Self Compassion is the New Black

Do you ever take notice on the way that you talk to yourself? The words you choose, the tone, inflections, or the attitude in which you deliver the messages you send yourself?  How's that going for you? Do you talk to yourself with the love, compassion, and respect that you deserve, or do you call yourself names, set impossible standards, and talk down at yourself when you don't reach them? 

It's a common occurrence to be your own worst critic in today's world. You have pressure from all sides; standards that society and/or family has set for you whether you like them or not. When those standards are met, it's somehow viewed  as more appropriate to be self-depricating than self-compassionate. 

But here's the thing... when you care more about perception than your own truth, you get stuck, stiff with stagnant energy. There's no flow; when you can't (scratch that) when you choose not to express who you are in any given moment, you are choosing to suppress a piece of yourself.  You are telling yourself that piece of you isn't worthy, or isn't ready, to be seen.  As if that's not enough, you also end up exhausted; your energy gets absorbed by avoidance strategies. Yuk.

So how do you change this pattern? Something that has been so deeply engrained into your pysche. Thoughts that just shoot out toxicity before you really had a chance to register what happened. They just have a mind of their own; you can't control them. Right?  Well, I'm here to tell you that you don't have to believe all of your thoughts. This is the power of choice. You get to change your mind! Paraphrasing Brene Brown here, if you can chose to believe that you are worthy of love and respect right now, then courage, compassion, and connection are going to flood your life. You can choose to embrace your humanness first: your light and your shadow, your shakes, your stumbles, and your steadiness in between. All of your sacred parts (and yes, all of your parts are sacred); choose to believe in their worth right now. That in and of itself is an act of self-compassion. 

"A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life." - Christopher K. Germer

Practicing self-compassion isn't always easy; that's why we practice. Dr. Kristin Neff is a researcher on self-compassion; she talks about 3 elements that are necessary to practice self-compassion:
Self-kindness.You must be gentle, and understanding of yourself when your experience(s) falls short of your ideal.
Common Humanity. Remember you are not the only person dealing with their shadow side; all humans are imperfect and feel vulnerable - don't isolate yourself. (Remember last month's newsletter? It takes a village.) 
Mindfulness. Have a non-judgmental, open state of mind where you witness your thoughts and feelings as they are, without trying to suppress and deny them, or exaggerate them. 

Self-compassion is about giving yourself what you need; sometimes what you need is not always what you want... It's not always easy to have the tough conversations, take the next step, or feel into your painful places. But you are worth it. You are worth your self-care, your respect, and your love. Do your best on any given day, and chalk the rest up to your humanness; it's endearing. 

RESOURCES: I've had a couple of people ask about the books I've been reading from in class, so I thought I would share them here. The Gifts of Imprefection by Brene Brown & Maps to Ecstasy by Gabrielle Roth.  Also, if this subject is moving you, visit Dr. Kristin Neff's website for more info on her self-compassion research.