Something You Should Practice Every Day
How would you rate yourself on that? One being "I'm the worst I suck at life" (even if you say it jokingly) and 10 being "I really love myself and think I'm pretty spiffy" (this statement can't include sarcasm no matter how vague). Or maybe you're thinking "...what is this self-compassion that you speak of??".
What is self-compassion?
In the simplest way of putting it, typically, it's treating yourself the same way you would treat a friend who is struggling with something. It is being kind to yourself especially when you feel like you don't deserve it, you've messed up, or some how didn't meet your personally set standards.
I've have struggled with this A LOT and it's actually something I'm still working on. There are two areas where my self-hate likes to rear it's annoying little head.
1. When I plan to do something that's good for me like going to bed earlier or working out and I don't follow through because I choose to be lazy, ignore what time of night it is, come up with some excuse why not, tell myself I don't have time, or one more chapter/episode, etc. etc. etc.
So, of course, once 5:00 am rolls around I don't get up like I planned because I went to bed too late and getting my workout in before work is just SO NOT happening. And I tell myself I will just workout after work. And then I don't because "I've been at
work (at my gym) all day I don't want to be here anymore". And it's a vicious cycle.
Past self-talk: You lazy f*** you are a personal trainer. Get in the gym and don't be a b****. Don't make excuses. You have no good reason to not workout. No one is going to want to work with you if you don't even get in the gym yourself.
Current self-talk: Ok, I don't want to be at the gym anymore so instead I can do something at home or come back later. How about tonight I try to go to bed just a little bit earlier so I can get up earlier . I'll even ask Nik to encourage me to get up since he has to be up at the butt crack of dawn anyway.
Two VERY different ways of handling the situation.
The first one, regardless of how true some of the statements might be, have not made me feel like staying and working out. Instead they just make me feel like the worst trainer in the world and like WHAT AM I EVEN DOING WITH MY LIFE?!
In the second one I talk to myself kindly and offer alternatives to try to modify my behavior. Just like I would to someone else who is having a similar struggle.
Hating on yourself isn't going to fix anything. Be kind to yourself, acknowledge that you can do better, make a plan on how to do that, then ACT. Get someone to help hold you accountable if you need to.
2.This next one is a bit harder for me to manage and could be its own blog post (one day it probably will be), but I will try to be brief with it here. I have a super hard time having compassion for myself when I'm experiencing an anxiety or panic attack. If someone I know is having trouble with their anxiety I try to help them whether it's listening to them talk it out, hugging them, just sitting there, distracting them with questions or some other thing- everyone is different and what helps can vary from episode to episode. I don't feel any negative type of way towards them I just want to help in any way I can.
However, if it's me having the attack I can say really horrible things to myself. "You're pathetic. You're being stupid, there's nothing to worry about. You'll never be able to do anything with your life because YOU FREAK OUT OVER NOTHING. You dumb b****".
Would I talk like that to someone who is in the middle of having an anxiety attack? There's no way in hell! For some reason I had this crazy idea in my head that it's okay for other people to struggle with anxiety, but it wasn't okay for me.
I'm not really sure what my logic was in that, because, lemme tell ya, that negative, hateful self-talk did nothing to help me out. It just made me angry at myself and the emotional tornado would turn into a clusterf*ck of inner self-loathing until I'd finally simmer down into a weak puddle of depressed goo. Not healthy for mind, body, or soul.
Finally, I sought out a counselor and he helped me immensely with this self-hate nonsense. We started working on self-compassion really early on and I have to say it's made a HUGE difference for me. One thing he had me do was write a pretend letter to a friend that's struggling with something and then write a letter to myself struggling with the same thing and compare the two. (I bet you could guess they were not written in the same tone.) He also encouraged me to do kind things for myself like prioritizing my sleep and making (not finding) time to do something fun each week. We also dived into other self-care habits like meditation, mindfulness, exercise, and more (future blog posts!)
Now, instead of instantly beating myself up when I feel anxious, I accept that it's happening and it's OKAY for me to feel how I do. I don't get angry at myself and I try to do things to make myself feel better. Deep breathing, calming music, talk to someone about it, get away from people-whatever feels best at the time.
So, to narrow this all down, my point is whatever it is that you are struggling with, failing at, not doing as well as you think you should be- consider how you would talk to a friend who is struggling in the same way. Would you talk down to them and shower them with negativity? I bet you wouldn't! You'd try to encourage them, make them laugh, and help them through whatever it was.
You should treat yourself the same way.
SIDENOTE: self-compassion is not the same as being a "self-enabler". For example, if you don't follow through with working out like you said you would that doesn't mean you say that's okay...every day...until forever.
Don't forget to include ALL of the steps: 1. It's okay that ___________________is happening/didn't happen, etc. 2. But that wasn't what I expected of myself and I know I can do better 3. So____________________ is what I'm going to do to level up my behavior 4. DO IT
Treat yourself with kindness and compassion. You are worth it. You deserve it.