively take a deep breath and roll our shoulders back.

We are okay. We are enough. And we deserve compassion.

We just have to remind ourselves of that.

xx

PS – Here’s where self-compassion originated with Dr. Kristin Neff, you can read more about it and find some exercises on her website.

PPS – There’s a reason I included a free worksheet, sometimes learning self-compassion can be easier in a tangible pen-and-paper situation. I learned in a workbook, which you can find here.

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